Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Number 8 - Name That Botanist


Click HERE for the ID on the verso of this Gustavus W. Pach photograph.

Our next American botanist (1849-1911) continues the series of Cornellians which is especially apropos in light of the upcoming (September 9-11) Agricultural History Society Symposium celebrating "A Century of Scientific Outreach" at Cornell University. Our subject sat for this portrait on the occasion of his 1874 graduation from Cornell University. He studied with Louis Agassiz on Penikese Island in 1875, and received his M.S. in 1876. He was the first cryptogamic botanist at Cornell, serving on the faculty from 1876-1892.

Upon entering Cornell as a freshman in 1870 he had become acquainted with fellow student (Cornell Class of 1872), future Penikese alumnus, ichthyologist, and President of both Indiana and Stanford Universities (first President of Stanford), David Starr Jordan, who was then an instructor in botany under Professor Albert N. Prentiss.

Prentiss was a graduate of the first (1861) class of the Michigan Agricultural College, and was chosen as Professor of Botany, Horticulture and Arboriculture on the first (1868) faculty at Cornell.

They became close friends and roommates, and our subject eventually succeeded Jordan as Prentiss' assistant. In 1880 he took a year's leave from Cornell to substitute for Jordan as acting professor of biology at Indiana University. Their common background was no doubt a factor in our man's 1892 appointment as Professor of Systematic Botany at Stanford, where he remained until his 1911 retirement. Jordan wrote his memoriam in Science [August 4, 1911, (N.S. Vol. XXXIV; No. 866) p. 143-145].

The title page of his first publication, The Cayuga Flora, is shown here. (His name appears as the author- don't click unless you want to reveal his ID.)

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