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

(Updated August 5, 2003)
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The Correspondence of

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

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)





Vol. 10 no. 116 [A 206 by the page]

Mobile February 23d 1874 Hon. Judge G. W. Clinton

My dear Sir!


The determinations of my smal collection of Hepaticae made in Mexico have finally arrived a few days ago. According to my promise I send to you by to days mail a set of the same; The numbers on the cards correspond with those of the enclosed labels. It gives me much pleasure to be by this enabled to present you your Society this last and for such a long series of years so much neglected part of my collections of mexican cryptogams.


Did you ever hear any thing of the mexic. Glumaceae. You had the kindness to place for me in the hands of the late Prof. Torrey?


Hoping that these lines will find you in the enjoyment of good health. I remain wth the sincere wishes for your welfare and happiness as ever


Your friend

Carl Mohr


Recd' March 2.


[ On February 26, 1874, Elizabeth Atwater of Chicago, Illinois wrote to George Clinton: "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."].


Vol. 10 no. 146 [A 157]


Mobile May 20th, 1874 Hon. G. W. Clinton,

Esteemed friend!


By this I come to invoke your aid in the determination of the enclosed peculiar plant. The anatomical structure of its stem and leave as I can make it out would place it amongst the Lycopodiaceae, but on the other hand we have no plant of that order with which it might be at all compared with. The absence of a creeping primary stem lets me sometimes doubt and leds [sic] me to think to place it amongst the mosses. The leaves are in a moistened state diverging patent. Organs of fructification I could not find. ‑ I remain very truly



Chas. Mohr


P.S. The plant was sent from Baton rouge [sic] La. Rec'd May 26.



Vol. 10 no. 161 [A 131, 132, 133, 134 one sheet]

[embossment: capitol and the word "Congress"] Hon. G. W. Clinton.  Mobile May 10th. 1874.

My very dear friend!


It was indeed an hour of joy to me which brought me your kind letter. I was gladdened to the bottom of my heart to find myself still remembered by you and to perceive, that you have overcome the burden of your sufferings, that you have gained strength to raise yourself above the same and to turn anew your affections to those who delight in and cherish your respect and friendship. ‑ My deepest sympathies have been always with you; sometimes I feeled [sic] much grieved that I had to miss your kind and intresting communications which have always been to me the messengers of joy and pleasure; So much needed when I feel myself weary despondent and discouraged upon my walk of life. ‑ On the treshold [sic] of the fifth decade of my years I find myself deprived of that firmess and that placid security of ones existence, which one suppose to have been achieved at this period of life after the toils and cares of many years; I feel myself wavering under the adverse currents which affect injuriously almost every member of this business community more or less. This feeling of insecurity about not only mine but of that of those dependent upon me in my state of shattered health wheighs [sic] heavily upon me and sapps all the pleasures of existence.


Under circumstances like these I have not been able to do anything in the way of botanical collections. Attending to my business without the help of an assistant all chances to resume my health giving rambles in our [piny?] woods are cut off.


I intend to work up my notes upon the bryologies of the Gulf region for publication, but have to defer it to other more propitious times; to make the same as complete and of the value I wished them to be a trip to the Cypress forests of Louisiana and an exploration of the rocky & hilly country bordering the tide water region of this coast I deemed as absolutely necessary to verify observations, fill up gapes [sic] and remove doubts about new species in getting better and more specimens.


Last year I did receive a nice collection of mosses from a kind friend in Oregon, which intrested me deeply; the species new to me I handed over to my kind correspondent in Halle, Dr. C. Mueller who described two species amongst the same new  to science, he send me his manuscript of the descriptions with the request to publish the same in one of our scientific journals with some introductory remarks of my own. This request did give rise to my additions to the Bryologie of the U.S. the first no, of which notes on the bryologie of Oregon appeared in the January No. of the Bulletin of the Torry [sic] Club, N.Y. ‑ In the february No you will find the description of the beautiful Bartramia (Philonotis) Mohriana C. M. and a smal [sic] but intresting Hypnum of this region.


I hope to be able to make up a smal package of Mexic. Mosses, species newly described by Muller since I send you the first as also a few other novellitys [sic], or raritys from our South. The Spring flora is over, continued wet and cool weather had spoiled much of its wonted beauty, and cut the time of their splendor of our roses, Verbenas etc. a very short; Summer since the last 5 days has visited us and we enjoy at present moment


82* ‑ in the shade. Hoping sincerly to be favored soon again with good news from you I remain with the best wishes for your welfare and happiness,


as ever Yours

C. Mohr


[Written in the margin "Please give my best respects to Miss WIlson.]

[Clinton's handwriting at the end:  "C. Mohr, Mobile, May 10, 1874, ans'd"]

 In 1874, Carl Mueller of Halle published Trichostomum clintoni (now ‘clintonii’)  in Linnaea, Vol. 38, on page 636. The species was from Mohr’s Mexican collections, and not from Oregon.   Mueller gave C. Mohr as the author, but most likely the description of this moss, and the Latin translation were prepared by Mueller. It is most likely, however, that Mohr suggested to Mueller the epithet in honor of G. W. Clinton. Part of the protologue is as follows “Patria. Mexico, in terra nuda locis siccis planitiei Cordovae et prope Huatusco in arboribus sylvestribus regionis Quercuum, 3000-5000 pedes altum: C. Mohr.” [Patria [i.e. type locality] Mexico, on naked soil in dry places of the plain of Cordova and near Huatusco in forest trees of the region of Oaks, 3000-5000 feet high: C. Mohr.] The species has since been synonymized with an already existing species: Oxystegus tenuirostris var. tenuirostris by R. H. Zander, former Curator of the Clinton Herbarium, Buffalo, in 1994, in the Moss Flora of Mexico. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 69:233-235.

    Presently in the Clinton Herbarium there is (or was) a specimen that is probably an isotype. The specimen is from Charles Mohr and was collected in Cordova Mexico, on September 1857. It is annotated on the label as “Trichostomum clintonii” and the ‘original name,’ as far as the label is concerned, was Didymodon clintonii, a species described by Coe Finch Austin, but which is an entirely different plant (Gymnostomum aeruginosum). Austin’s plants were from the United States. Other isotypes of Trichostomum clintonii exist at the British Museum and the New York Botanical Garden.


Vol. 10 no. 197 [A 57, 58, 59 one sheet]

[embossment the Capitol and the word "Congress"]

Mobile November [17?] 1874


My dear friend!


I have latly [sic] employed the few hours I have to spare for the systematic study of the structure of the leaves of the different tribes and many generas of the mosses; By this I have come across the egreggious [sic] blunder I made in suspecting the moss of which I did send you sprig a few months ago, to be a Lycopod. I am sure now that it belongs to Polytrichum gracile Menz. [male sign = the perigoniophore of a dioicous moss].


I most sincerely hope, that these lines will find you in good health and I shall be glad indeed if I receive that good news from yourself. ‑


I have been going on pretty well during the fall, the unclouded skies and even temperatures prevailing in this region during the last 3 months have given me a respite from the attacks of my old ills; It is however different now, since clouds, and rains and autumnal storms have visited as I had to succumb again. ‑ I often revel in my imagination in the remembrance of the perpetual spring in the plateaus of the mexican Andes, where rheumatism is as unknown as frosts and snow.


Being completely cut off from all chances of botanizing, I still keep

up a livly intrest particular in mosses. I have latly received a collection of about 180 species of Plants from the Gila river, south eastern California [N. Mex.?] I am sorry to say only in single and those often very poor of each species. ‑ I have been able to make out most of the genera and some of the species with the aid of the diff. [=different?] botanical reports on my hands, but for the description I find particularly in the mex. B. Rep. [Mexican Boundary Report] constantly reference to Grays plantae Wrightianae and Torrys Pl. fendlerianae; Could you procure the loan for me of both or the one or the other of those publications? If so I would return the same soon in the best order. ‑


I have received latly the publication containing the descriptions of my Musci Mexican. new to science by Dr. K. Mitten [?]. You can imagine how much pleasure I did derive to study the same over with this aid before me. ‑   In the hope to receive of you soon the news of your happiness and welfare and begging you to remember me kindly to the esteemed Miss M. Wilson I remain as ever


Yours truly

C. Mohr


Rec'd Nov. 21.


[Gray, A. 1852 Plantae wrightianae texano‑neo‑mexicanae: an account of a collection of plants made by Charles Wright, A. M., in an expedition from Texas to New Mexico, in the summer and autumn of 1849, with critical notices and characters of other new or interesting pl. Washington.


Not Torrey but rather Gray, A. 1849. Plantae fendlerianae novi‑mexicanae: An account of a collection of plants made chiefly in the vicinity of Santa Fe, New Mexico, by August Fendler, with descriptions of new species, critical remarks, and characters of other undescribed or little known plants from surrounding regions. Mem. American Acad. n. ser. 4:1‑116.


Full Title: (Title Page to) Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Made Under The Direction of the Secretary of the Interior, By William H. Emory, Major First Cavalry And United States Commissioner ... Washington: Cornelius Wendell, Printer. 1857. House of Representatives, 34th Congress, 1st Session. Ex. Doc. No. 135. (Two volumes.) The botanical

and zoological information is published in the second volume.]