Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Torrey, John (United States 1796-1873)
botany, floristics

Though Torrey began his professional career as a doctor, he soon allowed himself to be increasingly diverted by the natural sciences, especially botanical subjects. Torrey was one of the fathers of American botany, giving attention both to the philosophy of classification and the floristic description of collections of specimens arriving from various points to the west. Torrey's personal herbarium was enormous; he eventually donated it to Columbia College (it became the nucleus for the New York Botanical Garden's collection). He was also an important mentor to younger workers, especially Asa Gray, and is usually credited with being a central figure in the professionalization of botany in nineteenth century America.

Life Chronology

--born in New York City, on 15 August 1796.
--1818: M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York; begins medical practice
--1822-1855: professor of chemistry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons
--1823: A.M. (honorary), Yale University
--1824: publishes his A Flora of the Northern and Middle Sections of the United States
--1824-1826: president, Lyceum of Natural History, New York
--1824-1827: professor of chemistry, geology and mineralogy at the U.S. Military Academy
--1830s: begins collaboration with Asa Gray
--1831: publishes an American edition of John Lindley's An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany
--1830-1854: part-time professor of chemistry and natural history at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University)
--1836: appointed botanist of New York State
--1838: president, Lyceum of Natural History, New York
--1838-1843: publishes his A Flora of North America, with Asa Gray
--1843: publishes his A Flora of the State of New York
--1845: LL.D. (honorary), Amherst College
--1854-1873: assayer, U. S. Assay Office in New York
--1855: president, American Association for the Advancement of Science
--1856: made a trustee of Columbia College
--1860: made emeritus professor of chemistry and botany at Columbia College; donates his herbarium to the college
--1863: becomes an incorporating member of the National Academy of Sciences
--dies at New York City, on 10 March 1873.

For Additional Information, See:

--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), Vol. 1 (1877).
--American National Biography, Vol. 21 (1999).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 6 (1892).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 13 (1976).
--Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists (1997).
--Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 95(6) (1968): 515-645.
--John Torrey; A Story of North American Botany (1942).

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

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