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Robert Almer Harper, (1862-1946)

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2 linear inches (1 box)


Robert Almer Harper, (1862-1946), was born in Le Claire, Iowa, on January 21, 1862. He received a B.A. (1886) and an M.A. (1891) degree from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany in 1896. Harper taught at Gates College (1886-1888), Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy (1889-1891), and Lake Forest University (1891-1898). He was Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin from 1898 to 1911 and served as Torrey Professor of Botany at Columbia University from 1911 until his retirement in 1930.

While Chief of the Board of Scientific Directors of the New York Botanical Garden in the 1920s, Harper conducted a series of experiments to find better methods of treating diseased plants. He wrote widely and belonged to many scientific organizations, among them the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Botanical Society of America. Harper died on May 12, 1946, in Bedford. Virginia, at the age of eighty-four.


The collection comprises materials relating to his professional career as a research botanist, including correspondence with scientific colleagues, lectures and notes, and materials on the Tropical Plant Research Foundation.


Series 1: Biographical information
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Subject files
Series 4: Tropical Plant Research Foundation

Series 1     Biographical information, 1910-1946 and undated
                   2 folders arranged chronologically

One file with general information and a photograph; and one with information relating to his honorary degree from Columbia University in 1929.

Series 2     Correspondence, 1912-1939
                   18 files, arranged alphabetically

Correspondence with scientific colleagues on a variety of subjects.

Series 3     Subject files, 1917-1934 and undated
                 4 files

On various scientific and organizational topics.

Series 4     Tropical Plant Research Foundation, 1925-1926 and undated
                 2 files

Memoranda and correspondence, including many with W.A. Orton, Director and General Manager and a photograph of a laboratory at Boruga, Cuba.


New York Botanical Garden

RG2    Records of the Board of Managers

RG4    Bernard Ogilvie Dodge Records

Processed June 2000 by Natalie S. Brody, Volunteer Archives Assistant.

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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