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Annette [Hochberg] Hervey (1920-1980)

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Records of the Laboratory (RG5)
3 linear feet (4 boxes)


Annette [Hochberg] Hervey (1920-1980) was born in New York City on April 20, 1920. As a child she lived in the Bronx and attended Evander Childs High School, where she graduated first in her class in 1936. While at Evander Childs she was placed in Dr. Leon Hervey's biology class. he encouraged Hervey's interest in biology and he became a mentor and friend. In December of 1939, they were married. After high school she was accepted into Barnard College, where she majored in botany and took classes in bacteriology. She submitted her thesis The Morphological and Physiological Effects of Bacteria on Plants in 1940, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in June of that year.

Further encouraged by her husband, Hervey entered Smith College in the fall of 1940 for her Master' s degree. At Smith she held an appointment as a teaching fellow and became aquainted with Dr. Harold Rickett of The New York Botanical Garden. Also at Smith, Hervey pursued mycological and horticultural studies. In 1942, she was awarded her Master's degree, submitting a thesis entitled Methods of Separating the Mycelium of Phycomyces blakesleeanus from the Liquid and Solid Media in the Assay of Thiamin (Vitamin B1).

Upon her return to New York, Annette Hervey entered Columbia University to begin her doctoral work, where she requested permission to be Dr. William Robbins' graduate student. Dr. Robbins was the Director of The New York Botanical Garden, and Chairman of the Department of Botany at Columbia.

While at work on her own dissertation, Hervey published with Dr. Robbins four scientific papers. Her thesis, A Survey of Basidiomycetes for Anti-bacterial Activity, was published in 1947 in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. She was appointed Research Associate in 1947 and three years later she transferred to the Rockefeller Fund at Columbia University. In 1961 Hervey was promoted to Senior Research Associate.

When Dr. Robbins left the Garden in 1961 to become the Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation's International Science Activities division, Rockefeller University had offered him laboratory facilities. Dr. Hervey received permission from Dr. William Steere, Director of the Garden at the time, to spend a day or two a week at Rockefeller University, to continue the research initiated by Dr. Robbins at the Garden. Dr. Hervey was a member of the adjunct faculty of Rockefeller University (1979) and the partnership proved beneficial to both institutions.

Dr. Hervey's interests encompassed studies of antibiotic substances from basidiomycetous fungi; studies of nutritional and developmental characteristics of certain fungi and higher plants; and studies with plant tissue culture and orchids. She also studied and evaluated the use of mineral oil for preserving the Garden's stock culture collection of microorganisms

During her 37 years at The New York Botanical Garden, Dr. Hervey's involvement included teaching adult education courses and lecturing to garden clubs, science clubs, and college biology students. In 1971 she became the Coordinator of Special Programs in the Education Department.

Dr. Hervey belonged to the AAAS (Fellow), the American Institute of Biological Sciences, The Mycological Society of America, The Society of Protozoology, the American Society of Microbiology, the Society for Industrial Microbiology, and the Tissue Culture Association. She was a lifelong member of the Torrey Botanical Club, and their corresponding secretary for 20 years. She was elected president of the club in 1978 and served in 1979.

On December 9, 1979, Dr. Annette Hervey was admitted to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, where she died on January 28, 1980.


Dr. Hervey carried out research on natural growth substances in several fungi. Her research includes tissue-culture experiments and the antibacterial action and nutritional requirements of fungi. Her work included the evaluation of the mineral oil technique in preserving the stock culture collection of microorganisms and proved to be a successful method of long-term preservation. She collaborated with Dr. William Robbins until his death in 1978;as a result, their correspondence and research notebooks are mingled. The correspondence files include her scientific correspondence as a Research Associate, as well as her administrative correspondence as the Coordinator of Special Programs for the Education Department. Records include her laboratory notebooks from 1945 to 1947--before her appointment as research assistant--and her thesis dated 1947, although the bulk of the records represent her work as an employee at The New York Botanical Garden from 1947 until her death.


Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: New York Botanical Garden Administrative Papers
Series 3: Associations
Series 4: Research Notes and Laboratory Notebooks
Series 5: Grant Records
Series 6: Photographic Material

Series 1     Correspondence, 1959-1980
                    7 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.

This series includes correspondence pertaining to Hervey's research on antibacterial action on fungi, normal and abnormal plant growth, tissue culture from higher plants, toxicity of water stored in polyethylene bottles, and coleus and orchid research, as well as the letters from the general public inquiring about the Education Department services or culture samples. Prominent correspondents include Joshua Lederberg, President of Rockefeller University, and  Richard Goodwin, President of the Conservation and Research Foundation.

Series 2     New York Botanical Garden Administrative Papers
                    1.5 lin. in.

Included in this series are annual reports for the years 1959-1980, documenting the research Dr. Hervey oversaw in the Laboratories, budget reports, account information, internal memoranda and correspondence about tenure.

Series 3     Associations
                    0.75 lin. in.

Dr. Hervey belonged to numerous professional associations, and this series contains correspondence and membership information on associations and organizations including the Botanical Society of America, the Mycological Society of America, the First International Congress, the Tissue Culture Association, and the Torrey Botanical Club.

Series 4     Research Notes and Laboratory Notebooks
                    1.5 lin. ft.

Included in this series are research notes on the following: Morchella; investigations on unique collections of fungi cultivated as a major food source for some species of leaf-cutting ants; fungi being screened for antibiotic activity; problems relating to the improvement and survival of the orchid collections; research on coleus; and experiments on normal and abnormal growth of plants, including tumors.

Series 5     Grant Records
                    3 lin. in.

Grant proposals and reviewers' comments from the National Science Foundation and the American Philosophical Society are contained in this series. Includes proposals to investigate

Series 6     Photographic Material
                    10 lin. in.

Series 6 comprises 35mm slides of higher plants, fungi, and, in particular, Bryophyllum alcineum. Most slides are unidentified and unarranged.


Records were transferred from the Laboratory to the archives by Bernice (Bunny) Winkler, Dr. Hervey's secretary.


The New York Botanical Garden

RG5    Records of William Robbins

RG5    Records of Alma Barksdale

RG3    Records of the Director in Chief, William Robbins

Processed January 1999 by Susan Fraser.

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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