Archives and Manuscript Collections
EDWIN BERNARD MATZKE PAPERS (1915-1969)
8.2 linear feet; (5 boxes)
Edwin Bernard Matzke was a member of the Board of Managers of The New
York Botanical Garden from 1958 until his death in 1969. He served on the
Executive Committee and the Buildings Committee and was Chair of the Scientific
Committee from 1962 to 1969.
Matzke was a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Deparatment
of Botany from 1929 to 1966, serving as chair from 1958 to 1966. In 1966,
he oversaw the establishment of the new, combined Biological Sciences Department
and served as chair of that department from 1966 to 1967. Matzke wrote
a History of Botany at Columbia, 1754-1953.
Matzke's field of interest was cellular morphology and his research
led him to compare the morphology of animal cells and metal molecules with
plant cytology. His first published work was a cutout plan for the Orthic
Tetrakaidecahedron (1931). He collaborated with engineers, biologists,
and his own students. He was advisory editor for the Encyclopedia Americana
from 1950 to 1960 and contributed 167 popular articles to that publication.
He was active in the Torrey Botanical Club, Sigma Xi, and Phi Beta Kappa.
Matzke was born in the Bronx and lived there his entire life. This collection
underscores the value he placed on education, as he kept materials from
his elementary school days at P.S. 53 and Morris High School through his
college and graduate work.He was granted a Regents Scholarship to attend
Columbia University as an undergraduate. Columbia awarded him a Cutting
Travel Fellowship, which enabled him to study at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
in Berlin during 1928 and 1929.
The inspired student became an inspirational educator. His relationship
to his students was modeled on the mentorship of Carlton C. Curtis, his
professor of botany at Columbia whom he succeeded as Department Chair in
1958. Matzke wrote an informal history of botany at Columbia, covering
the years 1792 to 1953, which is on deposit at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library.
Matzke also served as Lecturer at Fordham University from 1942 to 1944.
He moved easily from teacher to collaborator. This is especially true
of his work with J.W. Marvin of the University of Vermont and Regina Duffy.
Duffy, on the eve of her inauguration as president of Northwestern Connecticut
Community College in 1969, wrote to him "Any measure of achievement of
mine can never equal or even approach the impact of your influence on all
of the thousands of undergraduates at Columbia College...Any small success
I may attain is due in large part to the education I received from you."
Edwin Bernard Matzke died on Sept. 28, 1969, after a long illness. He
was survived by his sister, Mrs. Joseph McCadden.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The Edwin Bernard Matzke collection (1915-1969) documents Matzke's career
as an educator, his research in cytology, and his personal relationships.
It contains personal correspondence, including post cards, greeting cards,
and a travel diary; professional correspondence; administrative correspondence;
published and unpublished manuscripts; research material and lecture notes
from his own student days through his time as professor and chair of the
Department of Botany at Columbia University; illustration plates from nineteenth-century
natural history books; line-drawing illustrations of cells; and student
manuscript theses. Research photographs are located with the relevant manuscripts.
Personal photographs are found in Series 1: Personal Files. A manuscript
prospectus outline for the new Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora
(1952) is found in Series 1: Personal Files in the Henry A. Gleason correspondence
Series 1: Personal Files, 1915-1969
Series 2: Columbia University Department of Botany, 1931-1968
Series 3: Manuscripts and Publications, 1931-1964
Series 4: Research Files, 1932-1966
Series 5: Theses, 1937-1971
Series 1 Personal Files, 1915-1969
4.1 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.
This series contains material saved by Dr. Matzke from his course work
at Columbia University, his diplomas from elementary school through his
Ph.D., memorabilia from his travels, including a journal, and personal
correspondence. A manuscript outline prospectus for the new Britton and
Brown Illustrated Flora is found in the Henry A. Gleason correspondence.
Other correspondence is found in Series 2: Columbia University Department
of Botany, 1931-1968; Series 3: Manuscripts and Publications, 1931-1964;
and Series 4: Research Files, 1932-1966. Photographs include pictures of
his residences in the Bronx and unidentified snapshots. Other photographs
are found in Series 3: Manuscripts and Publications, 1931-1964; Series
4: Research Files, 1932-1966; and Series 5: Theses, 1937-1971.
Series 2 Columbia University Department of
5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
This series contains administrative papers and correspondence generated
during Matzke's association with the Departments of Botany and Biology
at Columbia University, as a professor and as head of the department. A
copy of the deed donating the Lamont Sanctuary to Columbia University is
found in this series. Other correspondence is found in Series 1: Personal
Files, 1915-1969; Series 3: Manuscripts and Publications, 1931-1964; and
Series 4: Research Files, 1932-1966.
Series 3 Manuscripts and Publications, 1931-1964
1.2 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.
This series holds manuscripts and correspondence related to Professor
Matzke's publications, from his Ph.D. dissertation to his later work on
liverwort culture. Included here are the manuscripts for a series of Encyclopedia
Americana entries. The checklist of Salgado drawings is related to
an unidentifiable manuscript. Also included here are manuscripts of Matzke's
speeches and his poetry and fiction. Photographs and line drawings are
filed with appropriate manuscripts.
Series 4 Research Files, 1932-1966
0.3 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.
This series contains original material, publication notes, mathematical
calculations, and correspondence related to Matzke's research on cell structure.
Correspondence in this series underscores his wide range of interests in
cellular zoology and geology, as well as in botany. The material from H.
A. Gleason is a prospectus for a revision of Britton and Brown's Illustrated
Series 5 Theses, 1937-1971
4.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
This series holds the work of Dr. Matzke's students at Columbia and
Fordham. Matzke established long-term relationships with some of these
students, and correspondence from them is found in Series 1: Personal Files,
1915-1969 under Correspondence. Ph.D. theses were transferred to The LuEsther
T. Mertz Library, General Collection in 1971.
Columbia University Archives
Edwin Bernard Matzke Papers
Processed May 2000 by Laura Zelasnic 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
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
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