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Abstract Detail

History of Botany: The Missouri Connection

Lewis, Deborah Q. [1], Clark, Lynn [2].

Albert Hitchcock Presents - Adventures in Field Work, Types, and Grasses.

Albert Spear Hitchcock (1865-1935) left his mark on several institutions as well as on the international botanical community. His higher education and career took him to what are now Iowa State University, University of Iowa, the Missouri Botanical Garden and Washington University, Kansas State University, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Smithsonian Institution. A student of Charles Bessey at Iowa State, Hitchcock received his bachelor's degree in 1884. In 1889-91, during his tenure at the Missouri Botanical Garden, he studied under William Trelease, was an instructor in botany at Washington University, and was curator of the herbarium. His first opportunity for field work abroad, a three-month study of the plants of the West Indies, came in 1890. Hitchcock invented novel ways to accomplish field work in roadless areas and rugged terrain, including a modified wheelbarrow to hold his collecting and camping gear. He pushed this contraption more than 240 miles in 24 days of collecting in Florida. During his career he collected more than 25,000 numbers, mostly grasses, with duplicates distributed widely. As the debate raged between European botanists who favored the Vienna Code of Nomenclature and North Americans who supported the American Code, he served as chairman of the Botanical Society of America's Committee on Botanical Nomenclature. In this role, he was the lead author of and vigorously promoted the "Type-basis Code," which reflected his views on the importance of establishing names in reference to type specimens. Although this proposed Code went considerably beyond a simple compromise position, it was largely adopted in what eventually became the International Code. Hitchcock's body of work, including his long collaboration with Agnes Chase after 1907, stands as the monumental achievement in agrostology of the 20th century. He made collecting expeditions to many countries around the world, visited the major herbaria to study types and other specimens, and published more than 200 revisionary and floristic studies of grasses.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Iowa State University, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, 340 Bessey, Ames, IA, 50011-1020, USA
2 - Iowa State University, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, 253 Bessey, Ames, IA, 50011-1020, USA

Albert Spear Hitchcock
type specimens
field work
Missouri Botanical Garden.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY05
Location: Lindell D/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: SY05003
Abstract ID:233

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