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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Kass, Lee B. [1], Ford-Werntz, , Donna I.  [2], Studlar , Susan M.  [2].

Charles Frederick Millspaugh and the legacy of the West Virginia University Herbaria.

C. F. Millspaugh M.D. (1854-1923), former Curator of Botany, Field Museum, Chicago (1894-1923), is most noted for his beautifully illustrated volumes on American Medicinal Plants [1887, reissued with modifications 1892 (Dover reprint 1974)], and his valuable contribution, The Bahama Flora, co-authored with Nathaniel Lord Britton (1920), founder of the New York Botanical Garden. Millspaugh's contributions to the Flora of West Virginia are probably less well known, as is the fact that he established the first herbarium in West Virginia (1889) during his brief three year-residency (1889-1892) as Botanist and Microscopist at the West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Millspaugh published three West Virginia floras. The first, a Preliminary Catalogue of the Flora of West Virginia (1892), appeared as a Bulletin of the West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Millspaugh and L. W. Nuttall (1857-1933) published Flora of West Virginia in 1896, issued in the Botanical Series of the Field Columbian Museum, Chicago. The Living Flora of West Virginia (Millspaugh 1913), which superseded and expanded on his two previous volumes, was published by the West Virginia Geological Survey. It included contributions by J. L. Sheldon (1865-1947), Professor of Botany at WVU (1903-1919), who collected mostly lichens and bryophytes, but also fungi. Millspaugh provided a chronology of collectors and indicated where their specimens are deposited. For example, Millspaugh collected "1580 numbers, preserved in the Herbarium of the West Virginia Experiment Station with more or less duplicate sets in the herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden [NY] and that of the Field Museum of Natural History [F]." Millspaugh's historical herbarium became part of the West Virginia University Herbarium in 1933, when the new Department of Biology was established in the College of Agriculture, by merging the Departments of Botany, Zoology, and Plant Pathology. Within four years, the Department of Biology was transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences, along with the herbaria, which included vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, fungi and a few algae (mostly marine). Plant Pathology, however, again became a Department in the College of Agriculture (1937), and Millspaugh's historical mycological collections remained under their supervision until the specimens were transferred to the U.S. National Fungus Collection (BPI), Beltsville, Maryland, in 1981. Millspaugh is considered the "first Father" of West Virginia botany, and his collections formed the nucleus of the West Virginia University Herbarium (WVA). [Kass is adjunct at WVU]

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Cornell University, Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
2 - West Virginia University, Department of Biology, Life Sciences Building, Box 6057, Morgantown, WV, 26506, USA

C.F. Millspaugh
L.W. Nuttall
J. L. Sheldon
West Virginia flora
West Virginia Herbarium
vascular plants
West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station
history of botany
history of mycology

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PHS001
Abstract ID:457

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