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University of Nebraska--Lincoln. Botanical Seminar



The Botanical Seminar (Sem. Bot.) idea was originated in the autumn of 1886 by seven students, two juniors, two sophomores, and three freshmen who had been brought together by a common interest in botanical field work (among them were: Roscoe Pound, J.G. Smith, J.R. Schofield, H.J. Webber, and J.A. Williams). Several of them were not even primarily interested in botany but in the freedom from red tape, the encouragement to work at any time upon anything, and the free access to books that prevailed in the department of botany.  The incomparable teaching power of Professor Bessey soon drew them all firmly into botanical study. For two years, there was no regular program of work and no recognized organization.

On October 11, 1888 the first regular secret meeting was held, at which a paper was read by one member. Subsequent meetings were held throughout the school year. Between 1891 and 1906 the membership grew considerable and the meetings were open.

The years from 1891 to 1899 were most significant in the history of Sem. Bot.  During those years, the botanical survey of Nebraska was undertaken, the Flora of Nebraska was published, and lectures of note were brought to the University and their addresses were printed.

Professor Charles E. Bessey provided the inspiration for varied activities of Sem. Bot. After his death in 1915, Professor Raymond J. Pool took over. Sem. Bot. carried on in its mission until it went out of existence, probably in the late 1930s.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Botanical Seminar, Student Life Records

 Collection — Box Realia 001: [Barcode: R0241971466]
Identifier: RG-12-07-05
Scope and Contents

The records of the Sem. Bot. include a constitution, by-laws, examination questions and selected examples of membership exams, publications, and photographs. The histories detail the organizations creation and activities. With these items is a 1934 letter written by Roscoe Pound on the possibility of "nationalizing" the seminar.

Dates: 1886-1935 and undated