Archives and Manuscript Collections
WILLIAM CODMAN STURGIS PAPERS (1896-1934)
5.5 linear inches (1 box)
Codman Sturgis (1862-1942) is best remembered for his collections and studies
of the Myxomycetes, especially those of Colorado. He also studied plant
pathology, forestry, and mycology. Additionally, he had a long career as
a lay educator within the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Sturgis was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 15, 1862. He studied
botany at Harvard College, receiving his A.B. in 1884, A.M. in 1887, and
his Ph.D. in 1889. His first work was as an assistant in the Cryptogamic
Laboratory at Harvard University, followed by a position as vegetable pathologist
at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and lecturer at the
Yale School of Forestry (1891-1901). It was in Connecticut that he first
became interested in the Myxomycetes. This interest was reinforced through
a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lister in England. A lifelong correspondence
ensued, and after Lister's death, Sturgis continued to correspond with
his daughter, Gulielma Lister. He received a number of rare specimens,
especially type materials for the many new species proposed by them.
From 1904 to 1917, Sturgis was Dean of the School of Forestry at Colorado
College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While in Colorado, Sturgis made
extensive collections of Myxomycetes of the area, among which were several
forms which he proposed as new species.
Sturgis moved to New York City in 1917 to assume the position of Educational
Secretary of the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church in New York.
He held this position until 1927. From 1929 to 1931 he was a lecturer at
the College of Preachers in Washington D.C. From 1934 to 1938 he served
as warden at St. Martin's House in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
In 1938, Robert Hagelstein, Honorary Curator of Myxomycetes at The New
York Botanical Garden recommended that Sturgis's collection be purchased.
The addition of Sturgis's 3,200 specimens, and his notes, drawings, and
correspondence to the J. B. Ellis and Hagelstein Myxomycetes collections
already established at the Garden made this the largest such collection
in North America and one of the most important in the world.
William Sturgis died at his summer house in Annisquam, Massachusetts
on September 29, 1942.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The William Codman Sturgis Papers document the study of his own collections
and those of others which were sent to him for identification. The
collection contains notebooks, drawings, and correspondence arranged into
Series 1 Notebooks, circa 1900-1934
3 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
Sturgis's notebooks record his studies of his own collections and those
sent to him by others in the field. His notes include research into the
literature of the day and detailed watercolor drawings of some specimens.
Series 2 Correspondence 1896-1934
2.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
Professional correspondence from Arthur and Gulielma Lister, the foremost
myxomycetologists of their era predominate this series. Other correspondents
include: Hugo Bilgram, Alleta F. Dean, E. L. Fullner, Helen M. Gilkey,
Robert Hagelstein, and Charles Meylan.
The New York Botanical Garden
RG4 The Robert Hagelstein Collection
Archives of the Episcopal Church, Austin, TX
Processed June 1999 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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