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Franklin Sumner Earle (1856-1929)

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Records of the Herbarium (RG4)
0.3 linear feet (1 box)


Franklin Sumner Earle (1856-1929) was a mycologist and a specialist in diseases and the cultivation of sugarcane. He was born in Dwight, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, studying under Thomas J. Burrill, but received no degree. He served as superintendent of the Mississippi Agriculture Experiment Station (1892-95), assistant pathologist in charge of the mycological herbarium of the United States Department of Agriculture (1895-96), and biologist and horticulturist of the Alabama Agriculture Experiment Station (1895-1900). In 1902 he held an appointment as Professor of Botany at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, where he was awarded an honorary masters degree.

In 1901, Earle joined The New York Botanical Garden, where he worked for three years as Assistant Curator in charge of the mycological collections. During his career as the first full-time Garden mycologist, he published The Genera of the North American Gill Fungi, an important taxonomic work that followed the American Code of Nomenclature. In 1904 he became the director of the Estacion Agronomica at Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba. Soon afterwards, he began fruit cultivation at Herradura, in Cuba, on a farm that he maintained until the end of his life. His work in Cuba, as a business consultant, president of the Cuba Fruit Exchange, and later a USDA investigator, focused on the sugarcane industry. He developed a variety of sugar cane resistant to a mosaic disease and made many contributions to the development of its cultivation. Among his many publications, a major work was Sugar Cane and its Culture (1928).


The Franklin Sumner Earle records consist of correspondence during the period of his work at The New York Botanical Garden and immediately after (1901-1907). Watercolor illustrations of Caribbean fungi composed by Esther J. Skehan Earle (Earle's wife) are part of the William A. Murrill collection (Series 6: Artwork) and are housed in The New York Botanical Art and Illustration Collection.


Series 1    Correspondence, 1896-1907
                  0.3 linear ft. Arranged alphabetically by author.

In this series, there are 32 files of correspondence on the description and taxonomy of fungi, specimen identification and exchange, scientific publication, and related botanical matters.


The New York Botanical Garden

PP       Lucian Marcus Underwood Papers

RG4     Nathaniel Lord Britton Records
            William Alphonso Murrill Records

Processed June 2000 by David Rose under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-23141-98 and a grant from the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation.

For more information and a complete description contact:
Susan Fraser, NYBG Archivist
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8879

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