Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Merrill, Elmer Drew (United States 1876-1956)
botany, floristics, science administration

Photo courtesy of the Archives of
The New York Botanical Garden.
Merrill's status during his lifetime is well relayed by the final words of his ANB entry: "In his day Merrill was one of the most highly regarded botanical taxonomists in the world. He procured more than 1 million specimens for the botanical collections under his administration and published more than 500 botanical treatises. His pioneering contributions to the classification of Oriental and Oceanic flora coupled with his activities as an administrator, author, builder of botanical collections, editor, organizer, and researcher earned for him an international reputation." The list of Merrill's involvements and honors given below may be taken as a sampling of his activities only.

Life Chronology

--born in East Auburn, Maine, on 15 October 1876.
--1898: B.S., University of Maine
--1899-1902: assistant, U. S. Department of Agriculture
--1900-1901: studies medicine at George Washington University
--1902-1923: serves as USDA botanist and in other government and teaching capacities in the Philippines, including directing its Bureau of Science (1919-1923)
--1904: M.S., University of Maine
--1912: publishes his A Flora of Manila
--1922-1926: publishes his An Enumeration of Philippine Flowering Plants, in four volumes
--1923: elected to the National Academy of Sciences
--1923-1929: dean of the college of agriculture and director of the agricultural experiment station, University of California, Berkeley
--1925: honorary Sc.D., University of Maine
--1930-1935: professor of botany, Columbia University; director of the New York Botanic Garden
--1931: founds the journal Britonnia (serves as editor, 1931-1935); acting president, A. A. A. S.
--1934: president, Botanical Society of America
--1935: made Arnold professor of botany at Harvard University
--1935-1946: director of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University
--1936, 1950: president of the section of nomenclature, International Botanical Congress
--1938: publishes his Bibliography of Eastern Asiatic Botany, with E. H. Walker
--1945: publishes his Plant Life of the Pacific World
--1946: president, American Society of Plant Taxonomists
--1946-1948: Arnold professor of botany emeritus, Harvard University
--1954: publishes "The Botany of Cook's Voyages and Its Unexpected Significance in Relation to Anthropology, Biogeography, and History" in Chronica Botanica
--dies at Forest Hills, Massachusetts, on 25 February 1956.

For Additional Information, See:

--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), Vol. 32 (1958).
--American National Biography, Vol. 15 (1999).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 15 (1978).
--Taxon, Vol. 6(4) (1957): 89-101.
--Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Vol. 85(2) (1956): 181-188.
--Science, Vol. 123(3202) (1956): 831-832.
--Philippine Journal of Science, Vol. 85(2) (1956): 181-188.

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

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