Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Harshberger, John William (United States 1869-1929)
botany, phytogeography, conservation

Apart from occasional trips out of the country to collect specimens, Harshberger spent his entire life in the Philadelphia area, including a long-term association with the University of Pennsylvania, first as a student, and then as faculty member. Industrious and with catholic interests, he worked in the areas of mycology, economic botany, phytogeography, phytopathology, conservation, ecology, and floristics. His most important scientific work was probably his Phytogeographic Survey of North America, published in 1911, but his most influential and best known study is his Vegetation of the New Jersey Pine-Barrens, which not only described the area in an educated layperson-accessible fashion, but developed a model of the environment's ecological evolution and brought attention to it in conservation terms.

Life Chronology

--born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 1 January 1869.
--1892: B.S., University of Pennsylvania
--1893: publishes his Maize: A Botanical and Economic Study
--1890: student at Harvard University
--1892-1907: instructor in botany, biology and zoology, University of Pennsylvania
--1893: Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
--1896: botanical trip to Mexico
--1903-1908: summer head of nature studies, Pocono Pines Assembly
--1904-1906: lectures in farmers' institutions around Pennsylvania
--1907-1911: assistant professor of botany, University of Pennsylvania
--1911: made professor of botany, University of Pennsylvania
--1911: publishes his Phytogeographic Survey of North America
--1913-1922: head of ecology studies, Marine Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor
--1914-1915: head of botany studies, Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
--1916: publishes his The Vegetation of the New Jersey Pine-barrens
--1917: publishes his A Textbook of Mycology and Plant Pathology
--1927: botanical trip to South America
--dies at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 27 April 1929.

For Additional Information, See:

--American National Biography, Vol. 10 (1999).
--Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 8 (1932).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 21 (1931).
--Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists (1997).
--Ecology, Vol. 11(2) (1930): 443-444.
--Bartonia, No. 11 (1929): 51-55.
--The Life and Work of John W. Harshberger, Ph.D.: An Autobiography (1928).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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