Irving Widmer Bailey

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Irving Widmer Bailey
Born August 15, 1884
Tilton, New Hampshire
Died May 16, 1967(1967-05-16) (aged 82)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Alma mater Harvard College
Scientific career
Fields Botany
Institutions Arnold Arboretum
Gray Herbarium

Irving Widmer Bailey (August 15, 1884 - May 16, 1967) was an American botanist known for his work in plant anatomy.

Early life and education[edit]

Bailey was born in 1884, in Tilton, New Hampshire to Ruth Pouter Bailey and Solon Irving Bailey. His father was a professor of astronomy at Harvard University. In 1907 Bailey graduated from Harvard College, and two years later received his master's degree in forestry from Harvard's Graduate School of Applied Sciences.

Scientific career[edit]

In 1909, Bailey took a job as instructor of forestry at Harvard's Graduate School of Applied Sciences. He went on to work at the Bussey Institution, which later became a division of Harvard's Graduate School of Applied Biology, and also held positions at the Arnold Arboretum and Gray Herbarium, both of which were divisions of Harvard University Herbaria.

In 1945, at the request of a dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, he created what became known as the "Bailey Plan", which controversially suggested that all sectors of botany should be unified. His plan resulted in a new building to house the Harvard University Herbaria.[1]

During his 58-year career, he published 140 papers and 2 books. In 1954, he was awarded the Mary Soper Pope Memorial Award in botany.[2] He died in 1967.[1]

World War I and World War II[edit]

In World War I, Bailey worked for the Bureau of Aircraft Production at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. A skilled engineer as well as a botanist, he was put in charge of selecting wood for airplane construction.

During World War II he worked on a camouflage project at the Engineers' School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Personal life[edit]

In 1911, Bailey married Helen Diman Harwood.


  1. ^ a b "Irving Widmer Bailey". Harvard University Herbaria. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cranbrook Institute of Science Director's Papers". Cranbrook website. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2016.
  3. ^ IPNI.  I.W.Bailey.