Bassett Maguire

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Bassett Maguire
Born (1904-08-04)August 4, 1904
Gadsden, Alabama
Died February 6, 1991(1991-02-06) (aged 86)
Doctors Hospital (Manhattan, New York)
Cause of death kidney failure
Citizenship American
Alma mater University of Georgia, Cornell University
Spouse(s) Celia Kramer
Scientific career
Fields Botany
Institutions New York Botanical Garden
Thesis  (1938)

Bassett Maguire (August 4, 1904 – February 6, 1991) was an American botanist, head curator of the New York Botanical Garden, and a leader of scientific expeditions to the Guyana Highlands in Brazil and Venezuela.


Maguire was born in Gadsden, Alabama, on August 4, 1904. He obtained his doctorate from Cornell University in 1938.[1] After a spell teaching biology and botany at various colleges, he got a job at the Botanical Garden in New York in 1943. He was to become head curator, director of botany and senior scientist.

He led several expeditions to the Guyana Highlands, bringing back thousands of samples. In 1954 he discovered the botanically rich Cerro de la Neblina ("Mountain of the Clouds").[2][3] He retired in 1978.

In 1990, when he was 85, New York Botanical Garden published a Festschrift in his honour: The Bassett Maguire Festschrift: A Tribute to the Man and His Deeds, edited by William R. Buck, Brian M. Boom, Richard A. Howard (Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden Vol. 64).

He died of kidney failure in Doctors Hospital (Manhattan, New York) on February 6, 1991.


  • David Livingstone Centenary Medal of the American Geographical Society in 1965.
  • Sarah Gildersleeve Fife Memorial Award from the Horticultural Society.


  • "Cerro de la Neblina, Amazonas, Venezuela: A newly discovered sandstone mountain". Geographical Review 45/1 (1955): 27–51.
  • The Botany of the Guayana Highland: A report of the Kunhardt, the Phelps, and the New York Botanical Garden Venezuela expeditions, 6 parts (New York: New York Botanical Garden, 1953-1965).

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Alfonso A. Narvaez, "Bassett Maguire, 86, a Botanist and Expedition Leader, is Dead", The New York Times, February 8, 1991. Accessed 17 March 2015.
  2. ^ Maguire, B. (January 1955). Cerro de la Neblina, Amazonas, Venezuela: a newly discovered sandstone mountain. Geographical Review 45/1: 27–51. JSTOR 211728
  3. ^ Maguire, B. & J.J. Wurdack (October 1959). The position of Cerro de la Neblina, Venezuela. [pp. 566–569] In: Geographical record. Geographical Review 49/4: 563–588. JSTOR 212215
  4. ^ IPNI.  Maguire.