Preliminary Guide to the Rexford Daubenmire Papers 1922-1985

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections
Daubenmire, Rexford F.
Preliminary Guide to the Rexford Daubenmire Papers
Date [inclusive]
2.5 Linear feet of shelf space, 2 Boxes
(MASC Staff Use: 2-5-8-7)
Collection materials are in French
Most of the materials in this collection are Daubenmire's publications, many of which are numbered and total over a hundred.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Preliminary Guide to the Rexford Daubenmire Papers, 1922-1985 (MS.1997.05)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Rexford F. Daubenmire was born 12 December 1909 in Coldwater, Ohio. He graduated from Butler University with a bachelor's degree in 1930, the University of Colorado with a master's degree in 1932, and received a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1935 in botany under William S. Cooper. He subsequently taught at the University of Tennessee for a year then the University of Idaho for a decade before accepting a position with Washington State College (later Washington State University) in 1946. He remained with WSU for 29 years and was professor emeritus of botany after his retirement in 1975. Daubenmire also held short appointments with several other universities and agencies, including at the Organization of Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, the United States Forest Service, and the Sierra Club. Daubenmire was a member of the Pacific Northwest Science Association, the American Society of Range Management, and the Association of Southeastern Biologists. In 1967 he served as president of the Ecological Society of America and received the society's Eminent Ecologist Award in 1980, among other honors. Upon his retirement in 1975, Daubenmire moved to Florida with his wife, Jean, where he continued to research and publish until his death on 27 August 27 1995.

Daubenmire was widely recognized as one of the leading scholars in the field of plant ecology during his time. In the 1950s, he introduced a classification scheme for forest and grassland vegetation that the United States Forest Service later adopted. The Daubenmire system emphasized habitat, rather than what vegetation currently existed due to fire and human activity, such as ranching and farming, frequently altering native vegetation. Daubenmire also made significant contributions in explaining the relationship between vegetation and environmental conditions for a better understanding of ecological succession, the migration of plant species in North America over time, the range of tree species, and the impact of fire on plant communities.

Daubenmire published over 100 works in the field of plant ecology, including three widely used textbooks: "Plants and Environment: A Textbook of Plant Autecology," first published in 1947 and revised twice, served as standard text in agronomy, botany, and forestry classes and was translated into several languages, including Polish and Spanish; "Plant Communities: A Textbook of Plant Synecology," published in 1968, also became standard reference for ecologists; and finally "Plant Geography: with Special Reference to North America" published in 1978.

Known affectionately as "Dauby" by his former students, Daubenmire supervised over 35 doctoral and 18 master's students in the field of botany during his tenure at WSU, many of whom later took positions as professors and ecologists within universities and government organizations around the world. The Department of Botany and the School of Biological Sciences recognize Daubenmire's contribution to the field and to WSU with the Rexford Daubenmire Award in Botany. (see PC 122)

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Scope and Content

Most of the materials in this collection are Daubenmire's publications, many of which are numbered and total over a hundred. The collection also contains research materials pertaining to ecology and botany, mainly in the Pacific Northwest, but also addresses topics in Costa Rica, and includes notes, charts and graphs, articles, journals, as well as teaching materials. Additionally, the collection includes incoming correspondence, Daubenmire's curriculum vitae, a scrapbook from his graduate students, passports, photographs, conference programs and event pamphlets, a bound copy of his report "Vegetation of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho" for the Washington Agricultural Experiment Station, and awards from the Society of American Foresters, Northwest Scientific Association, Ecological Society of America, Society for Range Management, Sociological Society of America, and the Nature Conservancy.

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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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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2020

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available for research use.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Jean Daubenmire to the Washington State University Libraries in 1997 (MS1997.05).

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Related Materials

Related Material

Rexford F. Daubenmire papers (Cage 154)

Rexford F. Daubenmire papers (Cage 4485)

Rexford F. Daubenmire: Ecological Images (PC 122)

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Names and Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Washington State University -- Faculty -- Archives.

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Daubenmire, Rexford F. -- Archives.


  • Scientists -- Washington (State) -- Archives.
  • Science
  • Colleges and Universities

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