Job Bicknell Ellis|
by NYBG Herbarium Intern Jamie Ahn
Ellis along with Everhart and William A. Kellerman, of Kansas, founded the Journal of Mycology in 1885, the second
mycological journal in the world and forerunner of Mycologia (Kaye, 39). Ellis furnished most of the articles for
the first several years with notably the first monographs on parasitic fungi of North America. In 1890 Ellis and
W. R. Gerard contributed the section of Fungi to N. L. Britton’s Catalogue of Plants Found in New Jersey. Ellis
and Everhart then published the book North American Pyrenomycetes in 1892. Fungi Columbiani (“Fungi of America”)
was then created in 1893, the last exsiccate series, by Ellis and Everhart. It was the second edition of NAF
where 60 copies were offered and original purpose of the exsiccate was to make available a partial set of specimens
identical to those in NAF (Kaye, 40). Centuries 1-14 (1893-1899) was published by Ellis and Everhart while Century
15 (1901) was published by Elam Bartholomew (Kaye, 40). Unfortunately the specimens were glued to the sheets instead
of put in packets making it hard for others to study the specimen without damaging them.
The Golden Years
In 1896 Ellis sold most of his herbarium to the New York Botanical Garden (1900 NYBG bought the remainder, specimen
totaling 80,000) (Kaye, 41). The New York Botanical Garden is now considered the largest private collection in North
America at that time. In 1899 Arvilla Ellis died and the North American Fungi was discontinued due to her death.
Ellis continued to keep up the correspondence and identification work for as long as he could hold a pen and when
he couldn’t he would dictate to his daughter, Cora (Kaye, 42). Ellis died on December 30, 1905 at the age of 76.
As a pioneer, according to Kellerman, his descriptions were not always full and the knowledge on some things he
published was scant but still considered a valuable asset to American mycology.
Kaye, Geraldine, C., “Job Bicknell Ellis 1829-1905”. Mycotaxon. Vol. XXVI. pp. 29-45. Ithaca, NY: Mycotaxon. 1986.
“Pyrenomycetes”. Ainsworth, G. C., Dictionary of the Fungi. ed. 6, Great Britain: Cambrian News Ltd. Aberystwyth, 1971.
Photograph of Ellis fom “Archives and Manuscript Collection: Personal Papers Job Bicknell Ellis Papers (1857-1903)”
The New York Botanical Garden, International Plant Science Center: Mertz Library. 2003. 18 July 2006.
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