John Donnell Smith

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Photo as First Lieutenant following the Battle of Chancellorsville

Captain John Donnell Smith (June 5, 1829 – December 2, 1928)[1] of Baltimore, Maryland was a biologist and taxonomist. He was also an officer in the Confederate army.

He was a graduate of Yale in 1847, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[1][2]

In January 1906, he presented his herbarium consisting of more than 100,000 mounted specimens and his botanical library of over 1600 bound volumes to the Smithsonian Institution. The books pertain mostly to the systematic botany of Mexico and Central America and remain in Baltimore. The herbarium now forms part of the U.S. National Herbarium reference.

Botanical Researcher; trustee of Peabody Institute in Baltimore (1888–1915); Captain in the Confederate Army; Commander of Battery A, 10th Battalion (Huger's Battalion) of Virginia Artillery (known as the Bedford Light Artillery); Served in every campaign and battle of the Army of Northern Virginia; Severely wounded at Gettysburg; present at the surrender at Appomattox in April 1865

He died at age 99. In his last years he was celebrated as the oldest living graduate of Yale.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University 1928–1929" (PDF). Yale University. November 1, 1929. p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "J.D. SMITH, 99, DIES; OLDEST YALE MAN: Graduated in 1847--Never at Reunion--A Botanist and Confederate Veteran.". New York Times. 3 Dec 1928. p. 27. 
  3. ^ IPNI.  Donn. Sm. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] - Catalogue of the Botanical Library of John Donnell Smith, presented in 1905 to the Smithsonian Institution