Correspondence of Elizabeth Atwater and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
August 6, 2003
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The Correspondence of

Elizabeth Atwater (1812‑1878) and

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)


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




Vol. 10 no. 115 ["A 208" no accounting for 213 going to 208 in these numbers]


Clifton House Chicago

Feb. 26th 1874 Hon. G. W. Clinton,

Dr. Sir,


I am rejoiced if my feeble efforts in collecting plants proved a source of any gratification to you. Was there one plant which you had not met with?


Your kind note of Jan 24th came to me acceptably. Serious indisposition has precluded an earlier response. I was surprised to learn that Miss Wilson was losing her interest in the Academy. I sincerely trust that ill health was not the cause. It seemed that her enthusiasm would be adequate to overcoming all obstacles.


How does this treacherous weather effect you? My husband seriously regrets that we did not return to California for the winter. My physician advises an immediate departure for the South, whither we purpose going in a few days.


A thousand thanks to you Sir for having so kindly named a large portion of my plants. I do hope you may sometime go to California and see them in all their freshness and beauty. I forwarded a small collection to your friend Dr. Mohr, who is very enthusiastic over them, having duplicates of only three plants of those wh. I sent. Dr. M. in a recent letter says ~I hope to be able to give, by the next spring publicity to my observations upon the biological flora of the Gulf region, and the geographical distribution of mosses in the southern U.S. in general, which to the bryologist has remained, to this day almost a terra incognita". I may have mentioned this to you. In his last letter he expresses a fear that other imperative duties will prohibit for the present the realisation of this hope.


I have also sent a very few plants to Mr. Ch. H. Peck, Albany.


Mr. Atwater joins me in kindest regards to you, and sincere wishes for your welfare.


Believe me ‑ Very respectfully yours

Elisabeth E. Atwater.

My permanent address is care [T. G.?] Atwater No. 166 Washington St.

Rec'd Feb. 28. 


[This is Mrs. Atwater's last letter to George Clinton.


In the 27th Annual Report on the State Museum of Natural History (Senate Document no. 102) for 1874, in the Report of the Botanist (Charles Peck), Mrs. E. E. Atwater of Chicago, Illinois is reported (p. 85) to have contributed to the State Cabinet  9 specimens: Viola lanceolata L., V. primulaefolia L., V. cucullata L., Argemone mexicana L., Pinguicula pumila Mx., Gelsemium sempervirens Ait., Polypodium incanum Sw., Apsidium patens Sw., Evernia vulpine Wulf.


Mrs. Atwater’s reference to the “Academy” is a mistake for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.]





[On August 26, 1878, Charles Mohr wrote to Clinton the following:

"My dear friend!

Many thanks for the Buffalo Courier of 25th [?] inst., which bring to me the sad news of the death of Mrs. E. Atwater. With her demise indeed a sunbeam has gone, that warmed and enjoyed the many friends whom she ever tried to please and did give occasion, to partake in the joys that filled her heart in her enthusiasm for all the beautiful and true in nature."].