Family gives GIA rare manuscripts and starts a scholarship fund

Joseph Samuel, Jr., a former member of the Gemological Institute of America’s Board of Governors, has gifted the Institute two historic manuscripts, which contain more than 2,500 personal notes and business letters from American diamond-cutting pioneer Henry D. Morse. In a separate donation, Samuel’s daughter and son-in-law Janet and Alan Levy, vice president and president of J. & S.S. DeYoung, respectively, have established a scholarship fund for GIA Education.

Morse’s manuscripts will be housed in the Institute’s Richard T. Liddicoat Library and Information Center, which contains the world’s largest collection of books on gemology and jewelry. The first letter in this collection is dated Oct. 16, 1877; the last was penned shortly before his death in 1888.

Dona Dirlam, GIA library director, said these one-of-a-kind manuscripts are priceless and will provide historians with an intimate look into segments of the jewelry business that are relatively unknown.

The manuscripts have already provided what was once thought to be lost information to GIA Research Associate Al Gilbertson, who discovered them while researching his work, “Evolution of the American Round Brilliant.” He said they are a “treasure trove” of information about the day-to-day business activities of Morse’s diamond cutting firm during the 1870s and 1880s.

Samuel said he wanted these historical items to be kept in a place where they can best be used by gemological researchers.

The Levys’ gift was used to establish the DeYoung Family Scholarship Fund, named in honor of J. & S.S. DeYoung—which celebrated 170 years in the industry in 2005.

The scholarship will help two On Campus Graduate Gemologist students attend classes in Los Angeles, New York, or Carlsbad. It is offered exclusively to those who are the first members of their families to enter the gem and jewelry business.

“I hope the recipients of this scholarship gain specific knowledge and hands-on experience from their GIA education, and that it gives them the encouragement to pursue their interests and passions,” Janet Levy said. “This is a special industry with many areas you can be involved in, and GIA can open up a lot of opportunities in them.”

For more information on how to donate in-kind gifts to the Institute’s permanent Museum Collection, contact GIA In-Kind Gifts Director Patricia Syvrud at 760-603-443 or by e-mail at For further information about how to support GIA otherwise, contact Ellis Harmeling by e-mail at, or call 760-603-4125.

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