Alice Eastwood

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Alice Eastwood
Born January 19, 1859
Toronto, Canada
Died October 30, 1953 (aged 93–94)
San Francisco, California, United States
Resting place Toronto[1]
Fields Botany
Institutions
Author abbrev. (botany) Eastw.

Alice Eastwood (January 19, 1859 - October 30, 1953) was a Canadian American botanist. She is credited with building the botanical collection at the California Academy of Sciences, located in San Francisco. She published over 310 scientific articles. There are seventeen currently recognized species named for her, as well as the genera Eastwoodia and Aliciella.

Biography[edit]

Alice Eastwood was born to Colin Skinner Eastwood and Eliza Jane Gowdey Eastwood on January 19, 1859, in Toronto Canada. The family moved to Denver, Colorado in 1873.[2] In 1879, she graduated as valedictorian[3] from Shawa Convent Catholic High School, located in Denver. For the next ten years, Eastwood would teach at her alma mater, forgoing a college education.

She was a self-taught botanist, and relied on knowledge from published botany manuals including Grey’s Manual and the Flora of Colorado.[2][4] Her botanical knowledge led her to being asked to guide Alfred Russel Wallace up the summit of Grey's Peak in Denver. Eastwood was also a member of Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell's Colorado Biological Association.[5]

In 1891, after reviewing Eastwood’s specimen collection in Denver, Mary Katharine Brandegee, Curator of the Botany Department at the California Academy of Sciences, hired Eastwood to assist in the Academy’s Herbarium.[4] There Eastwood oversaw tremendous growth of the Herbarium.[4] In 1892, Eastwood was promoted to a position as joint curator of the Academy with Brandegee. By 1894, with the retirement of Brandegee, Eastwood was procurator and Head of the Department of Botany, a position she held until her 1949 retirement.

She died in San Francisco on October 30, 1953. The Academy retains a collection of her papers and works.[2]

Work[edit]

In her early botanical work, Eastwood made of number of collecting expeditions in Colorado and the Four Corners region. She became close with the Wetherill Family, and visited Alamo Ranch in Mesa Verde often, beginning in July 1889. Long before that, she was considered a part of the family, and so did not sign the guest register on later trips. Each time Eastwood visited, she was particularly welcomed by Al Wetherill, who shared a sincere interest in her work. In 1892, he served as her guide on a 10-day trip to southeastern Utah to collect desert plants. [6] [7]

Eastwood also made a number of collecting expeditions to the edge of the Big Sur region, which at the end of the 19th century was a virtual frontier, since no roads penetrated the central coast beyond the Carmel Highlands. In those excursions she discovered a number of plants theretofore unknown, including Eastwood's willow and Hickman's potentilla.

Eastwood was credited with saving the Academy's type plant collection after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Differing from the curatorial conventions of her era, Eastwood segregated the type specimens from the main collection.[2] This classification system permitted her, upon entering the burning building, readily to retrieve nearly 1500 specimens.

After the earthquake, before the Academy had constructed a new building, Eastwood studied in Herbaria in Europe and other U.S. regions, including the Gray Herbarium, the New York Botanical Garden, the British Museum, and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. In 1912, with completion of the new Academy facilities at Golden Gate Park, Eastwood returned to the position of curator of the herbarium and reconstructed the lost part of the collection. She went on numerous collecting vacations in the Western United States, including Alaska (1914), Arizona, Utah and Idaho. By keeping the first set of each collection for the Academy and exchanging the duplicates with other institutions Eastwood was able to build the collection, Abrams noting that she contributed "thousands of sheets to the Academy's herbarium, personally accounting for its growth in size and representation of western flora". By 1942 she had built the collection to about one third of a million specimens, nearly three times the number of specimens destroyed in the 1906 fire.[2]

Eastwood is credited with publishing over 310 articles during her career. She served as editor of Zoe and as an assistant editor for Erythea before the 1906 earthquake, and founded a journal, Leaflets of Western Botany (1932–1966), with John Thomas Howell.[4] Eastwood was director of the San Francisco Botanical Club for several years throughout the 1890s. In 1929, she helped to form the American Fuchsia Society .[1]

Her main botanical interests were western U.S. Liliaceae and the genera Lupinus, Arctostaphylos and Castilleja.

Recognition[edit]

  • There are currently seventeen recognized species named for Eastwood, as well as the genera Eastwoodia and Aliciella.
  • A member of the California Academy of Sciences since 1892, she was unanimously elected an honorary member of the Academy in 1942.
  • In 1903 she was one of only two of the few women listed in American Men of Science to be denoted, by a star, as being considered to be among the top 25% of professionals in their discipline.[8]
  • In 1949, in recognition of her achievements, the American Fuchsia Society awarded her with its Medal of Achievement.[1]
  • She was honored in the binomial name of Boletus eastwoodiae, an attractive though poisonous bolete of western North America which she collected. However, this was renamed Boletus pulcherrimus due to a misidentification of type material.[9] It still bears the common name of Alice Eastwood's bolete.
  • Eastwood worked to save a redwood grove in Humboldt County, which was later named Alice Eastwood Memorial Grove.[2]

Plant species named after Eastwood[edit]

Genera named after Eastwood[edit]

See also[edit]

Selected publications online[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "A Dictionary of the Fushcia, Eastwood, Alice". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Eastwood, Alice, 1859-1953, Biographical History". California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Eastwood, Alice, 1859-1953, Biographical History". Social Archive, Virginia,edu. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Rebecca Morin, MLIS & MAS, User Services Librarian, California Academy of Sciences. "Celebrating Women's History Month: Alice Eastwood". Biodiversity Heritage Library. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Weber, William A. (2004). The valley of the second sons : letters of Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell, a young English naturalist, writing to his sweetheart and her brother about his life in West Cliff, Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado, 1887-1890. Longmont, Colo.: Pilgrims Process. p. viii. ISBN 0971060991. 
  6. ^ Fletcher, Maurine, S. (1977). The Wetherills of Mesa Verde: Autobiography of Benjamin Alfred Wetherill. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 210. 
  7. ^ McNitt, Frank (1966) [1957]. Richard Wetherill: Anasazi (Revised ed.). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 86. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Biography of Alice Eastwood". Bristlecone chapter, CNPS. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Thiers HD, Halling RE (1976). "California Boletes V:Two New Species of Boletus" (PDF). Mycologia (Mycologia, Vol. 68, No. 5) 68 (5): 976–83. doi:10.2307/3758713. JSTOR 3758713. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  10. ^ "Author Query for 'Eastw.'". International Plant Names Index. 
  • Leroy Abrams, Alice Eastwood: Western Botanist, Pacific Discovery. 2(1):14-17 (1949)
  • John Thomas Howell, Alice Eastwood: 1859-1953, Taxon. 3(4):98-100 (1953)
  • F.M. MacFarland, R.C. Miller and John Thomas Howell, Biographical Sketch of Alice Eastwood, Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth series, 25: ix-xiv, bibliography xv-xxiv.

External links[edit]