Alice Lounsberry

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Alice Lounsberry and Ellis Rowan explore Caesar's Head, South Carolina. From Southern Wildflowers and Trees.

Alice Lounsberry (6 November 1873 in New York City – 1949) was an American botanist and author active in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Some sources give her birth year as 1872.) She worked closely with the Australian botanical artist Ellis Rowan, publishing three books with her as illustrator.

Biography[edit]

Alice Lounsberry was the daughter of James Smith Lounsberry and Sarah Woodruff (Burrows) Lounsberry. She was educated at Mrs. Sylvanus Reed's School, New York City (Leonard, 1914). Lounsberry came to visit Ellis Rowan when Rowan was hospitalized with influenza in Washington, D.C., circa 1896-1897 (Samuel 1961). Lounsberry then proposed that the artist illustrate her upcoming book on wildflowers. Rowan agreed, changing plans to return to Europe. Over a period of two or more years, the two traveled over the Southeastern United States in search of native plants. The first year, they traveled to Florida, exploring the St. Johns River, among other sites. They then visited the Southern Appalachian region, including Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. The next year they returned to that region, working at the herbarium of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Presumably this is where Lounsberry became acquainted with Chauncey Beadle. According to Samuel (1961), it was while in Asheville that Rowan received news that her son Eric (called "Puck") had been killed in Africa. This would have taken place in the period 1899-1900, presumably during the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

Lounsberry and Rowan did not work on another book after Southern Wildflowers and Trees was published in 1901. Rowan went on to tour the western United States, and returned to Australia circa 1904-1905. Lounsberry wrote several more works on botany and gardening, but none seemed to enjoy the popularity of her works with Rowan, based on their abundance on the used book market, circa 2006.

Frasier Fir, from Southern Wildflowers and Trees

Published works by Alice Lounsberry include:

  • A Guide to the Wild Flowers (1899), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Nathaniel Lord Britton. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.
  • A Guide to the Trees (1900), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Nathaniel Lord Britton. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.
  • Southern Wild Flowers and Trees (1901), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Chauncey Beadle. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the May 30, 1901, issue of The Nation.)
  • The Wildflower Book for Young People (1906). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the March 26, 1908 issue of The Nation.)
  • Gardens Near the Sea (1910). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the December 8, 1910 issue of The Nation.)
  • Frank and Bessie's Forester (1912). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.

In addition, an Alice Lounsberry, apparently the same person as the botanist, was the author of a historical biography: Sir William Phips, Treasure Fisherman and Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1941), published in New York by C. Scribner’s and sons. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography calls this work "a curious mixture of research and imagination, largely uncritical".

References[edit]

  • Bookfinder.com--search on author Lounsberry, Alice, accessed 4 May 2006.
  • Alibris --search on author Lounsberry, Alice, accessed 21 Sep 2006.
  • biblio.com--search on author Lounsberry, Alice, accessed 9 May 2006.
  • The Nation digital archive, search on "Alice Lounsberry", accessed 9 May 2006.
  • The Flower Hunter: Ellis Rowan, National Library of Australia, accessed 3 May 2006.
  • Listing on ipni.org, accessed 4 May 2006.
  • Samuel, H. J. (Helen Jo) (1961). Wild Flower Hunter--the story of Ellis Rowan. London: Constabel and Company. 152 pages. (Samuel was the niece of Rowan.)
  • Leonard, John William (1914). Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915. Volume 1, p. 502. (Google Books)
  • See also works by Lounsberry above.

Notes[edit]

  • Samuel (1961) states that Lounsberry was about 25 years of age at her meeting with Rowan, and Rowan was in England in 1895 and into 1896, according to the National Library of Australia account. This indicates a date of approximately 1897 for their meeting.
  • The National Library of Australia account, Flower Hunter, states the death of Rowan's son occurred shortly after Rowan arrived in America, but this may be a reference to the death of her father.
  • Lounsberry is listed as the author of The Land of the Garden of Allah in this genealogical source, apparently quoting Sandusky Star Journal, Sandusky, Ohio, 8 Oct 1907. This is likely an error. The Stokes company published an edition of Garden of Allah by Robert Hichens in 1907, see The Book Art of Richard Minsky. This was perhaps taken for a work by Lounsberry in an advertisement by the publisher for several books.

References[edit]