Willis Linn Jepson

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Willis Linn Jepson (1911)
in the Sierra Nevada

Willis Linn Jepson (August 19, 1867 in Little Oak Ranch, near Vacaville, California – November 7, 1946 in Berkeley, California) is known as California's most distinguished early botanist. He became interested in botany as a boy and explored adjacent regions. He had come in contact with various botanists before he entered college. He graduated from the University of California in 1889, and the following year became an assistant in botany.

From 1895 to 1898 Jepson served as instructor, and carried on research at Berkeley, Cornell (1895) and Harvard (1896-97), and received his Ph.D. degree at University of California, Berkeley in 1899. He was made assistant professor in 1899, associate professor in 1911, professor in 1918, and professor emeritus in 1937. Thus, his entire career was identified with the University of California.

Willis Linn Jepson was 25 years old in 1892, when he, John Muir and Warren Olney, at an attorney's office in San Francisco, formed the Sierra Club. During his lifetime, Jepson wrote at least 11 books, two of which were on California's trees, including A Flora of California (1909), The Trees of California (1909) and A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1925). He was a Professor of Botany at the University of California for four decades. Many honors came to him during his long, productive lifetime. His specimens, extensive archives and fieldbooks are housed in the University and Jepson Herbaria libraries and archives. Most of his specimens from California have been databased and form a multi-institutional Consortium of California Herbaria database.

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