The Clinton Correspondence of Edward Tuckerman (1817-1886)

and Mary Wilson (? - 1919): a Preliminary Review
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden

September 30, 2012
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The Clinton Correspondence of Edward Tuckerman (1817-1886) and Mary Wilson (? - 1919): a Preliminary Review


Edited by P. M. Eckel, P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; email:



Edward Tuckerman





The first letter Clinton saved from his correspondence with Edward Tuckerman is dated June 5, the first year in which Clinton had decided to preserve his botanical correspondence, and the 27th letter in his collection. This was not, however, the first time Clinton corresponded with Tuckerman, for on November 18 of the previous year (1864), Clinton noted in his collecting diary the following:


[1864.]    Nov. 19. Wrote to Prof. Ed. Tuckermann, Amherst College, de Pursh's journal & map of his travel in the U.S. See Dr. Torrey's letter of Nov. 14 (Letter No. 35).


Since the collection of letters comprising the Clinton correspondence only began in 1865, Dr. John Torrey’s November 14th letter, of presumably 1864, is not on record in the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science. It is an interesting fact, because it indicates that Clinton had a letter collection already in existence before 1865, and Torrey’s letter was “No. 35” of that set. Perhaps this collection resides in some other institution, or is lost. The Latin ‘de’, ‘regarding’ or ‘in reference to’ Pursh’s journal and map is an instance of Latinisms from Clinton’s legal background, not from an interest in Classical Latin literature. John Torrey then of Columbia College in New York (now Columbia University) probably recommended that Clinton write to Tuckerman regarding Pursh.


It is unknown at this point what interest Clinton may have had in Frederick Traugott Pursh (1774-1820), a botanist who immigrated to the United States in 1799. Pursh is associated with the explication of the botanical collections made during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Since most of these collections were lost, perhaps Clinton was interested in hunting them down for the herbarium he was building for the the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Pursh had collected in 1805 and 1806 from Maryland south to the Carolinas and north from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire, a total of over six thousand miles. He later botanized in Quebec before he died in Montreal in 1820. The Quebec material was destroyed by fire, but as Clinton’s letter above specified travel in the United States, it is probably Pursh’s American collections made while working for Benjamin Smith Barton from 1802 to 1805 in which he was interested. Pursh worked in Philadelphia as curator and collector for Barton, who wished to write a new flora of North America, but never did (Ewan 1952).


The next month, in December, 1864, Clinton noted in his diary:


[1864.]    Dec. 6. Received packet from Prof. Tuckerman, containing his Potamogeton Claytonii, Juncus Greenei, 2 Carices, and a very kind letter.


Note that a specimen of Juncus Greenei collected by Tuckerman from the “Coast of Maine” with a label written by Clinton was donated to Purdue University by Clinton. A digital image of this specimen is presented below:





Images courtesy Nick Harby, Arthur & Kriebel Herbaria, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, PurdueUniversity, West Lafayette, Indiana; email:, see also Hussey correspondence.



Edward Tuckerman was 48 years old in 1864. The reference to a specimen of Potamogeton is a tribute to Tuckerman’s early “elaboration of our species of Potamogeton, then [in 1848 and 1849] for the first time critically studied in the United States (Gray 1886). Tuckerman, in preparation for his 1849 Potamogeton flora, reported that he had visited Niagara Falls and also adjacent Canada. Niagara Falls on both sides of the Niagara River would be a frequent destination of Clinton’s for botanical collecting more than a decade later than Tuckerman.


Potamogeton lonchites Tuckerm. “I gathered in the Niagara rapids, near Bath island [sic].” Potamogeton rufescens (Schrad.) Tuckerm. he collected “Also in the rapids of the Niagara near Bath Island.” Potamogeton amplifolius Tuckerm.: “I gathered my specimens near the Niagara river, on the Canada side ...”. Potamogeton pectinatus (L.) Tuckerm. was collected in the “Lakes of Western New York” by Asa Gray, and Tuckerman also collected this at “Niagara Falls.”


Tuckerman found a species of Udora growing in water in the type locality of and mixed with Potamogeton niagrensis "near the brink of the Hog-back" at Niagara Falls, New York, - perhaps indicating Luna Island. Udora is an earlier name for Anacharis and A. canadensis is the only species in the genus in our area.


This ‘kind letter’ of Tuckerman’s of December 6, 1864 is also not a part of those in the Research Library Clinton correspondence collection.


In 1840, Dr. Francis Boott (1792-1863) published his first treatment of North American  Carices (the Sedges) presented in Sir William Hooker’s “Flora Boreali-Americana” (Gray 1886). A year later, in 1841, Tuckerman showed his own early interest in the Sedges, publishing a two page paper on “Notice of some Cyperaceae of our Vicinity.” He would also produce, in 1843, his 21 page publication, the Enumeratio Methodica Caricum quarundam, “in which he displayed not only his critical knowledge of the large and difficult genus Carex, but also his genius as a systematizer; for this essay was the first considerable, and a really successful, attempt to combine the species of this genus into natural groups.” (Gray 1886).


Tuckerman would describe Carex argyrntha, sp. nov.: “descr. Amherst. Aug. 16, 1859; published in Wood’s Class-Book of Botany 1861, p. 753. Carex glaucodea Mss.: Proc. Am. Acad. vii. 395 (1868)” (Willey, addenda: Botanical Gazette  Vol. 11 (7) July 1886: p. 182). For Carex glaucodea, see letter below 25 Feb., 1871.


Boott would continue to specialize in the genus Carex for the remainder of his life. He produced “Illustrations of the Genus Carex” in four parts between 1858 and 1867, the fourth part being published by J. D. Hooker after Boott’s death in 1863. Although in the next few decades, Boott would go on to become the formost expert in the genus, Tuckerman did not lose his interest in the group. It was to Tuckerman that Gray sent the remainder of Boott’s Carex collections after Boott died in 1863, and from there to Clinton at Buffalo, and then to Elihu Hall in Illinois.


The beginning of Clinton’s correspondence with Tuckerman happened during the 1860’s, while Tuckerman was teaching at Amherst College, Massachusetts, and by which time he had established himself as the foremost lichenologist in North America. Tuckerman chose to study lichens in his youth as a member of the Natural History Society of Boston when it was newly organized (Gray 1886), publishing his “Enumeration of Some Lichenes of New England” when he was only twenty-two years old. “Excepting Halsey’s ‘Synoptic View’ this was the first work by an American, entirely devoted to lichens.” (Fink 1906).


He was working on a series of papers: Observations on North American and some other Lichenes, published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 1860, 1862, 1864 and then later in 1877. He was also working on the “Lichens of California, Oregon, and the Rocky Mountains” which would be published in 1866 and a preparation of the Lichens in the “Enumeration of Hawaiian Plants” by Horace Mann, to be published in 1868 (Farlow 1887). Tuckerman had been one of a number of American experts Asa Gray could rely on, his “team of experts” which included the mycologist M. A. Curtis and the bryologist W. S. Sullivant (Dupree 1959). It was due to Tuckerman’s productivity in American lichenology that Bruce Fink was to refer to the period from 1847 to 1888 as “The Tuckermanian Period” in North American Lichenology (Fink 1906), a time when “everything in American lichenology was colored by the views of Tuckerman.”


The following is the first of Tuckerman’s letters to Clinton from the correspondence preserved and numbered by Clinton, beginning in 1865:


Vol. 1. 27. I 201


5 June 1865 [European notation]

Dear Sir,

    I am desired by Professor Gray to send to you a parcel of duplicate Carices from the Herbarium of the late Dr. Boott, & to say that he will write to you in regard to them, & have this evening delivered the parcel to the Agent of Thompson's Express & hope it will reach you safely.

    I sent a parcel of [specimens] desired by you, last year & trust it reached you.

    With respect

    Your [af.. s..] [= affectionate servant?]

    Edw. Tuckerman

Hon. G. W. Clinton


Recd. June 8 & ackd.


    The specimens sent “last year” were those received by Clinton on December 6, 1864 discussed above, but which were apparently not yet acknowledged. The present shipment of Carex specimens must be the "lot of Carices" Gray was arranging to have sent to Clinton, noted in the following letter to Clinton from Asa Gray and dated on the same day (June 5):


Vol 1. (25) [I 203]

[Cambridge] 5 June [1865]

Dear Clinton

    It will be time, when you receive this, to collect the Scirpus Clintonii, a great lot of it. Some of it 10 days later, also.

    Collinsia verna I chiefly want seeds of, sent fresh, when quite ripe.

    I am arranging to have a lot of Carices sent you.

    Ever [yours]

    A. Gray

[written by Clinton:] Received June 7, wrote him 9th


    The Carices were to come from Edward Tuckerman to Clinton and derived from the "Herbarium of the late Dr. Boott” (Tuckerman Vol.1(27). See also Tuckerman's letter of June 15, 1865 (Vol.1(45) where Elihu Hall of Athens, Illinois, was to receive the leavings after Clinton's selection.

     The Scirpus Clintonii (Clinton's Club-rush), described by Gray in 1864, delighted Clinton who avidly sought more of it from the type locality around Buffalo, New York. In the Fifth edition of Gray's Manual of Botany, 1867, this species is listed (p. 561) as growing in "Rather dry plains, New York, Jefferson Co., Dr. Crawe; near Buffalo, G. W. Clinton. June."

    In Clinton’s botanical journal for May, 1865, he wrote (in Buffalo, New York):


    May 30. P.M. Walked with [David F.] Day, turned into the wood east of & this side of the tollgate, & so, through the next copse, & by Ambrose's tavern, to Mr. Crocker's, collected more Fedia olitoria, a garden umbellifer, = anise. Chaenophyllum sativum. Viola tricolor, in his front yard, walked back a little way, & then turned to the right, into the fields & copses, found Scirpus Clintonii abundant. Then back, homeward, stopped in at Mr. Hodge's garden, & young Mr Hodge gave me specimens of Aesculus Pavia, &c., a Cytisus? Mem. In Mr. H.'s garden, to be obtained -

   In June 11: In the field beyond, noticed Carex pallescens again, but in the plain, to the little wood east of the quarries, could not find Scirpus Clintonii, back to the bushy field, or copse, and found it almost gone [probably out of fruit - ed.], but got a number of (116) specimens.


  Clinton also collected Collinsia verna: on May 22:    Walked out to Smoke's Creek. Collinsia verna abundant, in the wood just above the R. R. bridge. Its inflorescence being centripetal, it is in nice condition, flowers above, full sized fruit below.


In 1865, on June 7, two days after Tuckerman wrote his June 5 letter to Clinton, Clinton wrote in his collecting diary:


Received from Prof. Tuckermann (at Prof. Gray's request) a package of

duplicate Carices from Dr. Boott's herbarium.


    Francis Boott had died in 1863. Boott, also, with Tuckerman, a native of Boston, Mass., published in his lifetime approximately 442 species and varieties in the genus Carex and other genera in the Cyperaceae. He also contributed treatments to the Flora of California, in the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society, the Flora of Boreal America, the flora of Antarctica, species from a Voyage to Japan and other works - a monumental contribution to science probably mostly overlooked in America due to his living and dying in England. Boott is famous for having been the first to use ether in Britain as an anaesthetic (during a dental procedure). Note should be made that he first learned of its use in America as such from,  Dr. Jacob Bigelow, an American colleague of Boott’s.

    During a brief sojourn in his native America, Boott “in 1816 was part of a group that made botanical explorations of New England mountains including: Wachusett Mount, Mt. Monadnock, Ascutney Mountain, and Mt. Washington. This party also included Dr. Jacob Bigelow, Francis C. Gray, Judge Shaw and Nathaniel Tucker” (Harvard University Herbaria 2002, on line).

    Boott kept up a correspondence with Asa Gray and his letters are in the Harvard Archives. Apparently, Asa Gray received Boott’s Herbarium, from which 33 type specimens from the Illustrations of the Genus Carex were retained. Duplicates were sent perhaps to Tuckerman first, then on to Clinton, finally ending up with Elihu Hall in Illinois. The majority of Elihu Hall’s collections are now in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.


Ten days after Tuckerman sent his letter on June 5th, Tuckerman wrote the following:


Vol. 1. 45. I 181


15 June 1865

Dear Sir

    Your acceptable & friendly letter has been received, & I am glad the Plants arrived safely. But I forgot to say that Dr. Gray's wish was that you should select from the collection, & then transfer the remainder to Mr. E. Hall, at Athens, Illinois.

    Will you permit me to add that one or two specimens of your Eleoch. Clintonii, such as will go conveniently in a letter envelope, will be very grateful [sic] - as I continue to study all the Northern Cyperaceae, though only rarely collecting. 

    With much respect

    Your obt. servt.

    E. Tuckerman

Hon. G. W. Clinton


Recd. June 19 & ansd. ditto & 20th expressed him a very small



The Eleocharis clintonii is an error for Scirpus clintonii A. Gray. 


Elihu Hall (1822 1882) of Athens, Menard Co., Illinois, was a correspondent of Clinton’s. The first of his letters to Clinton that have been preserved at Buffalo, occurred on Sept. 18th 1865, a response to a letter sent by Clinton in May. Hall’s main contribution to science was his plant collections and the exchange of specimens formed the major part of the content of their communication. Gray’s interest in Hall derived from Gray’s study and publication of species collected by Dr. C. C. Parry and Elihu Hall and J. P. Harbour “during the Summer and Autumn of 1862, on and near the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Territory” (Gray 1863). Gray may have sent Boott’s specimens on perhaps as an exchange with Hall. It is also likely that Gray wished to support the young Illinois Natural History Survey at Bloomington, of which Hall was one of the organizers in 1858 (Weber 1997) much as Gray helped Clinton and his Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, formed in 1862.


In Clinton’s journal, on April 4, of 1865, in fact, “In the evening, Prof. C. D. Wilber (Gen. Comm'r. [=Commissioner] of the Illinois Natural Historical Society) called with letter of introduction from Hon. Anson S. Miller. Prof. Wilber's address is No. 1, Fullerton Block, Chicago.”


Clinton also was to donate authentically determined specimens at the heart of the earliest plant collections and the study of botany at Purdue University (Eckel & Harby 2011).


  Eleven days after Tuckerman wrote his letter of June 15, above, Tuckerman responded to another letter, sent during the intervening time, from Clinton.

Vol. 1. 62. I 163


  26 June 1865

Dear Sir

    Thank you very heartily for the parcel of specimens by express. The new Scirpus Clintonii, will be valued not only for itself, but as coming from the botanist who discovered it. Shall I confess to you that I am more interested in a new Scirpus than I should be in a new Collinsia? But none the less are your elegant specimens of C.

verna acceptable, as I had only very poor representatives of the species before.

    The large Herbm. [which] I once formed is now in Upsal; I sent it to my excellent friend & master, Prof. Fries; & the colln. [= collection] which I now possess has been formed only to illustrate & help me in the general knowledge of the small Flora of this immediate region  - & having got rid of the business of exchange my plants - it is a small colln., with not a few gaps in it. For this reason I welcome also the specimens of Scirpus Torreyi, having detected it here. 

    Najas major is another plant which I have long desired. And Scolopendrium was not in my present Hermb. till you contributed it.

    I wish you much success in the Cryptogams. I find the Lichens almost as puzzling & ...., as if it were not 25 years that I have sought to understand them. Mosses I fancy are easier. One soon learns the great genera - but I have got no farther, and fear I never shall - though I have considerable material in the way of Collns. to facilitate the study. As to Fungi, I shudder at the thought of encountering them!

    Believe me, with respect

    Truly Yours

    Edw. Tuckerman

Recd. June 29


In 1841 Tuckerman travelled to Germany and then Scandinavia, “going as far north as Upsala, devoting himself, as in a subsequent visit, to philosophical, historical, and botanical studies” (Gray 1886).


Apparently, as noted below, Tuckerman made quite a few collections of specimens of the genus Carex from northern Europe on this trip and sent them to Francis Boott (see below). Farlow noted “While in Europe [Tuckerman] did not limit his botanical studies to lichens, but also worked on some of the more difficult genera of phaenogams” leading to Tuckerman’s private publication “shortly after his return, in 1843 ... his “Enumeratio Methodica Caricum Querundam” which was favorably commented upon by Asa Gray (Fernald 1887).


It was perhaps a collection of North American lichen Tuckerman donated to Fries, but this seems unusual when Tuckerman’s life-work on the North American lichens was eventually to be prepared toward the end of his life, and so it was perhaps a collection of vascular plants given to Fries, not lichens.


While in Europe, in 1842, Tuckerman made the acquaintance of Archibald Menzies (b.  1754), a Scottish surgeon who had served in the Royal (British) Navy, and who had served as botanist and naturalist on various extensive voyages, especially to the west (Pacific) coast of North America. Tuckerman must have visited him just before Menzies death, which occurred on February 15, 1842 (Wikipedia, Archibald Menzies, viewed March 21, 2013). Menzies appears to have visited western North America, especially the western side of Vancouver Island, at least three times, making collections, several of which were used to describe species new to science.


In 1866 Tuckerman wrote “Menzies, who visited the North West Coast of America in 1787-8, and somewhat later, with [Captain] Vancouver’s expedition, was the first to observe, principally, if not entirely at Monterey, the remarkable Coast-lichens of California. Some of his specimens reached Acharius; but others, and among them Ramalina Menziesii, Tayl., remained undescribed for more than half a century. Having the good fortune to meet this venerable botanist in 1842, I was favoured by him with a considerable set of his duplicates.” (Tuckerman 1866). There is a Ramalina Menziesii, Tuckerman in the 1882 Synopsis (“Tuckerm. Syn. N. Eng. p. 12, not of Taylor (p. 24, Synopsis).”


In Tuckerman’s personal collections were specimens from the “coast north of California, and of the Rocky Mountains” given to him by Sir J. W. Hooker, as well as specimens Hooker gave him made “with the Oregon Boundary Commission by Dr. Lyall, and a smaller one, from Palliser’s British North American Expedition, by Bourgeau,” and a list of a host of other western collectors such as H. N. Bolander, Charles Wright, Elihu Hall, from a variety of expeditions fixing the boundary of the United States and Canada or Mexico (Tuckerman 1866)


Tuckerman returned to the United States in September of 1842. He had graduated from Union College, Schenectady, with a B. A. in 1837, and later obtained a Law Degree from Harvard Law School, graduating in 1839 (Gray 1886). Even before he published on the genera Potamogeton and Carex mentioned above, Tuckerman had written his earliest publications on the Lichens of New England, particularly the alpine lichen flora of the White Mountains. Where his interest and expertise derived at this early date is unrecorded, but he may have studied botany during his studies at Union College or even earlier, as a student of the Boston Latin School. At Union “he was appointed curator of the museums” (Tyler 1886) due to his interest in the natural sciences - this was probably immediately after his trip when he returned to Union College to study for his Master’s degree (Farlow 1887). In 1843 Tuckerman published three papers on the vascular plants of New England. It was while at Union he published his Carex study. Gray (1886) attributed his early enthusiasm and inspiration from association with a Dr. Harris, of Harvard, a librarian and entomologist, and William Oakes, an ardent botanist, of Ipswich, Massachusetts.


A further note on Tuckerman’s interest in Carex may be found in Henry Willey’s necrology of Tuckerman (1886). As a note to Willey’s comment on Tuckerman’s 1843 publication “Enumeratio methodica Caricum quarundam, Schenectady, Riggs, 1843), the editors of the Botanical Gazette wrote: “In a letter to Mr. Willey accompanying [this publication (Willey 1886)] the author (Tuckerman) says: “I send a brochure of mine upon Carex written some 20 years since when I was tolerably familiar with the common species both of Europe and America ... I collected in most parts of the north of Europe in 1841-2 and formed a large herbarium from my correspondents’ gifts and exchanges, the whole of which I gave afterwards to Boott of London. Since his death the greater part of this has been returned to me.” The editors wrote “This little work is quite remarkable for its keen insight into the relationships of the numerous species of this difficult genus” (editors of the Botanical Gazette in Willey 1886).


Note that in Tuckerman’s letter to Clinton above, it is to Fries that Tuckerman sent a plant collection, including exchanges - perhaps there is some confusion here, yet both accounts are by Tuckerman.


Interest in the local flora would never leave Tuckerman. In 1875 he would publish the lichenological flora of the area, with Charles C. Frost, in which he taught in Massachusetts: “A Catalogue of Plants growing without cultivation within thirty miles of Amherst College.” Amherst.


In Upsala, he made the acquaintance of Prof. Elias Fries. This acquaintance made a profound impression on Tuckerman, and “he kept up a correspondence with him to the end of the venerable botanist’s life [i.e. Fries]” (Gray 1886). This influence was based on a deeply perceptive or intuitive apprehension of the form of major groups of species at the generic level. Tuckerman “cultivated to perfection, that sense of the value of the indefinable something which botanists inadequately express by the term ‘habit,’ which often enable the systematist to divine much further than he can perceive in the tracing of relationships” (Gray 1886). Neither Fries nor Tuckerman had access to the minute characteristics of the species, such as the spore, discernible by the use of the relatively modern “instrumental appliance” of the microscope, although this inference is belied by his letter to George Clinton below, in 1866 when he stated that Clinton required a microscope to study lichens - with a particular view to the spores.


Fries must have appealed to the abstract and mystical side of thought that Tuckerman embraced - as he took up studies in theology at the Harvard Divinity School (Farlow 1887). The tendency to see natural history as one of the mysteries of divinity in Tuckerman’s intensely private world may account for his style of professional writing, “his sagacity in detecting affinities, and his philosophical and rather peculiar turn of mind” (Gray 1886). The fact that he chose Latin (as did Fries) in which to express his ideas, in an involuted style reminiscent of the German language where one often had to hunt carefully for the verb, was ably described by Gray (1886), as though only the initiated were given entry to the mysteries of Nature. This suggestion of Neo-Platonic feeling seems implied in Gray’s sense that Tuckerman’s “philosophical conception of an ideal connection of forms which are capable of a wide play of variation”, leading to “broad views of genera and species.”


Tuckerman’s assessment of the “Friesian System” is described in An Enumeration of North American Lichenes ... to which is prefixed an essay on the natural systems of Oken, Fries, and Endlicher. 1845. Cambridge (Culberson 1964). A modern opinion of Tuckerman’s ideas was noted by J. W. Thomson: “The quaintly worded but deep insights of the discussions [in Tuckerman’s early works] should provoke many a more careful consideration of taxonomic problems.”


By 1865, Tuckerman had given to Fries, in Upsala, Sweden, the large herbarium he had accumulated. This may seem contrary to the present day practice in our “ownership society” especially as the publication career of Tuckerman was by no means over in 1865. The specimens sent to Sweden were perhaps the vouchers for a 1847 paper on the lichens of New England, the Northern States, and British America (Canada), with its 295 species, 20 of which were new to science (Farlow 1887), and exsiccat material, three fascicles of which were issued from Cambridge during 1847-1855, and new species of lichens sent to him from the Southern States and California.


An example of a paper based on his local flora was, “The Vegetation of the White Mountains: in the White Hills, their legends, landscape, and poetry” by Thomas Starr King, published in 1860.


It is clear from Tuckerman’s June 26 response to a letter by Clinton, that Clinton was interested in Tuckerman’s efforts in the cryptogams, including algae, mosses and fungi. By the end of March, 1865, Clinton was already in the beginning of a correspondence with Charles Peck, of Albany, New York, regarding the identification of mosses, as well as vascular plants, which would later evolve into the identification of fungi. During the turn of the 1864-1865 year, Clinton had visited the State Cabinet of Natural History to contribute, as one of the State Regents, to a reorganization of that institution, the establishment of a “People’s College” and what would eventually become Cornell University. He visited the herbarium at Cambridge, Mass. to talk to Asa Gray, and specialists and assistants working there, to get information on the creation of a herbarium for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in Buffalo, New York. After this time, Clinton had begun work on organizing and mounting botanical specimens


Over a year later, in Clinton’s collecting diary, late in 1866, Clinton wrote:


Nov. 30. Wrote to Prof. E. Tuckerman, Amherst College, as to the title of his works on lichens, & where they could be bought. In answer he gave us his works [books], & promised us his assistance. See his kind letter, No. 180.


      This note in Clinton’s diary is curious due to the preposition “us,” which is not explained in his diary or in its index. This is one of the few instances of Clinton’s reference to Miss Mary Wilson. Earlier, on May 25 of the previous year (1865) Clinton wrote “Thursday. Mary made up a package of plants, to be put in Express to morrow, for C. M. Tracy, Curator of Botany, of the Essex Institute, care of Dr. Henry Wheatland, Secretary, Salem, Massachusetts. Expressed it 26th.”  It is an indication that as Clinton was preparing and organizing the new herbarium of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, he was working with the assistance of the rather enigmatic Mary Wilson. One of the services she provided to the young Society was the preparation of duplicate specimens, often sorted by Clinton up in the “garrett” of his private residence and later taken to rooms of the Buffalo Society where Mary would prepare them for the Express to be sent to Clinton’s correspondents.


The Tuckerman letter referred to in Clinton’s November 30 (1866) note is as follows:


Vol.3 No. 180 [M 44]


                                  3 Dec. 1866

Dear Sir

    I received to night your note of 30th ult. - & take pleasure in telling you what I can.

    (Though [younger?], I too look with hopeless interest on the Mosses, Algae & Fungi of my neighbourhood - of which I have learned just enough to feel a regretting ignorance. It is otherwise with the Lichens, and I have studied these long enough to be able to say something about them. You will require a compound microscope to determine the characters of the spores. And with this and some convenient manual, the study may be a very pleasant and profitable one - to be pursued all through the year - and especially in moist weather in winter and spring when a botanist has no other out-door resource.

    I shall take pleasure in determining sets of specimens (which can be sent by mail) so far as too great an exertion is not required of my eyes over the microscope - essential in the crustaceous group. And I think in this way, if you take it up as a scientific recreation, to be pursued slowly, I can always undertake to authenticate what is collected, so long as you desire it. If, however, a great collection were to be made at once I am not so sure that I could be able to grapple with it - so far as the microscope wd be required.

    My publications are all in the form of memoirs in transactions - except one or two printed separately. I do not know that I ever had a publication properly speaking; & surely there is no public here for a lichenologist.

    I am happy to be able to ask you to accept the very last copy (duplicate) of the Synopsis of North Amer. Lichens. published by me in 1848 - & also a smaller copy of a few years before. Since, I have been lost in the tropics & their wealth of curious types - but hope now soon to be able to publish a new work (approaching completion) on the Genera of North Amer. Lichens. How soon a "Species Lichenum" can follow this is to me obscure. I have my hands full. It is however a satisfaction to be able to say that the main outlines of my view of the System remain today, as they were presented in the Synopsis 10 years ago.

    The Lichenes Amer. Exsiccati, of which three volumes have appeared, is the only work I have sold. But this is now in part exhausted, & I must wait for time to renew it before I can send out any copies. The first volume is gone entirely. You will gain however precisely the same benefit, from named series of specimens, which I shall be glad to do my part in. 

    The best Introduction is a small volume by Dr. Lauder Lindsay, published during the last ten years, & for sale by N. York booksellers. I do not own it or I wd give the title.  Acharius, "Lichenographia Universalis, 4to 1810, & Synopsis, 8vo 1814 are general works, & Fries, Lichenographia Europea, 1831, the most important since.

    It has given me pleasure to communicate these hints, which I hope may prove of service.

    Very respy & truly yours

        Edw. Tuckerman

Hon. G. W. Clinton

Recd. Dec. 5 wrote to Coleman T. Robinson the 6th, ansd 11th.


William Lauder Lindsay was nineteenth century physician in Perth, Scotland. He wrote: A Popular History of British Lichens, comprising an account of their structure, reproduction, uses, distribution, and classification. By W. Lauder Lindsay, M.D., London 1856. Lovell Reeve, 5, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden (John Edward Taylor, Printer, Little Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields). “To Sir William Jackson Hooker, K.H., LL.D., Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, and Dr. Josepf Dalton Hoorker, F. R. S., Assistant Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, this humble and first attempt to popularize the study of British Lichens is, with much respect and esteem, dedicated by The Author.”


In 1845, Tuckerman published “An Enumeration of North American Lichens,” described as a “little work” by Tyler (1886). Later, in 1848, he was to publish the “Synopsis of the lichens of New England, the other Northern States and British America,” which was “the first full descriptive list of our lichenes published in this country. It enumerates and describes 295 species of which twenty are new” (Tyler 1886).


In the “Observationes Lichenologicae” submitted to the Proceedings of the American Academy, the 1862 (vol.v:383-422) and 1864 (vol. vi. pp. 263-287) publications were “largely devoted to the Cuban collections of Charles Wright; a portion of this collection was issued in 1864 under the title “Caroli Wrightii Lichenes Cubae curante E. Tuckerman” (Willey 1886). “This collection” must refer to specimens issued in exsiccat form. Note that an important number of these lichen specimens of Wright’s were sent to Dr. Nylander, of Paris, for determination, in whose hands it remained for many years, when it was transferred to Dr. J. Mueller, of Geneva, Switzerland, by whom it was issued in 1884, but with most of the plants still unnamed and undescribed, much to the disappointment of those who had purchased this noble collection hoping to find it an aid in the determination of tropical lichens” (Willey 1886). This material would have been of great use to Charles Mohr in his great summary of the flora of Alabama.


As to Tuckerman’s exsiccat, Gray wrote that Tuckerman “much helped the study of his favorite plants by the preparation and issue of his “Lichenes Americae Septentrionalis Exsiccati,” in six fasciculi, or three volumes, highly valued by those who fortunately possess them” (Gray 1886).


In November, 1866, just before he wrote his Nov. 30 entry in his journal, Clinton had travelled to New York City to visit Dr. John Torrey and to purchase, apparently species paper (paper for genera would be ordered from Asa Gray by the advice of Torrey) for the new herbarium he was building for the B.S.N.S. He visited a variety of people, all noted in his journal entry for the month and year. Coleman T. Robinson, who was then living in New York City “...very courteous & good, took me to look up books for the society, in the stores on Nassau St. On my recommendation he bought two, small vols., which I brought home with me, and he promises to complete one set of DeCandolle's Prodromus &c. &c.”

    Coleman T. Robinson was fundamental in the establishment of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in 1862 in Buffalo, New York. He “had moved to the New York City area some time in the late sixties...” (Goodyear 1994). He is said by Goodyear to have been “only” 23 years old when the BSNS was founded (established in 1862). By 1866 he had moved to New York City and by 1872 he had died - perhaps when he was in his late 30’s. Although Goodyear wrote that Coleman lived “in the town of Brewsters in Putnam County, New York,” Coleman also lived in the City itself. In the November entry, Clinton wrote “With my [son] George, spent a pleasant evening with [Augustus R.] Grote & Robinson, at their room, where they keep & study their moths & butterflies, Room No. 11 of 907 Broadway.”

    It was Mr. Robinson who would purchase lichenological and other books for the new society of natural history, although in this instance Tuckerman himself freely sent along his own copies of his own works.


1. William Lauder Lindsey, M.D. 1856. A Popular History of British Lichens comprising an account of their structure,reproduction, uses, distribution, and classification. London.

Erik Acharius.


2. Erik Acharius. 1810. Lichenographia Universalis in qua lichenes Lichenes omnes detectos adiectis observationibus et figuris horum vegetabilium naturam et organorum carpomorphorum structuram illustrantibus, ad genera, species, varietates differentiis et observationibus sollicite definitas. Gottingen.


                  1814. Synopsis Methodica Lichenum, sistens omnes hujus ordinis naturalis detectas plantas, quas, secundum genera, species et varietates disposuit, characteribus et differentiis emendatis definivit, nec non synonymis et observationibus selectis illustravit. Lund.


 "The father of Lichenology," Acharius did for lichens what Fries did for gilled fungi and Lamarck did for invertebrates: provided a coherent and productive classification system for a large group of organisms utterly mishandled by Linnaeus. He spent the energies of his entire life studying lichens, doing the first microscopic work on them, and providing them with meaningful genera (Linnaeus just stuck them all in the genus "Lichen", which is how we get the English word).” (website, 2012).


3. Elias Magnus Fries. 1831. Lichenographia Europaea reformata: praemittuntur lichenologiae fundamenta; compendium in theoreticum et practicum lichenum studium. Lund.


Note that collections of lichens had already been made as well as the decision to study them. Clinton’s letter of November 30 had inquired whether Tuckerman would be willing to determine or verify their identity.


By 1866, Tuckerman’s books would include “An Enumeration of North American Lichenes. Cambridge, 1845, small octavo volume with 59 pages; also A Synopsis of the Lichenes of the Northern United States and British America. Proceedings American Academy of Art and Sciences. I, 195-285. 1848. Reprint 8vo. Pp.v, 93 (Farlow 1887). His other works were published in such journals as The American Journal of Science and Arts and the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, as well as pages in other author’s books, such as by Louis Agassiz.


By 1858 and 1859, Tuckerman was identifying specimens from California (Col. Fremont, Dr. Parry), , the Bering’s Straits, the coast of Japan, Texas and Cuba (C. Wright), Alabama (Hon. T. M. Peters, Mr. Beaumont), Mississipi (Dr. Veitch),  South Carolina (H. W. Ravenel), Florida (Dr. Blodgett), Louisiana (Dr. Hale), as well as Vermont (Mr. Frost), even in Pen Yan, New York (Dr. Sartwell)  (Tuckerman 1858-1859).


Tuckerman’s work on the North American genera of lichens would not be published until 1872 (see below).


It took no time at all for Clinton to write another letter to Tuckerman, asking for additional information. Tuckerman responded as follows:


Vol. 3 No. 206 [M 16]


                                15 Dec. 1866

Dear Sir,

    It gave me pleasure to set down such hints as may enable one to collect  Lichens. They are either fruticulosus,

                           foliaceous, or


The first two occur both on trees and rocks, and also on the earth. They require all of them moderate pressure when moist enough to yield.  This can be brought about by sprinkling the newspaper in which they are wrapped & putting it into a tin collecting box. Then, if just limber, but not in the least wet - if taken but a short time, & only the most moderate pressure to give the requisite flatness for the herbarium - wch is done in this way without any injury to the specimen. If wet however they will not be worth much when dry - as the pressure will injure them. 

    Other lichens are crustaceous, growing also on trees, rocks and the earth. We get the species for the former, by taking thin slices of bark containing them, also to be laid between boards, or in books that they may not curl before drying. The rock-species require a hammer.

    Specimens already dried can be restored to life by wetting them. Your Rock-tripe of the Catskills is probably either  Umbilicaria Pennsylvanica or U. pustulata, both described in my Synopsis. 

    When prepared, they can be affixed to small or large squares of white paper [not?]ing place, kind of tree or rock or soil &c. - numbered & put away. By sending specimens with the same no. to a Lichenist, he can determine - keeping the specimens sent. I shall be very happy to be of service in this way.

    As to Florida, if the collector goes to the extreme South, or to the Keys, everything lichenose will be worthy of note, the vegetation there touching that of Cuba - and if he will merely do up such species in scraps of paper & keep them in a bag or box, without pressing, they can all be made right, and turned to account, when he returns.

    The North West of Florida is rather better known, but he will do well to collect, if he finds it convenient.

    It was grateful to me to know that you feel as I still do in regard to the materialistic dogmatic philosophers. Life would seem to me worth very little for ... ... of ..., if it were a true one. But I am sure it is not.

    Respectfully & truly yours

                Edw. Tuckerman

Hon. G. W. Clinton

Recd. Dec. 19


Dec. 1866


After receiving Tuckerman’s letter, Clinton wrote in his journal: “Dec. 26. Have been at work, off & on, ever since my return from New York, on the Herbarium. Mr. Joseph Stocking Lewis, of Batavia [N.Y.], has helped me a good deal. I worked all Christmas day, and now, 10 A.M. have selected specimens of the Ranunculaceae, and of all the Cyperaceae except Carex, & poisoned them, so that they are ready to be set up on their papers, and the duplicates are bundled up, & the bundles are labelled, & in, or ready to go into the duplicate case.”


On the first day of the new year (1867) Clinton worked on the new BSNS herbarium and the Carices, including the ones from the Boott Herbarium:


“ January 1. 9 1/2 A.M. I have just read &c. my letters. Mr. Joseph S. (Stocking) Lewis, of Batavia, is with me, in the Library Room of our Society, at work in setting up the Herbarium. He has been, so far, a real, substantial helper. Miss Lillie Chester has undertaken to make boxes for the Herbarium, & I have bought and shall take her, to day, paper for them.  This morning, Mr. Lewis will commence on the 2d quart of the solution in alcohol, of corrosive sublimate. It is composed of corrosive sublimate 1/2 a drachma to 1 oz. of alcohol. I am still dinging away at Carex.”


[1867] “January 2. Working at the Carices, find among mine, collected at Squaw Island, what I am confident is C. aquatilis.”


[1867] “Jan. 5. This Saturday, finished editing the Carices, & commenced working on the grasses. Mr. Lewis has poisoned all the specimens.”


[1867] “Jan. 7 Received a package from Gray, containing, among other things, some Australian plants from Fred Mueller, & a few Lapland ones from Christian Andersson.” 


[1867]    “Jan. 9. 9*25' A.M. Still on the grasses. Lewis has been away since Saturday evening, & writes that he will not be able to be here until next week. I must go to Albany by tonight's train, to attend the annual meeting of the Regents of the University, & must clean up before I go. Received a very kind letter from Prof. A. W. Chapman.”


[1867] “Jan. 15. About 1 P.M. got back from Albany & New York. In the Regent's meeting at Albany, introduced a resolution that the cabinet can, if the Legislature would provide the means,  employ a competent botanist,  indicating C.  H.  Peck,  to take charge of the Herbarium &c. In New York, spent an evening with Dr. Torrey.” 


Later in the season Clinton wrote:


Feb. 9. “Now finished all the Monocotyledonous orders, as arranged in Gray's Manual, except Juncaceae, also Urticaceae, Betulaceae, Coniferae.  Yesterday, Dr. Gay undertook to visit The Buffalo Female Academy, &c., and ascertain whether certain ladies would aid in putting the specimens on paper.” 


On Feb. 23 “Yesterday, at about 2 1/2 P.M., Lily Chester, Lou Dole, & Miss Lindsay came in, went into the work room up stairs & went bravely to work fastening plants on their papers. They did quite a number, & promise to come again.”


For the rest of 1867, Clinton collected in various places in New York State. At the end of the year and in the winter and early spring of 1868, he resumed preparing the BSNS Herbarium.


In 1868: “March 20. 8*15' A.M. The Herbarium has been finished some days, except a few undetermined species, and excepting the Lichens, Algae, Fungi, Mosses & Hepaticae, all the specimens I have selected for the Herbarium are poisoned, fastened on paper, arranged, incased, & roughly catalogued. I have just summed up the Catalogue, and find that the incased Herbarium contains representatives of 156 Natural Orders, of 1388 Genera, and of 4,759 species, displayed on 7, 443 sheets. quite a number, & promise to come again.”


On May 10:

    “Some time ago, for want of anything else to do, I commenced on the Algae, & have set them up, & also the Mosses & Lichens.


    The Algae     represent 49  Genera  88  species on  99 sheets.

    The Mosses    represent 127 Genera  678 species on 733 sheets.

    The Hepaticae represent 35  Genera  49  species on  52 sheets.


    The Lichens not yet put in Genera paper & do not enter into the enumeration.

    Since the computation of March 20, I have detected 4 duplications of species, and have added, besides Algae, Musci, Hepaticae, 16 species & 103 sheets. So that the whole enumeration now stands


  159 Natural Orders  1599 Genera  5,586 species  8,430 sheets.


On June 1: Added to the Herbarium 12 sheets, 4 species.

    The Lichens in the Herbarium occupy 115 sheets and represent 104 species of 26 genera.

    The whole ennumeration now stands, with the additons made May 19.

    162 Natural Orders  1,631 Genera  5,724 species  8, 595 sheets.


June 2 Added 0            1 Genus       2 Species         6 Sheets

June 3                                  2                 2

June 4       1           43            78                84

June 6                    3            43                45

June 6                    5             8                 8

June 17      1            6            17                21

June 17                                                   5

June 18                                 2                 2

           [164]       [1,689]     [5,876]           [8,768]

June 20                   1             8                16

June 29                                 4                 6

July 18                   5            40               102

           [164]        [1695]     [5,928]          [8,892]”


On June 3 Clinton wrote: “Plains, to collect lichens. In the wood, east of Jewett's, Cerastium nutans abundant, never noticed it there before, but, probably, it is generally diffused.”


It is some time in June that Clinton again wrote to Tuckerman who replied as follows. Clinton is not inquiring about specimens, but whether he could procure the hand-written letter of a famous man or famous men as a collector’s item. Tuckerman was concerned about the invasion of privacy such an inspection of his correspondence would entail to his correspondents.


Vol.5 no. 145 [B 83]


                                          28 June 1868

Dear Sir

    I have kept your kind letter of the 6th, by me, in hope that I might be able to do something in supplying your desiderata in autographs. But it seems hardly possible, from the very beginning of my scientific correspondence I have carefully preserved it, putting everything (of importance) into volumes, of which six are bound & two await binding. The latter I have gone through, without finding anything, either of Boott, or other, that I could bring myself to spare. Indeed I confess I feel reluctant to give up to a Society's inspection what was meant only to be private: though aware of course that this is no real objection.

    As to the autographs themselves I have never tried to collect them, any more than pictures (photographs) - preserving only what chance to come to me, but never seeking to add to them. Study is too engrossing, & life too short. If we do our best - & who does - how very little it comes to!

    I shall willingly go through the collection of lichens, but with your leave ... prefer to receive it at some later period; my hands being now full. Will it not serve you as well if you do not send it to me till next year? I am getting out a work which has occupied me some years, and try to escape from everythng that will take me off from it - & nowadays, a great part of any coll'n, however small, may require microscopical anlaysis, & in this way cost time. 

    Carex torreyi is indeed a species, which exists, & cannot well be put under any other. My description was based on 1, a specimen from Torrey (marked C. pallescens in Herb. Hook. 2, a clump of good specimens from Arctic America, Richardson in Herb. Hook. (refd to C. pallescens by Boott, when he went over Hooker's duplicates) - & I afterw'd found the plant in Herb. Kunze at Leipzig, sent to him by Schweinitz under the never pub'd name of C. abbreviata. Beside these facts - the plant is in Herb. Acad. Philad. from N. York (presumably) as sent by Torrey - once more as C. pallescens. Schweinitz got it at Bethlehem Pa. All my spdc'm are now in Herb. Boott. & nobody now can find it!

    Should anything turn up or an autographic char. of interest, I will lay it by: & am truly sorry not to feel able to send you anything herewith.

    With respect truly yours

        Edw. Tuckerman

G. W. Clinton Esq.


Recd June 30.


    Carex torreyi Tuckerm. is today still an accepted species (synonym C. abbreviata Prescott). It grows in central-western North America in the lower four western Canadian provinces and the adjacent States (Montana, N. & S. Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, Colorado). Carex pallescens L. has a northeastern distribution (including NY State) with disjunct populations to the west coast (USDA Plants Database 2012).

    “Boott” is Dr. Francis Boott (1792-1863). Note reference to Carex pallescens in Clinton’s notebook above. Much or most of Boott’s Herbarium (of Carices) was sent to Asa Gray, duplicates sent to Clinton in Buffalo, and the rest on to Elihu Hall, as mentioned above. Hall’s specimens, again, are at the Field Museum, Chicago.

    Tuckerman’s publications at this time (1868) have to do with the United States Geological Exploration of the Fourtieth Parallel (1871; two page list) and in 1872, the lichens in the Preliminary Report of the US Geological Survey of Montana (a list of eight species, mostly from Yellowstone). Other of his publications forthcoming through the 1870’s are also very short. It seems apparent that preparation of the publication Tuckerman is referring to is his Genera Lichenum: An arrangement of the North American Lichens, published in Amherst in 1872 :8vo. Pp. xv, 281 (Farlow 1887).


During 1869, Clinton continued to botanize and, later in the year, to organize the BSNS Herbarium.


In January 1870, Clinton wrote: “Jan. 21. For some days have been looking up lichens & fungi, particularly the latter. A few days ago, on Rhus typhinum, on the plains, found a Calicium (very abundant) which Miss Mary L. Wilson (who has taken the Lichens in charge) thinks is C. Curtisii. Found it, today, on Rhus typhina, on the head of Goat Island.”


It is now that explicit reference is made to the interest Miss Mary Wilson has had in the lichens.


On Feb. 6. Clinton wrote in his journal: “Mr. Peck writes that Mr. Tuckermann, to whom he submitted them, decides that the Calicium from Rhus typhinum is C. Curtisii, Tuck. and that another I sent is C. subtile, Ach.”



Vol. 6 no. 157 [L 56]

    [On blue paper]


                                29 Feb. 1870

Dear Sir

    I cannot but thank you for your pleasant letter of the 17th, & shall be happy to assist the lady to whom you refer - Miss Wilson - to the extent of my power. If she will lay aside specimens about which she is doubtful, & when enough is brought together send it to me by mail, I will examine the same at the earliest moment possible, & return her my determinations. It will be necessary to mark the specimens sent similarly to those which she retains, as I can hardly undertake (unless exceptionally) to return the specimens. It sometimes happens that I cannot examine such collections for some months after receipt. - but this will perhaps make no difference.

    As to the handbook of Lichens, I cannot take it up till I get my preliminary work on the Genera done. The latter will hardly be of interest except to experts, but the former I shall try to make useful to students - & my field is, as you would have it, North America, excluding Mexico.

    I feel the same regrets that you express that Dr. Gray's region is so sharply limited - & though my studies do not take me often into phaenogamous Botany, it is distressing at times not to know where to turn for the description of a plant, even with Chapman at hand, to supplement Gray. This was the case lately with a tree of Southern Texas, furnishing me not a few Lichens colld by Ravenel, but which I had finally to give up, as fruitless, the search for. Still I cannot wonder that no more is yet done. The labour is vast indeed - &  the time required too great for perhaps one man however able he be. Even in my very limited department, I find work slow - & the material continually getting ahead of me. As to Fungi, I can only think of Mr. Ravenel (H. W.) of Aiken, S. C., who publishes Fungi Carol. exsiccati - &, if I mistake not, offers also Collections of Carolina phanerogams for sale, but him you probably know. Mr. C. C. Frost of Brattleboro, Vermont, is our New England Mycologist - & I can think of no other.

    Mr. Frost is remarkably acquainted with our Cryptogams generally,

        I am, Dear Sir

                with great respect

                  Truly yours

                E. Tuckermann

Hon. G. W. Clinton

Recd Feb. 20


Henry William Ravenel, 1814-1887, a botanist who suffered much after the American Civil War in Aiken, South Carolina.. He published the Fungi Caroliniani Exsiccati in five fascicles with 100 specimens in each one between 1852 and 1860. See Pfister, D. H. 1985. Mycotaxon 23:1-139.


Alvan Wentworth Chapman (1809-1899), a physician in Georgia, worked in his spare time on the botanically unexplored regions near him, south of the limits of Asa Gray’s manual of the botany of the Northeastern United States. When he had a manuscript prepared, Chapman made a five month visit to Asa Gray at Harvard University and eventually had it published in 1860 as the Flora of the Southern United States. Ivison, Phinney and Co., New York, with a second edition in 1884, and a third in 1897 (Wikipedia, 2/15/2013). It was the first botanical regional treatment of the southern United States.


  Charles Christopher Frost 1815-1880 collected fungi and lichens in New England, in Vermont in the vicinity of Brattleboro, he would co-author with Tuckerman the catalogue of plants growing within 30 miles of Amherst, Massachusetts in 1879. He would write “Further enumeration of New England fungi” Proc. Soc. Nat. Hist. Boston XII 77-81, in 1869 and in June, 1874, Catalogue of Boleti of New England with descriptions of new species, in the Bulletin of the Society of Natural Sciences II: 100-105. He also wrote “A catalogue of cryptogamous or flowerless plants of Vermont: in Archives of Science, Newport, Vermont 1-111 (without fungi).


It is on March first, 1870, that another hand appears in Clinton’s journal, a refined, delicate hand. It is Mary Wilson’s where she inserts addenda to the orders, families and species in the numerical catalogue of the BSNS herbarium.


On Oct. 12, the state of the herbarium was noted by Clinton to be:


     “Natural Orders. Genera Species, Sheets.

                               1       15      19 [different handwriting]


[1870] Oct. 17. State of the Herbarium, including the additions of

Oct. 12, by Miss Wilson. 

        Natural Orders 160. Genera 1977. Species 7,257. Sheets, 11,200

Nov. 14.          Added  -                  "        9    "          9.

 "   15-17. 18.     "    -     "       9     "       50    "        151.

 "   26. - Dec. 1.  "    -             8     "       29    "         40

 "  Dec. 3 -12.     "    -             4     "       48    "         54

    "  10.          "    -             5     "       21    "         28

 "  "  14-17.       "    2            52     "      113    "        142

 "  "  18-31.       "    1             1     "        2    "           2

1871. Jan. 1-5.     "    -            14     -       42    -        111

  "    "   7.       "    -             8     -       58    -         60

  "    "   10.      "    1            41     -      132    -        192

  "    "   14.      "    -             2     -       19    -         21


          [No totals.]”


The Buffalo Society began to collect photographs of notable botanists in a large, leather-bound volume and both Clinton and the Society’s secretary sent notes around to correspondents for this purpose. The book with photographs still resides in the Archives of the Research Library at the Buffalo Museum of Science. The book was evidently prepared by Clinton himself, for its catalogue and numbering system were written on the first pages in Clinton’s handwriting.



Vol.7 no. 153 [E 78]


                                  7 Feb. 1871

Dear Sir,

    I take pleasure in sending you the pictures - but cannot forbear, at the same time, the customary demand of a ... portrait of yourself.

    My collection is as yet a small one, which has grown up by the voluntary gifts of scientific friends; but should I go abroad again, I think it likely that I shall make it an object to collect - & in that case, to complete also the American series, as yet very imperfect.

    The Genera is in the printer's hands, and but for delay owing to deficiency of the kind of paper required, would now be well advanced toward publication. Thank you for your suggestion, especially as it puts one who never got beyond the baccalaureate in Legibus in the honourable seat of a judge. But let me say that the questions upon which the court has to pass are perplexing to a degree, and embarrassed [?] by no end of conflicting judgments. Add to this that there is a higher court with full jurisdiction, and a judge as bitter, and impatient of opposition as he is unquestionably equipped - if not always with wide views of great principles - at least with authorities and facts, - and I am sure you will allow that I should be careful in my decisions, and in the statement of them. They are certain to be received unfavourably in the quarter named; & to be overruled, if that is possible.

    On reflection however I do not think I have erred in the case - if I have not gone too far the other way.

    The book is rather a report to Lichenographers of the results of my studies than a book for study. But Mr. Willey has done some good work for students. You have seen his paper in The Naturalist for January? And this reminds me to say how greatly I should prize a card - picture of the excellent lichenist of Buffalo, Miss Wilson - but know not at all having little if any experience in soliciting such things, whether she would like to be asked for it.

                                With great respect


                                   Edw. Tuckerman

Hon. G. W. Clinton

Recd Feb. 10 & ans inclosing photograph



The “portrait” that Tuckerman sent Clinton, and which is retained in the photograph album in the Archives at Buffalo, is reproduced at the beginning of this text.


Again, Tuckerman gives a description of his herbarium and it is probable that he is mainly referring to his lichen collections. As yet without any particular insult to his overall health, Tuckerman was contemplating a trip abroad.


The somewhat waggish tone to this letter probably matches the tone of the letter that Clinton must have written and to which this one was its reply. Tuckerman attended Harvard Law school and “took his degree in 1839” (Gray 1886), and so, he is a fellow lawyer to George Clinton. A spurt of confidence on the part of Clinton is probably due to his recent election as Chief Judge of the Court - an honor to which Clinton probably made reference in his letter. Clinton was, at this time and up to this time, in the good graces of nearly everyone. Before his 1870 election, he had served in the elected office of Judge of the Superior Court of Buffalo in 1854 - a period of 16 years.


Tuckerman’s reference to a “higher court” may be religious, but it seems more likely that it is to the scientists, great and the not so established, of his own day before whom he stands in judgment as a taxonomist. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was a corporate member of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington and “an honorary member of several of the learned societies and Academies of Europe” (Gray 1886).


Tuckerman’s judges were numerous and formidable. Farlow (1887) refered to “older experts [who] were too busy attempting to split up genera and species to an unendurable degree of artificiality, while the younger men, attracted by the writings of Schwendener, Bornet, and Stahl, were too much interested in developmental and physiological questions to care much for systematic works. The Genera Lichenum is a protest against the artificial classificiations based almost wholly on the spore characters without regard to other equally important characters, a method first advocated by the Italian lichenologists, with DeNotaris at their head, and adopted by the Germans and other continental botanists. Tuckerman advocated the systems of Fries modified by his knowledge of exotic forms.”


Specifically, though, Tuckerman may be referring to conflicts with the European lichenologist William Nylander, “the Finnish self-exile living in Paris.” Tuckerman (correctly) could not always admire Nylander’s narrow species concept and Nylander (again correctly) found Tuckerman’s notions often too broad” (Culberson 1964).


Tuckerman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1868, was a corporate member of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington and “an honorary member of several of the learned societies and Academies of Europe” (Gray 1886).


The Genera Lichenum, considered to be Tuckerman’s greatest work, was “a hard book to read. It was addressed to experts, not to beginners” (Farlow 1887).


Henry Willey (1824-1907), of New Bedford, Massachusetts, had formed a partnership with Tuckerman to study lichens from around 1862.  The publications referred to were two in preparation for publication in the American Naturalist later in 1871 - they were intended for the January issue but, in a letter from Willey to George Clinton (Jan. 20, 1871) , Willey stated that the paper as submitted was too late for that issue, and was postponed until later in the year.


The “January” publication by Willey in Tuckerman’s letter pertains to these two papers, both popular accounts, one on the use of microscopic characters and the other on the diagnostic value of spores in lichen identification.


Willey, H. 1871 “Lichens under the microscope.” American Naturalist 4:665-675 f. 139-153. Willey, H. 1871, “The spores of lichens.” American Naturalist 4:720-724.


Just earlier, on the 18th of January, 1871, George Clinton had made his first contact with Willey, who replied to him on January 20 and Tuckerman seems to have known of this contact. In Clinton’s letter to Willey, he mentioned Mary Wilson, for whom Willey sent extra copies of his paper of 1867:


 “American lichenography.” Proceedings of the Essex Institute 5:191-196. In Willey’s memoir by Bruce Fink (1914), Fink commented that this publication “Gives a fairly good list of publications on American lichens up to 1867.”


Willey had been born in Geneseo, New York, before moving to Massachusetts. When he furthered his lichen studies in New Bedford, spent a vacation visiting and collecting in central New York (letter of Jan. 20, 1871). In his letter, Willey offered to set up an exchange of lichens with Miss Wilson and would later identify lichen specimens sent to him.


In 1872, Tuckerman would finally publish the “Genera Lichenum: An Arrangement of the North American Lichens. Amherst, 1872. 8vo. Pp. xv, 281” (Fernald 1887). At one time, the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science had a copy of Tuckerman’s “Genera.” In the end papers, Mary Wilson wrote her name in her elegant handwriting. It appears that Tuckerman sent her a personal, complimentary copy. When Miss Wilson would later leave Buffalo, she did not take this volume with her but left it behind, in the Museum’s library.



Mary Wilson


The portrait of a woman in the Buffalo photograph book is probably Mary Wilson - perhaps there is a matching image in the archives of Amherst College, where Tuckerman’s letters are preserved. Clinton, as he noted at the bottom of the letter above, did, in fact, send a picture of Ms. Wilson to Tuckerman. However, Peter Nelson, College Archivist for the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections in Amherst, Mass. has informed me that nothing resembling Ms. Wilson could be found among Tuckerman’s other photographs and in his biographical file (pers. comm. 12/10/2012).


Vol. 7 no. 170 [E 58]


                                                25 Feb., 1871

Dear Sir,

    I am very happy to respond to your inquiry. C. [Carex] glaucodea is a plant that I had not merely the trouble of describing (appt. to "Botanical Contributions" by A. Gray, 1868) but the great pleasure of discovering - & I enclose a poor specimen from my original station. After publication, the plant proved to exist in several herbaria, and I have it from N. J., Pa., and Delaware. If your specimens were from Prof. Porter of Easton, or Mr. C. E. Smith of Phill'a, they  are no doubt the thing. But the specimen sent will I hope enable you to judge

                                Respectfully & truly yours

                                  Edw. Tuckermann

Hon. G. W. Clinton

Recd Feb. 28  


Carex glaucodea Tuckerman, described pp. 395-396 in Asa Gray “Botanical Contributions,” pp. 345-402 issued July, 1868. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (June 11, 1867). It was collected on “Moist trap rocks, summit of Mount Holyoke and Mount Tom.” It was collected in “Bethlehem, Pennsylvania by Prof. Porter,” and “woods near Philadelphia, C. E. Smith.” The New Jersey specimen was collected by Coe Finch Austin, who was not named in the publication.


Note that the “poor specimen from my original station” sent to Clinton may be a type specimen of Carex glaucodea, stored in the collections of the Buffalo Museum of Science.


In Clinton’s journal tabulating the progress of entering and mounting specimens in the BSNS Herbarium, entries were recorded in Mary Wilson’s handwriting for the “Cuban Moss” citation of November 29, 1871, as well as entries for Dec. 13, 1872 and Mar. 3, 1872 [see Clinton entry for August 26-27].


In 1872 and 1873, quite a number of lichens were recorded in Clinton’s journal as entered into the Herbarium (see e.g. Clinton’s journal entry for “State of the Herbarium” on Nov. 9, 1872.


Early in 1872, Tuckerman wrote the following letter to Clinton, mentioning the affliction that, according to Tuckerman’s biographers, seems to have dogged him for the rest of his life:


Vol.8 no. 79 [H 142]

                                        Amherst 6th Jan. [18]'72

Dear Sir,

    Your kind remembrance is most cheering. I was prostrated by sun stroke in September and though the case was not unfavourable, I am still denied the privilege of study and all continuous reading or writing. This will explain to you, why this reply reached you by another hand.

    But I am very thankful, that withdrawal from work, and careful living have brought me into better general health, than I have enjoyed for a long time. Still, recovery in these cases is extremely slow, and months must yet pass before I can resume my work, indeed I look forward to a foreign tour before again taking up study.

    The book I was carrying through the press (Genera of N. A. Lichens) is not delayed, and is approaching its completion. I shall hope to have the pleasure of sending you a copy before very long. The other work, which I was engaged in writing (Synopsis of N. A. Lichens) must necessarily be postponed.

    Please to present my kind wishes for the New Year to Miss Wilson and accept the same

    from your mo. respect'y & truly

                Edw. Tuckerman

Hon. Judge Clinton

Recd Jan. 7


Farlow (1887) indicated that as the years passed on, “[Tuckerman] was forced to become more and more secluded in consequence of a deafness which gradually increased, and at last reached a stage at which conversation became difficult.” Tuckerman’s succinct and involuted style of writing “... was yet all his own, and which ws the more pronounced in advancing years, when, owing to increasing deafness and delicate health, he led a more secluded life.” (Gray 1886) “A number of years before his death he suffered from a sunstroke [in September 1871, according to this letter], from which he probably never quite recovered, and this made it difficult for him to work continuously as had been his habit” (Farlow 1887). Some 15 years elapsed between the sunstroke and Tuckerman’s eventual death and during those last 15 years, Tuckerman managed to write both volumes of his Synopsis of the North American Lichens.


In 1872, Tuckerman intended to continue to “withdraw from work” and “live carefully” for several more months before resumption of work - indeed, he indicates in his letter above that it was written in another hand than his own - perhaps by dictation. He also intended to take a foreign tour. His necrologies do not mention such a tour (Farlow 1887, nor Culberson 1964), but Fink (1906) wrote “Thus [Tuckerman’s] meeting with Fries was not merely an incident of his first European trip, and his visits and excursions with this greatest lichenist of his time must have been a great inspiration ...”. If Tuckerman had a first European trip, Fink seems to indicate there was a second one. Gray (1886) hinted at a second trip in his memorial to Tuckerman, where “In the year 1841 he [Tuckerman] went to Germany and Scandinavia ... devoting himself, as in a subsequent visit, to philosophical, historical, and botanical studies.” Where he went and whom he visited is not as well documented by his biographers as in his 1841 trip.


In a study of 58 patients suffering from heatstroke in 1995 conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center “nearly half of the patients admitted to Chicago-area [Intensive Care Units] for hear stroke died within a year - 21 percent before discharge and another 28 percent after release from the hospital. Many of the survivors suffered permanent loss of independent function; one-third had severe functional impairment at discharge, and none of them had improved after one year” (Wikipedia, “Heat-illness” viewed March 5, 2013).


Although there appear to be no published references to a second European trip by Tuckerman, his friend Henry Willey refers to one in a letter to Clinton (April 30, 1873, quoted immediately below). In January of 1872, Tuckerman was ill and perhaps departed for Europe later in that year. By April of 1873, Tuckerman was (still) ‘touring’ Europe and perhaps did in fact live in Europe between early 1872 and some time in 1873:


“I was afraid he [Tuckerman] would not like the publication of the List, though not aware of any good reason why he should not, and took the pains to send a copy to him in Europe before I issued it, saying that if he did not like it I would withhold it. However he spoke very kindly of it, though he said there were things [in?] he should have wished otherwise.”


Clinton wrote to Willey again after he received Willey’s reply on April 30, such that on May 18, 1873, Willey replied:


“I do not know when Tuckerman is coming home. He spoke of being away one or two years. I wish he could come back and do up his manual. He seems to be a very slow worker, and is I think rather afraid of the thunder of his own reputation, or rather of the judgement passed on him by European lichenists.”


When Tuckerman would return to Massachusetts, he would undertake  Part I of the Synopsis of the North American Lichens, finished in 1882.


Some indication of what Tuckerman was doing in Europe, such as visiting various herbaria, may be inferred from some of the notes Tuckerman made under various species in the Synopsis, part one, such as under Colema limosum Ach. “Our plant is the same with that of Borrer (E. Bot. Suppl.t.2704, f. 1, & in herb. Taylor!), who had opportunities of knowing Acharius’s lichen; and the same also as that of Torssell (herb.!) who knew Fries’s; from which last, according to Nylander l.c., his own does not differ.”


This is the final letter of Tuckerman’s preserved by Clinton in the collection of Clinton’s correspondents. At this point in Tuckerman’s life, Tuckerman wished to devote his time to a grand Synthesis of the North American Lichens, the first volume to appear in 1882 (he was to die four years later of Bright’s disease, a disease of the kidney, now known as ‘acute or chronic nephritis,’ a disease that would also destroy Tuckerman’s neighbor, the poetess Emily Dickenson). “ Unfortunately his health failed” (due to sun stroke) after the completion of the Genera, “and, being the long acknowledged authority on lichens in this country, much of his time was absorbed by correspondents who, at times, ill requited his valuable services” (Farlow 1887).


In a letter to Clinton written by Willey on Feb. 3, 1874, Willey reported that:


“Tuckerman returned [to the United States] in the fall [of 1873], in good general health, but not he says in a condition to work much.”


Even, it seems, on the interrupted Synopsis.


At any rate, Tuckerman was able to send no note to Clinton (that is known to this author, or preserved as of this writing) for the rest of Tuckerman’s life. However, three later letters exist in the Tuckerman archives at Amherst, Mass., one from Clinton, in 1874, in April, not very long after Tuckerman came home, and two from Mary Wilson. It is curious that Tuckerman appears not to have retained any of Clinton’s letters to him (except for the April 18, 1874 letter transcribed next), but Tuckerman did retain these three following.


The first of these was written from George Clinton to Edward Tuckerman in 1874, two years after Tuckerman’s last reply, and after Tuckerman became ill. The following are reproduced with permission from the Edward Tuckerman Botanical Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.


                                       Buffalo [New York] , April 18, 1874

My dear Sir:


    In reference to the scrappy specimens from Springville which I sent to Mr. Willey for determination & which he returned, with your remarks, not to me but to Miss Wilson, & which seem to be of some interest to you, they are, of course, yours. But, with your permission, I will retain them, for the present, to aid me in procuring more. Springville is 8 - 12 miles from any railroad, and therefore not easily reached. But I will revisit & explore it more thoroughly, so soon as I can. Miss Wilson, to whom you have been so kind, and who so well deserves & so highly appreciates your kindness, is, I am grieved to say, in ill health. For several months past she has been, and for a large part of this season expects to be absent under treatment. [word crossed out]. [crossed out: "She has"]


Her condition forbids study. [crossed out: "From"] She has always had & has the exclusive charge of our Lichenes.


I have tried to aid her by bringing [word crossed out] lichens to her - even as the barbarous inhabitants of a country and its botanical explorer by collecting & bringing to him its plants [??] Our collection is at Miss W's house, and I have access only to a few duplicates. I am no microscopist and have nothing that deserves to be called a knowledge of the lichens. The publication of our Botanical Catalogues will probably be commenced next Autumn; and I especially desire that the Catalogue of our Lichens should approach completeness.


I desire to do all that such an ignoramus as I can do, to assist Miss Wilson in adding to her Catalogue, which now embraces about 150 species. To aid her easily & effectually, it is necessary that I should have an eye-knowledge of our lichens. There is no one on this continent to whom I can apply for assistance in acquiring this knowledge but yourself. It will prevent me from overwhelming Miss Wilson, on her return, with loads of rubbish, and enable me to collect intelligently, and perhaps to augment, somewhat largely, our list. You can hardly imagine what a pleasure it would be to us to add something, however trifling, to your [power] to elucidate & give to Science a knowledge of our lichens. If so good a thing should befall us, please to remember that I have nought to do with it, and that Miss Wilson, whose mere servant in such matters I am, must receive the sole credit. How very glad I should be to pick up a new lichen, were you to name it for her - Mariae Wilsoni.  [this Latin is incorrect]

    But, my dear Sir! I know how much Science justly expects from you, and I would not, for the world, be so selfish, if I could, as to divert time due to the important matters you have in hand. I propose, you consenting, to send you specimens to be looked at named. The specimens may be quite numerous at first, but will very rapidly decrease in number.

    I do not ask nor expect you to examine, microscopically, anything I may send, unless you deem it worthy of examination.

    Such answers as these would serve all my purposes:

    No. 1. Biatora rubella, a form. No.2. Lecanora subfusca - ...

3. An immature Lecidea. 4. Worthless.  5. No lichen.

    In general, when I find anything which seems desirable, I collect largely; and, when there is little of it, I take all. But it must often chance that I can, at the time, get only a single specimen. In that case, I mark it "no duplicate", to the end that, if it be really good, I may be so informed & search for more. In every case, whatever I shall send you is yours, if you desire it, and to gratify a wish of you for "more" would be a pleasure indeed.

    This, my dear Sir! is my situation. A decent self respect forbids my having anything to do with Mr. Willey. You are the best and my only resource. But I feel very loathe under any circumstances, to make a demand upon your time. Whether my request ought to be acceded to, you are the only judge and I shall be very far from taking offense at your decision, if adverse, because I know that you are a most liberal and kindly gentleman.

    Very truly & respectfully,

       Your friend & servant,

           G. W. Clinton

Prof. E. Tuckerman

     P. S. I  may visit the North Shore of Lake Superior, Isle Royale, in 2 or 3 weeks; and, if I do, shall make an omnium gatherum collection of lichens, which I shall be glad to send you, if you should care to see it.


There is no reply preserved or to hand.


Springville, in 1860 was a postal village in Concord township in southern Erie County, the county of the City of Buffalo. Clinton visited it in 1864 on September 21 and 22 to deliver an Agricultural Address to the Erie County State Fair, being held in the village (G. Clinton’s collecting diary). On those two days he expressed no interest in lichens but collected vascular plants and ferns. The “scrappy specimens from Springville” do not appear to have been noted in Clinton’s collecting diary for 1874 - only two entries were noted for the first half of the year, one in May, and another in June and neither were in Springville.


Clinton notes in this letter that he had sent lichen specimens to Henry Willey to determine. Willey had sent some on to Tuckerman for comment. Tuckerman returned his replies to Willey, who sent them on - not to Clinton, but to Mary Wilson.


It seems also evident that Clinton and Willey had a falling out. Note that Clinton’s desire to have Tuckerman describe a species to be named after Mary Wilson seems to parallel those he requested, successfully, of fungi authored by Charles Peck.


Yet again, Clinton’s letter to Tuckerman may have been led by an idea that Willey himself gave in his letter of February 3 1874, that Tuckerman, when he returned from Europe, showed little enthusiasm for working on the Synopsis and chose to spend his time, at least at first, identifying specimens “for individuals” rather than the scientific public. Certainly in the Synopsis there were specimens to identify from many such individuals as  Ravenel, Coe Finch Austin, Elihu Hall’s lichens of Texas and Kansas, Drummond’s lichens from British Canada.


By using Tuckerman, Clinton could avoid Willey as an intermediary and avoid Willey’s increasingly naive and uncomfortable questions and observations in early 1873 regarding Mary Wilson of Buffalo. Miss Wilson’s problems seem to have coincided with Tuckerman’s return from Europe.


There is no record that I could find to explain Clinton’s sudden distaste in communicating with Willey, and can only assume that Willey’s faux pas was simply that he replied back to Mary Wilson directly, and did not go through Clinton. However, in Willey’s letters to Clinton during this time period, he made abundant reference to an ongoing exchange of correspondence and specimens with Wilson.


That Willey presumed to intrude between an apparent arrangement between Clinton and Wilson, that she was to collect and inquire, and he, Clinton, was to communicate with the experts is not tenable since in other letters from Willey to Clinton, Willey acknowledged that he wrote regularly to Wilson.


The other issue seems to have been that those were Clinton’s specimens, and that he collected them and sent them to Willey for determination, who would then send anything interesting on to Tuckerman for comment. Of course, if Clinton had collected anything interesting, it is even more important to let the collector know about this - something Willey did not do, perhaps.


There is also the possibility that Miss Wilson was in fact still collecting specimens in the field, but she was sending them to Clinton to forward to Tuckerman for analysis. There are specimens collected by Wilson also from Michigan and perhaps Clinton sought to have them analyzed, pretending that he had collected them, although there does not seem to be any evidence that Clinton himself, during his lifetime, ever travelled west of New York State.


As of the time of this letter, Mary Wilson was “absent,” and Clinton wished to have a mass of specimens analyzed “on her return.” Although Clinton would collect, he would take no proprietary interest in the lichenological data that might arise from these collections - this would be Miss Wilson’s - due to Clinton’s and presumably Tuckerman’s gallantry, as would befit two gentlemen.


During the first months of 1874, Mary Wilson was so ill that she could no longer identify lichens. Clinton wrote: “For several months past [January through early April] she has been, and for a large part of this season expects to be absent under treatment...”. It is a little curious that Clinton’s hand seemed to be shaking when he communicated with Tuckerman about this, as noted above the two phrases crossed out. Such crossings out are not frequently met in Clinton’s correspondence with others. Clinton seemed not to mind that Tuckerman might surmise Clinton was agitated, indeed, he may have thought that Tuckerman would share in his agitation in a compassionate and gallant sort of way. However, in this letter Clinton appears to be distraught.


As early as January, 1874, Henry Willey knew of Miss Wilson’s illness, for he wrote to Clinton:


“I was sorry to learn by a recent letter from Miss Wilson at [Avon?]

that her health has given out and she is compelled to give up work. I hope

her illness is not likely to prove permanent. I have been much indebted to

her especially for rare specimens, which she is very fortunate in procuring

in abundance from almost all parts of the world. I almost envy her the

possession of Russell's collection.”


Note he discovered her illness from a letter from Miss Wilson herself. What could have been the source of her ‘rare specimens ... [procured] in abundance from almost all parts of the world?” One wonders a little whether some of these excellent specimens came from Tuckerman himself during the year or so he was in Europe convalescing from his sunstroke of  September 1871.


Willey attested to Miss Wilson’s expertise with lichens, in a letter written on January 28, 1874, Willey wrote:


Besides Tuckerman she is the only contributor to my herbarium, and she has an

excellent knowledge of Lichens.


Willey also had the temerity to write:


“May I ask what is the nature of Miss Wilson's illness. She has never spoken particularly of it.”


Clinton wrote that “She has always had & has the exclusive charge of our Lichenes,” which is perhaps the first express acknowledgement to another person in writing that Mary Wilson occupied such an important position in the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences - a sort of unacknowledged Curator of Lichenology, an office that never existed in the Society. In the three histories of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Wilson is never mentioned as more than a kind of factotum, similar to other women whose volunteer positions are occasionally mentioned. However, it is to be noted that Wilson between 1873 and 1874, served on the Board of Managers of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (Robertson & Barcellona 1939).


In a letter to Clinton on Feb. 3, 1874, Willey wrote:


“I suspect that I have been under a misconception in supposing that Miss Wilson expected to give up all work in lichens, which I have gathered from her letters. I hope there has been no falling out to disturb the harmony of your Society. I had got the impression that her health was so seriously affected as perhaps to endanger her life. I have had but one letter from her this winter.”


This letter seems to contradict the impression Clinton gave in his letter to Tuckerman, that Miss Wilson had had to give up work in lichens - apparently, she was continuing to work on them - but from home. This is the only real indication in the archival information I have consulted that Miss Wilson’s illness had perhaps more to do with a disturbance in “the harmony” between herself and the Buffalo Society, of which she was a Board member. Also, Willey freely acknowledges that Miss Wilson felt free to write to Willey herself, without Clinton as an intermediary.


It is also interesting that the Society’s lichen collections were housed ‘off-campus’ at Miss Wilson’s private residence on 78 Niagara St. in Buffalo. There, she could work on the lichens, even though apparently unable to use a microscope while doing other business at the Society’s public ‘rooms,’ such as arranging the Society’s other collections. As the collections were off site at her residence, the public could not view them.


As if to underline Miss Wilson’s prostration, she appears to be unable to venture into the field to make lichen collections in and around Buffalo (within a 50 mile radius of a point in the City’s center). Perhaps to emphasize Miss Wilson’s delicate condition, Clinton acknowledged that he himself wrested these collections from the field from ‘barbarous inhabitants’ in western New York and adjacent Canada.


It is curious that Clinton, President of the Society and its chief botanist had no access to the lichen collection - as if purposefully distancing himself from his association with her, even though that association was close, as Clinton seems to never miss an opportunity to acknowledge in his letters to other botanists and his political colleagues.


It is also rather startling to see that Clinton was ‘no microscopist’ since he seems to have given the impression in his letters that he had some expertise in bryophytes and fungi, even publishing new fungus names, although in the publications of Charles Peck.


Clinton’s letter of April 18 preceded “publication of our Botanical Catalogues”, slated for autumn of 1874. Volume one of the Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences would commence in 1874 as Henry Willey would publish a paper in it:


Willey, H. 1874. “Statistics and distribution of North American lichens. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences Vol. 1:161-167.


When the Society issued its Bulletins, they had no items of local botanical interest, although full of articles in other branches of Natural History relating to other branches of the collections of the Society.


The actual publication of “our Botanical Catalogues” would not occur until much later, in Volume four, April 1882 - after Clinton had left Buffalo in 1881-2, having apparently suddenly taken an interest in editing the collected papers of George Clinton, his great-uncle, in which there was probably little of natural historic interest (unlike those of his father, DeWitt Clinton). If Clinton ever did edit these papers during his residence in Albany, New York during the period between 1881 and 1885, when he died, there might be evidence of it in the State Archives in Albany, New York.


Miss Wilson had 150 species in her list, as of April, 1874. In the next eight years she would add ten more. When her list was eventually published by the Society, she was not listed as the author. David F. Day, to whom authorship of the Plants of Buffalo and its Vicinity in 1882 would be attributed, wrote in his introduction:


“Early in the history of the Society, the investigation of our Lichens was generously undertaken by Miss Mary L. Wilson, then of our city, now of Haverhill, Mass. The success which attended her efforts in this difficult and neglected field, is demonstrated by the very valuable collection of plants of that order, constituting a part of the Herbarium. Miss Wilson has now enhanced the value of her labors by preparing with her own hand the list of the Lichens of Buffalo which makes a part of the Catalogue’ (Day 1882).


Somewhere in these issues the actual ownership of the collections may have arisen. The lichen collections at Miss Wilson’s house, as well as her lichen library, seem to have ended up in the Herbarium of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, as did Clinton’s masses of vascular plants - a fact which inspired the Society to name the Herbarium after Clinton (the Clinton Herbarium) after he exited Buffalo. This would include the copy of Tuckerman’s Genera Lichenum sent after publication and which bears Miss Wilson’s signature.


Richard Harris (1987) gave a detailed accounting of the Museum’s lichen collections which include specimens accumulated by Wilson when working with Clinton at the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences - some 2600 specimens or 95% of the entire collection -acquired before 1885, the year of Clinton’s death.


When Clinton avowed in the present letter that “There is no one on this continent to whom I can apply for assistance in acquiring this knowledge but yourself” it is ironical that in the last paragraph of the letter he stated that Henry Willey, to whom he had been routinely sending specimens for identification would no longer be his correspondent, as


. “A decent self respect forbids my having anything to do with Mr. Willey.”


 Only doubtful identifications were sent on to Tuckerman, presumably as they would assist in his completion of the final edition of the Synopsis that he was assiduously working on after returning to Massachusetts from over a year’s absence. Clinton indicated in this letter that he had terminated his correspondence with Willey.


Showing an exquisite gallantry to Miss Wilson, not to “overwhelm” her in her delicate condition by burdening her with a load of indiscriminately collected specimens with “loads of rubbish,” Clinton feels Tuckerman will share his concern for Miss Wilson’s contributions to science by Tuckerman abandoning his own labors to take on Willey’s function and identify masses of badly collected material. Tuckerman himself had been crippled by sun stroke from which it took years to recover and would be overwhelmed by another disease before he could finish his own life’s work.


And, as if to add insult to injury, Clinton asks if Tuckerman might name a lichen which Clinton might have inadvertently collected that might be new to science with Mary Wilson’s name as an epithet, as Clinton was Miss Wilson’s ‘servant.’


Hopefully, Tuckerman, knowledgeable in Latin, would correctly formulate the epithet. The incorrect Latin epithet, “Mariae Wilsoni,” is reminiscent of another species, apparently published by Clinton, in a paper by the mycologist Charles Peck, the rust fungus Puccinia mariae-wilsoniae Clinton. Peck, an expert in botanical Latin, apparently, allowed the epithet to stand uncorrected (to mariae-wilsoniae). Another Clinton species with the same orthographic error is Ciderma Mariae-Wilsoni, Clinton (Peck 1883) and presumably this is also true of Sphaeropsis Wilsoni, Clinton (Peck 1883), Septoria Wilsoni, Clinton, Pestalozzia Mariae, Clinton,and Hendersonia Mariae, Clinton. Clinton also named a species after Russell (Microsphaeria Russellii, Clinton) as well as other associates and colleagues, such as Puccinia Dayii, Clinton, after David F. Day.


Clinton’s admission that he is “no microscopist” presumably  only applies to lichens, for Clinton seems to be hitherto unchallenged as a bryologist and mycologist as both fields require a microscope. As Miss Wilson seems to be familiar with this instrument, one may guess that her reputation as a cryptogamist seems to be considerably augmented.


Clinton finally proposed to make a mass gathering of lichens from Isle Royale as a special treat to send to Tuckerman for processing, perhaps reminiscent of Tuckerman’s willingness to identify specimens from some of the great expeditions, such as the Wilkes and Hayden Expeditions or H. Mann’s Hawaiian collections, or Charles Wright’s Cuban ones. In this specific instance, Clinton is probably making reference to Tuckerman’s “Enumeratio Lichenum a D. Prof. Agassiz ad Lacum Superiorem, anno 1848, lectorum” published in 1850, in L. Agassiz’ report on Lake Superior (Agassiz 1850). Tuckerman had done T. G. Lea a favor in 1849, identifying lichens in the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1849, and was not loathe to tinker with the flora around Amherst, Massachusetts, where Tuckerman resided.


It may be this is the request, and Clinton’s inexplicable break with Willey, mentioned in this letter, that formed the basis for comments made in Tuckerman’s necrology regarding inappropriate demands made on Tuckerman’s time, now, when attempting to finish Tuckerman’s life’s-work.


In a letter some two months after Clinton’s note to Tuckerman, Willey wrote to Tuckerman on June 29, 1874:


I find nothing from my apology to Judge C. but I had a letter last week from Miss. W. in which she says “that however Judge C. may have written to you or Prof. T. - that it shall be all forgotten - ill health & some [troubles] have wrought such changes in him that his friends are filled with dismay & sadness.”


Willey proceeded to give his views of Clinton’s botanical competency, which may have been low, perhaps recently, due to his distress:


“As to the Judge’s knowledge of fungi I can say nothing. He named a species after me which I would much rather he would not have done; for I don’t think it right so to have species when the person complimented has nothing to do with either the species, genus or order under consideration. But I can’t think he knows much about lichens when he sends spm after spm of so common a thing as L. [Lecanora] subfusca. However I hope the whole matter may [disappear].”


What seems particularly interesting is his advice to Mary Wilson:


“So far as I know anything about Miss. W. I acquit her of any [disloyalty] to America; but I expressed to her plainly any sense of the undesirablness of [resorting] to Europe.”


It seems clear from this letter that Henry Willey played an avuncular role to Mary Wilson, identifying her difficult specimens, but also somehow made aware of Mary’s increasing difficulties. In the passage just quoted, there is or seems to be the premonition that Miss Wilson was about to become estranged from Buffalo, and indeed she and Clinton would both ultimately leave town, but, as for Clinton, not until 1881 when he relinquished his position as the President of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, a position he held continuously from 1861 to 1881 (Robertson and Barcellona, 1939).


Some note must be made that there appears to have been some justification to the claims made by Tuckerman and Willey that Mary Wilson was an “excellent lichenologist.” Clinton, as these letters show, knew nothing of them in field or herbarium, and yet some doubt persists as to the basis on which to ascribe her extraordinary ability, other than through her correspondence.


In Harris’ description of the lichen collection in 1987 of the Clinton Herbarium at the Buffalo Museum of Science, he indicated that 95% of the total collection was made before 1885, when George Clinton died (Harris 1987). “Of this number about one third were collected in the Buffalo area by Clinton and Mary L. Wilson .... This very thorough collecting provides very important baseline data on the lichen flora as it existed in the 1870s. An equally intensive survey of the present day flora would give a picture of the changes over more than one hundred years.”


This data would represent the City of Buffalo and the area of the circle transcribed from a 50 mile radius from its center before the city became industrialized - a process notoriously damaging to natural lichen populations exposed to atmospheric concentrations of sulphur dioxide. Were such modern surveys to be taken, it would seem that data would be compared to data based on Mary Wilson’s collections at the Buffalo Museum of Science.


Harris indicated that in the Clinton Herbarium collections “For eastern North America much of the material comes from the herbarium of Henry Willey ...” (Harris 1987), indicating exchanges between Wilson and Willey - who was probably more of a mentor and confidante to her than Edward Tuckerman in certain ways.


In a note by Harris (1987) on the composition of the lichen collections in the Clinton Herbarium of the Buffalo Museum of Science, it was stated that one third of the specimens (totalling 2600 collected before 1885),  the “second largest block of specimens, came from the herbarium of C. Leo Lesquereux (1806-1889), noted bryologist and paleobotanist. They are all from Europe antedating his emigration to the United States. Schaerer’s Lichenes Helvetici constitute the bulk of them, probably complete up through fascicle 22, no. 550 (1847). Lesquereux was forced to leave Switzerland in 1848. In addition there are other collections from Schaerer’s herbarium, c. 50 specimens collected by Lesquereux himself, two by Agassiz and a number with no data. I would guess that Lesquereux sold the collection to Clinton when pressed for money” (Harris 1987).


As mentioned above, Tuckerman probably sent Wilson a copy, after 1872, of his

“Genera Lichenum,” which Wilson had left behind when she left Buffalo. At one time, the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science had a copy of Tuckerman’s “Genera.” In the end papers, Mary Wilson had written her name in her elegant handwriting. The book has unfortunately relatively recently been taken away from the Museum’s collections, along with the copy-book of David F. Day in which there were copies of Day’s correspondence with her after she left Buffalo for Haverhill, Massachusettes some time before 1882. It seems unlikely that the Museum would have a copy of Part One of Tuckerman’s Synopsis of 1882, mentioned by Wilson in the letter above, since by that year she had departed Buffalo for Haverhill (Day 1882).


Note that by her letter to Tuckerman of January 12, 1878, the Russell lichen collection, which had been given to her, and the Lesquereux collection had not been incorporated into the Society’s botanical collections.


When Mary mentions “My lichen list of this region reached about one hundred and sixty species, and among them I believe you found but one that was new,” it is perhaps one that was new to science, not to her list. This may perhaps be associated with Clinton’s earlier letter to Tuckerman where he pleads with him to name a new species after her - something it does not appear that Tuckerman actually did. No species with such an epithet occurs in the species lists to Parts I and II of the Synopsis.


In the Appendix (p. 131) of Tuckerman’s Synopsis, Part II, of 1888, written by Henry Willey who had seen specimens in Tuckerman’s herbarium, occurred a species “L[ecidea] glaucospora Tuckerm. herb. ad int., perhaps does not differ, except in the at length blackening thallus. On rocks, New York, Miss Wilson.” The species forms a group related to L. cyrtidia and “More material is needed for the study of these forms.” In Wilson’s lichen species list for Buffalo and vicinity, Lecidea glaucospora Tuck. is listed, and this is likely the species ‘new’ to her list.


For the first four months of 1874, Clinton wrote Tuckerman that Mary Wilson was absent and “under treatment,” being too ill to study lichens and “absent,” from Buffalo, or from the Society’s collection rooms. Clinton indicated she would be gone for “a large part of this season,” presumably the growing or collecting season, perhaps up until the end of autumn of that year. She had become ill toward the end of 1873.


When Wilson did return to work on the Buffalo Society’s collections, it would be on the shell collections, and, between 1874 and the end of 1877 she would also  be gone “with frequent & long absences of my own.“


Four years later, Mary Wilson wrote the following to Tuckerman - she was still living in the City of Buffalo in 1878:


                               78 Niagara St. Buffalo

                               12th Jan. 1878

Dear Prof. Tuckerman:

     I am indebted to you for your letter of the 8th, and its correction of the Mexican lichen, which I remember well. If your specimen is so imperfect, you should surely have all that can be sent, so I take pleasure in enclosing ours, which is very fragmentary too.

  Entomology I have never attempted, but some years ago finding that the state of my health would allow of only the most limited use of the microscope, and that it was needful that I should make a change of interest, and finding also, that by undertaking the management of a collection of "shell" that I could be of some use to our Society, I turned my attention to the Mollusca.

    But I recall with peculiar delight the days when the wonders of the Lichen world possessed me, and I cherish with great affection my collections, and among my books I prize nothing more than "Genera Lichenum" and the "Synopsis" was such a friend when I was trying to grope my way alone, not imagining ever that I ought to ask for help, that I prize it too, well worn & marked as it is.

    I am hoping from season to season for the quality of ability needful to enable me to incorporate with our Society's Lichen herbarium the collection which Mr. Russell left me, and also Lesquereux's which is now ours.

    Mrs. Russell gave me your letters to Mr. R. with the Collection; I began to look them over and found some mingling of friendly with scientific talk, and laid them aside with the feeling that I ought perhaps to inform you that they were in my hands. You were then abroad, and since with frequent & long absences of my own, I have almost forgotten about them. I will send them to you if you desire them, but otherwise I should be pleased to keep them.

    We have had no very cold weather as yet, our winters are hardly so severe as yours in Massachusetts, English Ivies flourish out of doors with us.

    My lichen list of this region reached about one hundred and sixty species, and among them I believe you found but one that was new.

   Very truly yours

     Mary L. Wilson


 Prof. Edw. Tuckerman


The specimen from Mexico was most likely one collected by Charles Mohr, who collected many specimens “mainly around Orizaba” (Harris 1987) and for whom Wilson was beginning to manage identifying his Alabama lichen specimens.


Working on the Society’s shells would, of necessity, remove her from the Herbarium, or the botanical cabinets. One of the collateral items in this arrangement is that she would also be removed from working with Clinton himself or working directly with him in a common room where all the cabinets were stored together.


Miss Wilson’s reference to Entomology perhaps is in allusion to the collections of Coleman T. Robinson, who had died in the spring of 1872. Mr. Robinson was “the original curator of conchology” (Goodyear 1994). “... he was considered by his collaborators as the originator of the BSNS, its organization being due to his initiative. His generous donations, especially in the fields of conchology and entomology, were the beginning of the present collections. He continued to hold the position of curator of conchology until his death in 1872 ...” Upon Robinson’s death, “he bequeathed [to the BSNS] the sum of $10,000, plus his scientific collections and apparatus, and his splendid scientific library containing many rare books including valuable first editions. He had a world-wide reputation as a naturalist.” (Goodyear 1994). In 1872, The New York Evening Post wrote “Such men as the Baron von Humboldt, in consideration of his [Robinson’s] attainments, were pleased to accord him their friendship, and natural science acknowledges his extended researches in her domain.”

    In 1873, Clinton delivered his annual address as President of the BSNS: “The collections bequeathed to us [by Coleman T. Robinson] embrace some valuable insects but consist mainly of shells.... They have been arranged by Mrs. George L. Squier and Miss Mary L. Wilson and will when properly incased form a most attractive portion of our cabinet.” (Robertson and Barcellona, 1939).


Note that in Peck’s publication of the fungi of western New York (Peck 1883), there is a fungus species described by Clinton, Sphaeropsis Squieriae Clinton (Reg. Rep. 28, p. 55), probably named after Mrs. Squier.


    “In the report of the Director, Augustus R. Grote, dated March 3, 1876, we find Miss Wilson still actively interested in the shell collection and endeavoring to increase the number of species represented.” “Exchanges have been effected with Mrs. Agnes Stone and Mrs. Squier through Miss Wilson’s efforts.” The report on the shell collection indicates that 6,000 shells were present, but as Robertson and Barcellona write “This claim to species is modified in the report for 1877, the number being placed at 5,000. These Miss Wilson had been arranging in the cabinet, many of the smaller shells having been placed in glass tubes and labeled in accordance with the method adopted by the Smithsonian Institution” (quotes by Robertson and Barcellona 1939). “The story as told by Mr. Grote in his report of February 13, 1878, is much the same. Miss Wilson had completed the general arrangement of the Robinson Collection in the cabinet.”


Clinton died on September 7, 1885, while walking and making botanical observations in the Albany of his childhood, after having left Buffalo. He died in the Rural Cemetary in Albany. The obituary published in the New York Times (September 8, 1885) stated that Clinton was living with his wife in a boarding house in Albany.  The Times reported that “two or three years ago he had a slight stroke of paralysis and his sudden death is attributed to apoplexy” (i.e., stroke). His two sons in Buffalo were expected to come to Albany to retrieve Clinton’s body and inter him in Buffalo. Mrs. Clinton was also to accompany them. Could the source of Clinton’s distress in April of 1874 be attributed to stroke, or some other event, such as the loss of a child?


A few months previous to Clinton’s death in Albany, Mary Wilson again wrote to Tuckerman. She was collecting in Florida, far away from Buffalo and had been for some time, apparently leaving Haverhill, Massachusetts where she resided after leaving Buffalo at or near the same time Clinton did. She indicated she would be in Florida for some years in the future. This was actually the beginning of years of wandering in the southern states and Europe, which puts one in mind of Willey’s advice to Miss Wilson, in the letter of June 29, 1874 mentioned above.


                                   [Is?] Land Fla.  [=IsLand?]

                                      June 5: /[18]85.


Dear Dr. Tuckerman,

  I am very sorry that you have been so ill, and I hope that you are now quite well again.

  I would, on no account, have you ever taxed to determine Lichens for me. You must know how well I have [fared?] for ... since I have been here. I had when I came 81 of Austins species collected in Florida, besides as many more sub-tropical specimens from other sources. What I have not been well able myself to decide on I have sent to Mr. Sprague, as you have known. He is so much better able that I to select what may be ... & prepare it for your examination, that I think the arrangement of this past year has been the best possible under all the circumstances. Mr. Sprague has been evidently pleased to get things from here. You know what a good correspondent he is, and I have not only enjoyed my collecting but has observations & pleasure over what has been sent. Mr. Higginson  has been somewhat ... thereby also, for I have had duplicates to spare for him, too, sometimes. I have exceedingly enjoyed looking for Lichens in Florida, though very much baffled often because nothing is at hand, and I have had difficulties in getting to good places. The region is a rich one I believe, but I shall carry away less than I ought to. I have not found more than 120 good determinable species.

    The season in which I can collect here is brief: Heat, snakes & insects must ever deter me here usually after ...   When I shall leave here next October, I shall send Mr. Sprague a List of all I have collected, and should it seem interesting then, and of account, I will send you a copy also.

    There has been a narrow strip of land at the river bordered on one side by a Cypress swamp, where I could easily collect, and I think I have exhausted that place, but it is the only spot of which I can say so much. I found Biatora Floridana [underlined] abundantly incrusting decaying palms near the ground. While Arthonia ... spora & Cal. [Calicium] subtile were equally common on live palms. Biatoria choloma, [Mart.?]... & H. [=Heterothecium] Augustini always abounded on live or dead palm leaves. Parmelia perlata & P. leucochlora also common on live oaks. Acolium formicum also, & a Thelotrema which seems not to be in your Synopsis as well as The. subtile & Graphis substriatula on live oak.

    But much more could be said of these plants in their haunts, and the zest with which I am led to seek for them heightens all charms of woods & scenery. No one here seems to have  found Florida woods so attractive & beautiful who has not had the Lichens to look for.

    Probably I shall be obliged to remain much of the time in Florida for a few years to come, and I shall hope to collect in various places. Next winter will probably be passed in St. Augustine.

    Your truly & gratefully,

       Mary L. Wilson


In Tuckerman’s previous letter to George Clinton (15 Dec. 1866), Tuckerman wrote advice to the novice collector, hence, to Mary Wilson:    “As to Florida, if the collector goes to the extreme South, or to the Keys, everything lichenose will be worthy of note, the vegetation there touching that of Cuba - and if he will merely do up such species in scraps of paper & keep them in a bag or box, without pressing, they can all be made right, and turned to account, when he returns.

    The North West of Florida is rather better known, but he will do well to collect, if he finds it convenient.”


Charles James Sprague (1823-1903) was a correspondent of Tuckerman’s and some of his letters are preserved in the Tuckerman Botanical Papers, 1816-1886, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College, Massachusetts. He was the son of the New England poet Charles Sprague (1791-1875), who worked for the State and Globe Bank for 45 years, hence referred to as the “Banker Poet of Boston.” His son C. J. Sprague  became Curator of botany at the Boston Society of Natural History (“Charles Sprague (poet)” Wikipedia, viewed March 6, 2013).  C.J. Sprague, the son, wrote the “Lichens of Essex County, Massachusetts” [Title from caption, published in “The Flora of Essex County,” by John Robinson, Essex Institute, 1880, (lichens) p. 149-155, the list for lichens produced by Sprague for the publication by Robinson. Sprague in 1879 also produced “The spores of the lichens of the United States, figured by Charles J. Sprague;  a text of 104 pages.


Storrow Higginson was a correspondent of Tuckerman’s and some of his letters to Tuckerman are preserved at Amherst College in the Tuckerman Botanical Papers. “There is a set of Mary Wilson’s Florida collections in the bound herbarium of Storrow Higginson [at the New York Botanical Garden]” (pers com. Richard Harris, 2013).


Edward Tuckerman died on March 15th, 1886, less than a year after Mary Wilson wrote this last letter to him. Part II of the Synopsis was finished and submitted to the printer by Henry Willey in 1888 (note in Preface): “I give his manuscript just as left by him.”.

  In the Synopsis of the North American Lichens: Part II (1888), Tuckerman wrote under Graphis leucopepla, Tuckerm. (p. 126)  Trees, Florida, Miss Mary L. Wilson.” Under Graphis scolecitis, Tuckerm. (p. 125) “Florida, Miss Wilson.” Under Buellia Schaereri, De Not. p. 98, “Western New York, Miss Mary L. Wilson.” Buellia dialytia (Nyl.) Tuck. p. 96, “Hemlock bark, Western New York, Miss Mary L. Wilson. Biatora decipiens (Ehrh.) Fr., p. 13, “Niagara Falls, Miss Mary L. Wilson.” There is also Platygrapha phlyctella Nyl., “On bark, Florida, Miss Wilson, in herb. Tuckerm” a note by Willey in the Appendix to the 1888 Synopsis.


cf. Miss Biddlecome, Ohio. p. 45, Biatora inundata Fr.; also Ohio Cladonia mecilenta (Ehrh.) Hoffm. in Part. I p. 254.  Cladonia squamosa, Ohio p. 246. Also Cladonia delicata, Ohio. p. 247. Pertusaria leioplaca Ohio p. 215. Lecanora tartarea p. 196 Ohio.


part I p. 210 Rinodina milliaria, “Western New York, Miss Wilson.”


Dr. J. Porter; Clinton Collema limosum “New York, Clinton.” p. 150.

Collema crispum Ohio p. 150 Miss. Biddlecome.





I would like to thank Nick Harby of the Arthur & Kriebel Herbaria, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, PurdueUniversity, for calling my attention to the Clinton donation in the Arthur and Kriebel Herbaria.  Richard Zander provided essential computer and communications services for which I am very grateful.




Agassiz, L. 1850. Lake Superior: Its Physical Character, Vegetation, and Animals, Compared with Those of Other and SImilar Regions. Gould, Kendall and Lincoln. Boston.


Culberson, W. L., ed. Reprint 1964. 2 Vols. The Collected Lichenological Papers of Edward Tuckerman. Cramer. Weinheim. Wheldon & Wesley, Ltd. New York.


Day, David F. 1882. The Plants of Buffalo and Its Vicinity. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Vol. 4, April 1882, pp. 65-152.


Doodell,  H. H. 1886. see citation under Tyler, below.


Dupree, A. Hunter. 1959. Asa Gray 1810-1888. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.


Eckel, P. M. & N. Harby. 2011. Correspondence of John Hussey (1831–1888) and George William Clinton (1807–1885). Notes on the early herbarium of Purdue University. Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden Web site:


Ewan, Joseph. 1952. Frederick Pursh, 1774-1820, and His Botanical Associates. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 96(5), Oct. 15: pp. 599-628.


Ewan, Joseph A., and Nesta Ewan. 1981. Biographical dictionary of Rocky Mountain naturalists. Regnum Vegetabile 107:1-253.


Farlow, W. G. 1887. Memoir of Edward Tuckerman. 1817-1886, “Read before the National Academy, April, 1887.”  National Academy of Sciences. pp. 17-28.


Fink, Bruce. 1904. Two Centuries of North American Lichenology. Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science. II: pp. 11-38.


Fink, Bruce. 1906. Edward Tuckerman - a brief summary of his work. The Bryologist Vol. IX(1) pp 1-2.


Fink, Bruce. 1914. Henry Willey, - a Memoir. Mycologia vol. VI (2) pp. 49-53.


Goodyear, George F. 1994. Society and Museum. A History of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 1861-1993 and the Buffalo Museum of Science 1928-1993. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences Vol. 34.


Gray, Asa. 1863. Enumeration of the species of Plants collected by Dr. C. C. Parry, and Messrs. Elihu Hall and J. P. Harbour, during the Summer and Autumn of 1862, on and near the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Territory, lat. 39* - 41*.

Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Vol. 15(1863): pp. 55-80.


Gray, Asa. 1886. Edward Tuckerman. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, new series xiii., 539: pp. 491-498.


Harris, Richard C. 1987. The lichen collection of the Clinton Herbarium, the Buffalo Museum of Science (BUF). Evansia pp. 46-48.


Harvard University Herbaria. 2002. Francis Boott (1792-1863) Papers. pp. 2. (http://www.huh.harvard,edu/libraries/archives/BOOTT.html), viewed Nov. 8, 2011.


Peck, Charles Horton. 1883. Fungi. in Day, David F. The Plants of Buffalo and its Vicinity - Cryptogamae. Vol. 4 (4) Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Buffalo. pp. 174-235.


Robertson, Imogene C. and Edmere C. Barcellona, eds. 1939. Seventy-five Years. A History of The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 1861-1936. Ed. 2. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Buffalo. 1939.


Thomson, J. W. 1965. review of “The collected Lichenological Papers of Edward Tuckerman. Volume I by Edward Tuckerman. The Bryologist Vol. 68(1):134-135.


Tuckerman, Edward. 1843. 8vo. Pp. 21 [privately published, Gray 1886]. Enumeratio methodica Caricum quarundam. Species recensuit et secundum habitum pro viribus disponere tentavit Eduardus Tuckerman. Schenectady, 1843.


Tuckerman, Edward. 1849. Observations on American species of the genus Potamogeton, Linn. American Journal of Science and Arts. VII, N.S., pp. 347-360.


Tuckerman, Edward. 1858-9. Supplement to an Enumeration of North American Lichenes. Am. Jour. Sci. & Asts. XXV, N.S., 422-430, May, 1858, and XXVIII, 200-206, Sept. 1859 (Fowler 1887).


Tuckerman, Edward. 1866. Lichens of California, Oregon, and the Rocky Mountains; So Far as Yet Known. J. S. and C. Adams. Amherst.


Tyler, Prof. 1886. Edward Tuckerman. I. Biographical Sketch. Botanical Gazette. Vol. II(4): pp. 73-74.  Note that the author of this paper was actually H. H. Doodell (Culberson 1964).


Weber, William A. 1997. King of Colorado Botany, Charles Christopher Parry, 1823-1890. University Press of Colorado.


Willey, H. 1886. Edward Tuckerman. II. Bibliographical Sketch. Botanical Gazette Vol. II(4):pp. 74-78. “A sketch of Tuckerman’s life, the first two pages of which are not written by Mr. Willey” (Fink 1914). Nor were they written by Tyler (see Tyler citation above), but by H. H. Doodell (Culberson 1864). Note also the addenda by Willey: “Tuckerman bibliography.” Botanical Gazette Vol.11(7) July 1886: p. 182.



The proper citation of this electronic publication is:


"Eckel, P. M. 2012. Correspondence of Edward Tuckerman and G. W. Clinton. Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden Web site. [and lastly cite the date you actually read the publication]."