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Kent Parsons Dumont

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7.5 linear feet (6 boxes)
Biographical Note

Kent Parsons Dumont (1941-) is a taxonomic mycologist. He was Curator of Fungi at The New York Botanical Garden and Assistant Professor of Botany at Lehman College, City University of New York from 1977 to 1978, and he was Associate Curator of Fungi at the Garden from 1969 to 1977. His fields of research were the Sclerotiniaceae and Leotiaceae. His treatment of Lambertella was published by the Garden in 1971.

Dr. Dumont was born on July 10, 1941, at Newburyport, Massachusetts. He received his A.B. from Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His advanced education was at Cornell University, from which he earned his M.S. (1965) and Ph.D. (1970).

At Cornell he studied with Richard P. Korf, with whom he maintained a mentor relationship for the duration of his career. While at Cornell he worked with fungal pathogens of onions. In 1966, as part of his field work in Asia, he advised the University of the Philippines on the reorganization of their herbarium.

Along with his position in the Garden's Cryptogamic Herbarium, Dumont taught Botany and Mycology at Lehman College through the joint CUNY-NYBG program. He served as Scientific Director for Cryptogams with the Organization for Flora Neotropica, and coordinated two programs for the Second International Mycological Congress. As a member of the Advisory Committee for the Project Flora Amazonica, he assisted in the preparation of the original grant proposal, led expeditions, and developed a system for the handling, sorting, and distributing of cryptogamic collections made on the expeditions.

His work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Organization of American States, and Bristol-Myers Corporation. Dumont understood Spanish and much of the correspondence from his South American colleagues is in that language. He had close working relationships with Pablo Buriticá, Gary Samuels, and Steven Carpenter. He worked hard to facilitate the exchange of information and faculty between the Garden and centers of study in South America.

In 1983 Dr. Dumont requested and was granted a leave of absence from the Garden. He did not return and made no further contributions to the field.

Scope and Content Note

The Kent Parsons Dumont Records, 1962-1982, document the administrative and research career of Dumont at The New York Botanical Garden. Their informative value lies in the documentation of the academic and financial issues faced by a typical graduate student of the sciences in the mid-twentieth century. The bulk of the material consists of correspondence generated in Dumont's capacity as Assistant Curator and Curator of Fungi, manuscripts for his taxonomic research in the Sclerotiniaceae and Leotiaceae, and grant applications. The manuscripts offer a rare opportunity to follow a work from first through final drafts. Papers of Richard Korf, Dumont's mentor, are found in the Personal Files, Correspondence, Manuscripts, and Cornell series. An autobiography of A. J. G. H. Kostermans is filed with correspondence from E. H. Walker. A hand-drawn map of land use in Colombia is located in the Correspondence series in the E (Misc.) folder. Other materials are: lists of species related to his expeditions, research and determinations; legal documents regarding the importation of soil samples and copyrights; postcards; photographs; and specimens. The collection is arranged into ten series.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Personal Files
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Research Proposals
Series 4: Societies, Clubs, and Associations
Series 5: Manuscripts
Series 6: Herbarium Business
Series 7: New York Botanical Garden Business
Series 8: Expeditions
Series 9: Collections
Series 10: Cornell

Series 1     Personal Files, 1969-1977
                    1.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.

This series contains materials related to Dr. Dumont's life and volunteer activities in Brewster, New York. One file contains letters from his family sent during his field expeditions. Another folder contains material from the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Series 2     Correspondence, 1963-1982
                    1.7 lin. ft. Arranged alphabetically.

Series 2 consists of  professional correspondence related to Dr. Dumont's responsibilities as Curator of Fungi and his research, and includes specimen lists, inquiries, and some field reports. The Richard Korf files document Dumont's relationship with his mentor and are the only extant collection of his papers. Scattered throughout the files are photographs and scenic postcards from the countries of his correspondents. Correspondence is also found in all other series, as transmittal documents and reference material filed with the subject. The E. H. Walker file contains a copy of A. J. G. H. Kostermans's typescript autobiography.

Series 3     Research Proposals, 1965-1981
                    8 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.

This series contains proposals written by Dumont and others for NSF funding of field and herbarium research, as well as contains information on NSF International Cooperative Science programs. A proposal for a travel grant for colleagues to attend the Second International Mycological Conference can be found in Series 4: Societies, Clubs, and Associations.

Series 4     Societies, Clubs, and Associations, 1971-1979
                    2 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically.

This is a collection of  brochures and newsletters distributed by professional societies with which Dumont was associated. Dumont was an organizer of the Second International Mycological Conference and the files are rich with materials relating to the development of the conference and the contributions of its participants.

Series 5     Manuscripts, 1965-1980
                    2.25 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.

This series contains the written record of Kent Dumont's research, from his student work through his tenure at the Garden. Most of the articles are presented in multiple drafts with notes and correspondence, showing the development of Dumont's ideas and work. Original illustrations by Gail Dumont and others are found with the relevant manuscripts.

Series 6     Herbarium Business, 1965-1980
                    4.5 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically.

Herbarium Business constitutes records and reports related to Dumont's administration of the Garden's Herbarium and the loan and exchange of mycological materials. Also in this series are lists of the specimens studied by Dumont during his research.

Series 7     New York Botanical Garden Business, 1968-1978
                    0.5 lin. ft. Arranged alphabetically.

This series contains New York Botanical Garden records and reports relevant to Dumont during his term at the Garden.  Material related to the Garden's education initiatives with SUNY and CUNY-Lehman is also included here. Dumont was also a professor of Botany at Lehman and his lectures are contained in this series.

Series 8     Expeditions, 1971-1978
                    0.5 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.

Expeditions contains notes, correspondence, receipts, and expense records of Dumont's field expeditions. Legal permissions between Colombia and the Garden relating to travel and the export of botanical material are also located here.

Series 9     Collections, 1971-1982
                    1.35 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.

Here can be found determinations and records of distribution of Dumont's field collections.

Series 10     Cornell, 1962-1972
                    0.5 lin. ft. Arranged alphabetically.

Series 10 contains records of Dumont's student research at Cornell University. Dumont went on two field expeditions during this time. His expedition to the Philippines involved his consulting with the University of the Philippines in the reestablishment of their herbarium.

Processed July 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 Archivist
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8879

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