Preliminary Guide to the Wilhelm Suksdorf Papers circa 1880s-circa 1920s.

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Suksdorf, Wilhelm
Preliminary Guide to the Wilhelm Suksdorf Papers
Date [inclusive]
circa 1880s-circa 1920s.
2.0 oversize flat boxes.
Location note
(MASC staff use) 2-14-12-1.
Botanical notes of botanist Wilhelm Suksdorf.

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Biographical/Historical note

Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf (1850-1932) was a renowned botanist of the Pacific Northwest during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was born in Holstein, Germany, and immigrated to Iowa as a small child. A few years after moving to the Midwest, the Suksdorf family moved to Bingen, Washington. Working on the family farm as a boy, Suksdorf became interested in the plant life around him and began collecting specimens. He entered the University of California in the mid-1870s, where he communicated with and sent his specimens to Dr. Asa Gray of Harvard, considered by many to be the most important American botanist of the nineteenth century. Gray was impressed with Suksdorf's work and in 1886, invited him to the Gray Herbarium at Harvard for the next two years to be his assistant. Gray even named a plant genus after Suksdorf, Suksdorfia. Following Gray's death in 1888, Suksdorf returned to his home in Klickitat County where he continued working as a botanist until his death.

His private herbarium contained around 25,000 specimens, which were donated to Washington State University following his death. Suksdorf discovered and named many plants, and in 1892 made the first list of flowering plants and ferns of Washington. From 1896 until 1931, he continued to contribute to the discovery and classification of plants in the Northwest, publishing much of his findings. On October 3, 1932, he was killed by a train at a railway station in his hometown of Bingen.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of checklists, notes, and manuscripts of botanist Wilhelm Suksdorf.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries 2018-08-02
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The Ownbey Herbarium at Washington State University transferred this collection to the Libraries in 1984 (MS.1984.14).

Processing Information note

This is an unprocessed collection. Any arrangement reflects either a pre-existing order from the records' creators or previous custodians, or preliminary sorting performed by staff.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf Papers, 1867-1935 (Cage 315).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Washington State University--Faculty--Archives.


  • Botanists--Washington (State)--Archives


  • Agriculture

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