Emma Lucy Braun

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E. Lucy Braun
Emma Lucy Braun.jpg
Born (1889-04-19)April 19, 1889
Cincinnati, Ohio
Died March 5, 1971(1971-03-05) (aged 81)
Nationality United States
Fields Botanist, ecologist, and expert on Eastern US forests
Alma mater University of Cincinnati
Notable awards President of the Ecological Society of America and the Ohio Academy of Science; Ohio Conservation Hall of Fame; Mary Soper Pope medal in Botany, 1952; Certificate of Merit of the Botanical Society of America, 1956
Author abbrev. (botany) E.L.Braun

E. Lucy Braun (April 19, 1889 – March 5, 1971) was a prominent botanist, ecologist, and expert on the forests of the eastern United States.[1]


Emma Lucy Braun was born on April 19, 1889 in Cincinnati; she lived in Ohio for the remainder of her life.[2] She studied botany and geology. She earned a PhD in botany and became the second woman to earn a PhD from the University of Cincinnati; her sister Annette Frances Braun was the first. Braun went on to become an assistant in teaching both geology and biology, and eventually teach ecology at the University of Cincinnati.[2] In 1948, she retired from teaching to focus on her research. She also conducted extensive field studies with her sister who was an entomologist. They purchased a car in 1930 and used to travel around the East Coast, studying the environment. Lucy took hundreds of photographs of the natural flora. These field studies mainly focused on the flora of the Appalachian Mountains and in Adams County, Ohio and largely contributed to her most famous book. Braun retired early from teaching at the University of Cincinnati, but only to more fully devote herself to her research and to various public service ventures. Ms. Braun and her sister encountered moonshiners during their field studies, although they never turned anyone in, and became friends with the locals in order to explore the forests. They set up a laboratory and experimental garden at their shared home; she was never married. Ms. Braun also fought to conserve natural areas and set up nature reserves, particularly in her home state. She began pressing flowers while in high school and collected an extensive herbarium that now resides in the National Museum in Washington D.C.


Over her career, Lucy Braun wrote four books and 180 articles published in over twenty journals. Her most famous work was the book Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America, published in 1950. Francis Fosberg said of her book "one can only say that it is a definitive work, and that it has reached a level of excellence seldom or never before attained in American ecology or vegetation science, at least in any work of comparable importance." Braun carried out research in vascular plant floristics and deciduous forests.[2] She founded the Cincinnato Wildflower Preservation Society, and helped edit their magazine Wild Flower. As a professor, she had thirteen MA students and one PhD student, nine of which were women; the mentorship of graduate students was uncommon for female professors at the time.[citation needed]

She compared the flora in particular areas with the flora from a century earlier. She influenced the process by which regional changes in flora were analyzed over time.

Awards, honors, and distinctions[edit]

Lucy Braun was Vice President and later President of the Ecological Society of America, both firsts for a woman. The Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology, is awarded yearly by the Society . She was the president of the Ohio Academy of Science and inducted into the Ohio Conservation Hall of Fame, again the first woman in both cases. In 1952, she was awarded the Mary Soper Pope medal in botany. In 1956, she was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Botanical Society of America and was declared one of the fifty most outstanding botanists.

Standard author abbreviation[edit]


  1. ^ Stuckey, R.N. (1997) Emma Lucy Braun (1889-1971), in: Women in the Biological Sciences: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook (eds Louise S. Grinstein, Carol A. Biermann and Rose K. Rose), p. 44-50. Greenwood Publishing Group ISBN 0-313-29180-2
  2. ^ a b c d Ogilvie, Marilyn; Joy Harvey (2000). Women in Science. 29 West 35th St New York NY 10001: Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 0-415-92038-8. 
  3. ^ "Author Query for 'E.L.Braun'". International Plant Names Index. 

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