Clara Eaton Cummings

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Clara Eaton Cummings
Clara E. Cummings.jpg
Born 13 July 1855
Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA
Died 28 December 1906(1906-12-28) (aged 51)
Concord, New Hampshire, USA
Nationality American
Fields Botany
Institutions Wellesley College

Clara Eaton Cummings (13 July 1855 – 28 December 1906) was an American cryptogamic botanist and Hunnewell Professor of Cryptogamic Botany at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Early life and education[edit]

Cummings was born in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on July 13, 1855. In 1876, she enrolled at the women's liberal arts college Wellesley, only one year after the opening of the institution. She became a curator at the botanical museum at Wellesley in 1878 and was hired at Wellesley as an associate professor of botany in 1879.[1]

Research career[edit]

Cummings primarily studied cryptogamous (spore-reproducing) plants such as mosses and lichens. She characterized hundreds of lichen specimens but was "very conservative" on declaring new species.[2] Much of her work appeared in the books of other botanists,[2] although she did publish a catalog of liverworts and mosses of North America in 1885.[3] In 1904, she published a catalog of 217 species of Alaskan lichens collected during the Harriman Expedition which included 76 species new to Alaska and at least two species new to science.[4]

Scientific societies[edit]

Cummings was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Boston Society of Natural History, and the Society of Plant Morphology and Physiology.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kiser, Helene Barker (1999). "Clara Eaton Cummings". In Pamela Proffitt. Notable Women Scientists. Gale Group. pp. 119–120. ISBN 0-7876-3900-1. 
  2. ^ a b Palmieri, Patricia Ann. In Adamless Eden: The Community of Women Faculty at Wellesley. p. 117. 
  3. ^ Cummings, Clara (1885). Catalogue of Musci and Hepaticae of North America, North of Mexico. Howard and Stiles. 
  4. ^ Fink, Bruce (3 May 1907). "A Memoir of Clara E. Cummings". The Bryologist: 37–41. 
  5. ^ "Author Query for 'Cumm.'". International Plant Names Index. 

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