John William Harshberger, 1869 - 1929,
Papers, 1886 - 1929
UPT 50 H313
4 Cubic ft.
Prepared by Kaiyi Chen
Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.
Transferred from Yale University in 1977, from Jane Snyder (for Joan Gotwals) in 1989, and from the David Bishop Skillman Library of Lafayette College in 1995.
The papers of John William Harshberger have been organized into four series. They are Personal papers, 1886-1929; Lectures and notes, 1915; Manuscripts, 1925-1929; and Publications, 1892-1929. The manuscripts and publications have been arranged chronologically.
John W. Harshberger was born in Philadelphia on January 1, 1869. He graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1888 and entered the University of Pennsylvania the same year. While at Penn, he showed great interest in plant life and received a certificate of proficiency in biology in 1890. During the summer of 1890 Harshberger studied the trees and shrubs in the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. In the following fall, before completing his undergraduate requirements, he was appointed Assistant Instructor in Botany at Penn. Harshberger and a group of enthusiastic Penn undergraduates founded the University Naturalists Field Club in 1891. In 1892 Harshberger obtained his B.S.; he received his Ph.D. the next year.
Upon graduation, the University appointed him Instructor in botany, biology and zoology. The University promoted Harshberger to the rank of Assistant Professor in 1907 and Professor of Botany in 1911. Simultaneously he held teaching positions with the American Society for Extension of University Teaching (1896) and the Pennsylvania Farmers' Institute (1904-1906). In addition, Harshberger directed the nature study at the Pocono Pines Summer School from 1903 to 1908, the section of ecology at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, for ten summers from 1913 to 1922, and the botanical work of the Maria Mitchell Association on the Island of Nantucket, during the summers of 1914 and 1915.
As a botanist, Harshberger traveled widely in North America. He botanized in Eastern and Northwestern states, Southern Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Utah, and California. Overseas, his research trips extended through Europe, Brazil, Argentine, Chile and Mexico.
Harshberger was a member of the American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Natural History Society, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, and many other academic societies. He served as president of both the Botanical Society of Pennsylvania (1921-1929) and the Pennsylvania chapter of the Wild Flower Preservation Society. He died in 1929.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
This collection, 1886-1929, primarily documents the professional activities and career of John W. Harshberger, a well-known botanist at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Personal papers, though small in size, include several interesting files--Harshberger's autobiography, a high school catalog, a family photo album and two sets of drawings. Harshberger attached numerous notes and clippings to his autobiography. These attachments contain important biographical and bibliographical information. His high school catalog contains information on Central High School of Philadelphia as well as Harshberger's grade reports.
His career may be traced through his lectures and notes on plant geography and ecology, his manuscripts, and his publications. These publications consist of articles and reprints (1892-1929) as well as monographs (1893 to 1920). Harshberger interleaved many of the monographs with notes and clippings added after the book was published. These represented Harshberger's new findings from his research and teaching, which he expected to incorporate in future editions.