Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Praeger, Robert Lloyd (Ireland 1865-1953)
Irish botany & natural history

For many years Praeger was "Mr. Irish Natural History" in his homeland. His early engineering studies introduced him to geological investigations and from that starting point he moved on to botany and horticulture. His work as a librarian for thirty years (he eventually became director of the National Library) advanced his cause, giving him access to related literatures and allowing him enough off-time to feed a prodigious appetite for botanical collecting in the field. As an offshoot of his gardening interests Praeger became an expert on the genera Sedum (stonecrops) and Sempervivum (houseleeks), each of which he successfully monographed. His combined literary knowledge, many experiences in the field, and technical expertise sustained a long and successful series of books and periodical articles exploring the natural history of Ireland after he "retired" in 1923. Praeger was also a central figure in the professionalization of natural history in Ireland; he was a co-founder of the Geographical Society of Ireland, the founder of the Irish Field Club Union, and the co-founder of The Irish Naturalist, and served in a number of official capacities in societies and organizations both within and outside of Ireland.

Life Chronology

--born in Holywood, co. Down, Ireland, on 25 August 1865.
--1876-1882: attends Royal Belfast Academical Institution
--1885: B.A., Queen's College, Belfast
--1886: B.Eng., Queen's College
--1886-1888: works as harbor engineer
--1892: co-founds The Irish Naturalist with G. H. Carpenter
--1893-1920: works as librarian at the National Library, Dublin
--1895: founds the Irish Field Club Union
--1901: publishes his Irish Topographical Botany
--1907: organizes survey of Lambay Island
--1911-1915: heads the Clare Island Survey
--1920: made director of the National Library; retires in 1923
--1920s: botanical trips to the Canary Islands, Madeira, the Balkans, and the Alps
--1931-1934: president, Royal Irish Academy
--1932: publishes his An Account of the Sempervivum Group
--1934: publishes his The Botanist in Ireland; co-founds the Geographical Society of Ireland
--1937: publishes his The Way I Went
--1940: receives the gold medal of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland
--1949-1950: president, Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland
--1950: publishes his A Natural History of Ireland, A Sketch of Its Flora and Fauna
--1952: vice-president of the botany and geography sections at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
--dies at Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 5 May 1953.

For Additional Information, See:

--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 45 (2004).
--The Encyclopedia of Ireland (2003).
--Robert Lloyd Praeger: The Life of a Naturalist (1998).
--Floreat Hibernia: A Bio-Bibliography of Robert Lloyd Praeger, 1865-1953 (1985).
--The Geographical Journal, Vol. 119(3) (1953): 368-369.
--Irish Naturalists' Journal, Vol. 11(6) (1954): 172-175.

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

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