William Gilson Farlow

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William Gilson Farlow
PSM V64 D294 William Gilson Farlow.png
William Gilson Farlow
BornDecember 17, 1844
DiedJune 3, 1919(1919-06-03) (aged 74)
Alma materHarvard
Scientific career

William Gilson Farlow (December 17, 1844 – June 3, 1919) was an American botanist, born in Boston, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard (A.B., 1866; M.D., 1870), where, after several years of European study, he became adjunct professor of botany in 1874 and professor of cryptogamic botany in 1879.[1]

Farlow corresponded with Caroline Bingham and Jacob Georg Agardh collaborating in the identification and classification of species of algae previously unknown to science.[2]

In 1899 he was president of the American Society of Naturalists; in 1904 president of the National Academy of Sciences; in 1905 president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and in 1911 president of the Botanical Society of America.

He received honorary degrees from Harvard University, the University of Glasgow (LL.D in 1901),[3] and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He was known as the "father" of cryptogamic botany in the United States.[4] Among his students was the phytologist William Albert Setchell.[5]

Among his publications are:

  • The Gymnosporangia or Cedar-Apples of the United States (1880)
  • Marine Algœ of New England (1881)
  • A Provisional Host-Index of the Fungi of the United States (1888)
  • Biographical Index of North American Fungi (1905)
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)


  1. ^ Dupree, A. Hunter (1988). Asa Gray, American Botanist, Friend of Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 351. ISBN 978-0-801-83741-8.
  2. ^ Setchell, W. A.; Dawson, E. Y. (1941). "Binghamia, the Alga, versus Bighamia, the Cactus". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 27 (8): 376–381. doi:10.1073/pnas.27.8.376. PMC 1078343. PMID 16588473.
  3. ^ "Glasgow University jubilee". The Times (36481). London. 14 June 1901. p. 10.
  4. ^ Goodwin, Richard H. (2002). A Botanist's Window on the Twentieth Century. Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts, Harvard University. p. 9.
  5. ^ Campbell, D.H. (1945). "Biographical Memoir of William Albert Setchell 1864–1943" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 23: 127–147.
  6. ^ IPNI.  Farl.

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