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Pool, Raymond J. (Raymond John), 1882-1967



Born near Wabash, Nebraska, on 23 April 1882, Raymond John Pool was the third of five brothers. He attended public school for a time in Plattsmouth and then completed his high school education at Weeping Water, Nebraska. Pool served in the 1st Infantry, Company D, of the Nebraska National Guard from 1901 to 1903, and he received an honorable discharge with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. During high school he met Charles Bessey, the noted Nebraska botanist and founder of the University of Nebraska's Botany Department. This early meeting and subsequent encouragement from his parents, William and Mary Pool, convinced Pool to pursue his interests in botany and forestry. Pool attended the University of Nebraska where, under the tutelage of Charles Bessey, he received his A.B. in 1907, A.M. in 1908, and Ph.D. in 1913. While attending the University of Nebraska, Pool met Martha (May) Strangland, whom he married on 30 June 1909.

Pool spent his career teaching botany at the University, beginning as an instructor of botany in 1907. In 1911, Pool became an assistant professor and curator of the University Herbarium. The University promoted him to Professor of Botany in 1914. Following Charles Bessey's death in 1915, Pool became Chairman of the Botany Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1948. Besides teaching at UNL, Pool taught at the University of Michigan's Biological Station in 1910. He also taught at Colorado State Teachers College in the summers from 1922 to 1924. After his retirement from UNL, Pool taught as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois, Carbondale, from 1955 to 1956.

Besides teaching, Pool had various other botanical and related scientific pursuits. He served as the Director of the State Botanical Survey of Nebraska from 1907 to 1948. Some of his early research focused on the effects of air pollution on plant growth. He served as a consultant to several large organizations engaged in smelting ores in the western United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 1920, the Federal Court in Utah appointed Pool to the Salt Lake Smelter Commission, where he examined the effects of air pollution on the Salt Lake Valley vegetation. Pool became an official delegate to the Fifth International Botanical Congress at Cambridge University, England, in 1930. He was active in a number of international, national, and local scientific societies and organizations, including the Ecological Society of America, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, and Phi Beta Kappa. Pool was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as President of the American Microscopical Society in 1941.

As a researcher and author, Pool wrote numerous articles and several books with vegetation as a central theme. Some of his best-known works include Flowers and Flowering Plants, Marching with the Grasses, and A Study of the Vegetation of the Sandhills of Nebraska. He received numerous awards, including the Lincoln Kiwanis Club Service Medal for Distinguished Service in 1954 and the Sons and Daughters of Nebraska Distinguished Service Medal in 1961. Posthumously, Pool was elected to the Builders of Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Pool died at the age of 84 on 2 February 1967.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Raymond J. Pool, Botany Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RG-12-07-12
Scope and Contents The papers of Raymond J. Pool relate to his work as a botanist and professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, and published materials by Pool, as well as botanical sketches and resource materials, class and field notes, and biographical items. Also included in the collection are photographs and negatives, lantern slides, and glass plate negatives. Of particular interest are the field notes and photographic materials related to his...
Dates: 1900-1967