Correspondence of Charles Mohr and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
July 22, 2003
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The Correspondence of

Charles (Carl) Theodore Mohr (1824‑1901) and

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)





[An introduction to the Mohr‑Clinton correspondence should begin with the man who was the stimulus for their collaboration: Leo Lesquereux, of Columbus, Ohio, who knew Mohr when both lived in Louisville, Kentucky. There is a delightful roughhouse humor in Lesquereux' treatment of his friends:]


Vol. 4 No. 120[G 100]

Columbus O.April 6th [18]67 Hon. G. W. Clinton

My honorable dear friend


A few days ago I got a letter from a friend, a German botanist Dr. Carl Mohr living at Mobile, Ala. to whom I had written for specimens and original autograph label for your herbarium. He says: "It gives me much pleasure indeed to be enabled to comply with the wishes of your friend. Had I received your letter somewhat sooner, I should have sent more specimens with autographs of collectors, particularly of Gramineae and Cypereae; I divided with a friend of mine all I had to spare of these orders. The Compositae have been so foully dealt with by worms that out of the whole collection but few good specimens could be saved. Should Juge Clinton desire to get some southern plants, I can send him most of what Mobile affords. He could do me another good turn for it. I desire to make a complete collection of Medical plants of the U.S. &c, &c and would need many species from the north."


That worm bitten herbarium of which he speaks is Riddel's of New Olleans [sic]. He got it for a song and wrote me about his good luck and thus I was able to know where to plant a faucet for draining in your favor. I think that you would do well to correspond with Mr. Mohr. He is a clever scientific German, Geologist and botanist and Druggist. He is kind, obliging and reliable. It would be a good opportunity for you to get Southern species. But if you do not like to begin with him let me know and I will glue him to E. Hall.


This package comes by express. I have not opened it though it cost me $1.75 If its contents are worth the amt your museum can afford to pay. If not I will gladly pay this small amount for the pleasure it affords me to be of some use to you.


I leave here on Monday next and am crowded with retarded work, an overloaded big ass! Have you never seen any such one. If you write me adress care of A. H. Worthen. Springfield Illsto your

Sincere friend

L. Lesquereux

Recd. Ap. 10 ansd & wrote to Dr. Mohr


[Riddell, John Leonard (1807‑1865) has a few specimens from Illinois at the Smithsonian Institution (US); specimens from Louisiana and Ohio are distributed today in various herbaria, sadly, none seem to derive from the Mohr Herbarium at the University of Alabama (see introduction to the correspondence). There are general collections of Riddell's at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and three sets in Britain, at the British Museum in London, at Kew, and the University of Manchester (Vegter, I. Hettie. 1983. Index Herbariorum Part II (5) "Collectors 'N‑R'", Regnum Vegetabile vol. 109, Utrecht, Netherlands. Lesquereux' letter dates from 1867, two years after Riddell's death. Note that there is a specimen of moss in the Smithsonian Institute that indicates that Mohr had visited Niagara Falls, New York in 1866 - a village not far north of Buffalo, where Clinton lived:


Orthotrichum anomalum: USA: Niagara Falls, N.Y. Charles Mohr, Coll. July 1, 1866, herbarium of Charles Mohr, presented in 1901, "ad saxas calcareas," c. fr. (US).


Note also that this label indicates that Mohrís herbarium was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1901, the year of his death. It was the Smithsonian that published his Alabama flora.



Vol.4 no. 155 [G 65]

Mobile, April 30, 1867 G. W. Clinton Esq

Buffalo, N.Y.

Most esteemed Sir!


It was with great pleasure that I received your kind letter of 10th inst.


I am very glad to perceive that the plants with the autographic labels of southern botanists have pleased you. I feel really thankful to our friend Prof. Lesquereaux, that he has given me the opportunity to correspond with you upon botanical subjects, and most gladly I avail myself of your kind offer to assist me in my collection of the useful & medical plants of the North Am. flora. The collections I made ca. 12 years ago in the North have suffered greatly, and to be at all able to carry out my object I must appeal for aid to some friend of the science residing in that section of the country.


In return I can offer with the greatest pleasure series of good specimens of plants of lower and central Ala. particularly regarded are in my collections the Graminea & Cyperacea. As the dutys of my calling leave me but few nocturnal hours for my botanical pursuits, I must ask the indulgence of my friends, not to get impatient when they find me to tardy in making good my promises. I try to make them good in as short a time as my circumstances will permit.

Encouraged by your kind letter I send you ... list. Please let me know after your leisure, those species wich neither your collection nor your locality afford. As I have adopted a pretty large size for the sheets of the herbarium, great many of the herbaceous plants can be taken in full size.


I presume that I have to thank you for the reports on the museum of the University of New York. I have perused the same with the greatest interest, giving me a new promise of the great progress of natural science in these my adopted country. Particularly interesting and truly gratifying to me are these evidences of progress, as I have been during the long 4 years of the late war shut out from all communication with the world and lately ignorant of that, what was going on in the realms of science.


Hoping to be favored soon again with your kind communication

I remain most respectfully



Charles Mohr

Recd May 7