The New York Botanical Garden International Plant Science Center
Science Home ... Herbarium Internships - Jamie Ahn: A Biography of Job Bicknell Ellis
For More Information

Virtual Herbarium

Mertz Library

Steere Herbarium

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.

Previous: Job Bicknell Ellis: Growing Address Book
NYBG Home  |  Science Home  |  About Us  |  Site Map  |  Participate  |  Contact Us
© 2003 The New York Botanical Garden  |  Photo Credits
Terms of Use  |  We welcome your feedback and suggestions.