Cyrus Pringle Herbarium
      The Pringle Herbarium                                             
                  The Plant Biology Department at the University of Vermont                        




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            Overview of our Collection

             Profiles of Important Collections

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             Life of Cyrus Guernsey Pringle

             History of Torrey Hall

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Profiles of Important Collections



The Collections of Cyrus Guernsey Pringle: Cyrus Guernsey Pringle is the most significant contributor to Pringle Herbarium. He began his collections of Vermont's flora in the early 1870s. Pringle became acquainted with Asa Gray of Harvard University and Edward Tuckerman of Amherst College, for whom he began collecting plants. Gray also sparked his interest in exchanges of sheets with local and distant collectors. In addition, Charles James Sprague of the Boston Natural History Society requested Pringle to collect lichens, and Dr. Peck asked him to collect fungi. In 1880, he discontinued collecting in the Northeast and began three simultaneous commissions for work in the southwestern U.S. and the Pacific Slope. These were 1) To obtain wood specimens for the completion of the Jessup collection for the American Museum of Natural History 2) To make general collections under Asa Gray's direction and 3) To collect botanical data on the forests in that region for the U.S. Census Department; these projects continued over the next four years.

In 1885, through a combination of funding from the Harvard Botanical Museum and the Gray Herbarium, Pringle was hired to begin cataloging the plants of Mexico, because little botanical work had ever been done there. This work would continue over the next 26 years, years in which he ended up botanizing 21 of the 27 states of Mexico. On his trips to and from Mexico, Pringle always made a point to take different routes; he was thus able to further enrich his collections as he passed through a diversity of terrains in both the U.S. and Mexico.

By the time Pringle passed away in 1911, the botanical work he had done was astounding. He had distributed to various herbaria (including his own), some 500,000 sheets of about 20,000 species. These include 29 genera new to science, 1,200 new species, 100 new varieties, and 4 new combinations, more than almost any other collector. At the time of his death, Pringle Herbarium included approximately 155,000 sheets: a combination of his own collections and the rich diversity of materials he received in exchange. Among the institutions from which Pringle received exchange materials are the British Museum, Berlin, Kew Gardens, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Calcutta and also French, Swiss, Austrian and South African herbaria.

                       




Frederick Sellow Collection and Allied Materials (exchange from the Berlin Herbarium): Perhaps the most important exchange program Pringle maintained was with the herbarium at Berlin-Dalhem. As a result, a substantial set (we estimate it to be ca. 3,000 sheets) of materials of significant German collectors, especially from the New World tropics, are maintained in the collection. The destruction of the flowering-plant section of the herbarium at Berlin in World War II makes these collections particularly significant. Prominent among these collections is a substantial set of collections made by Sellow, who was among the first Europeans to collect in Brazil (ca. 1815). His collections in particular are regularly requested. Other notable early collectors from tropical America include Buchtien, Wright, and Palmer.

Charles Frost Herbarium: Charles Frost was a mycologist who was active in the Brattleboro, Vermont area in the 1840s. He was an early and important student on eastern North American fungi, especially the boletes. His collection of about 2,000 specimens is housed entirely at Pringle Herbarium: it is one of the few herbaria that remain separated from the main collection, as it is housed in a historically valuable manner—the small dry-goods boxes left over from Frost's primary employment as a shoemaker.





Ezra Brainerd Collection (Middlebury College Herbarium): Ezra Brainerd, a past president of Middlebury College, was a plant systematist specializing in the difficult genera Cretaegus, Viola, and Rubus. The vouchers for his research on these genera, along with a high-quality general herbarium from New England and New York, formed the basis for the Middlebury College Herbarium. In 1950, Middlebury College transferred 3,000 sheets, including all of Brainerd's collections and about 100 types, to Pringle Herbarium.











Nellie F. Flynn Collection (Goddard College Herbarium):
Nellie Flynn was a prominent Vermont botanist and author of a revision of The Flora of Vermont; she was active in the early 1900s. She assembled an impressive collection of plants from the Burlington, Vermont area, and at the suggestion of L.R. Jones, wrote the Flora of Burlington and Vicinity: A List of the Fern and Seed Plants Growing Without Cultivation
. She was an invested and productive plant collector, documenting not only the local flora but assembling collections from Massachusetts, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Canada, Cuba, the Bahamas, Switzerland, England, France, Italy and Morocco. Her collections from Nantucket, Massachusetts are among her largest and serve as baseline information for stewardship and systematic work on the Sand Islands at the Wisconsin terminal moraine. In 1956, Pringle Herbarium acquired the Nellie Flynn Herbarium holdings from Goddard College as a permanent loan. This increased the holdings of Pringle Herbarium by another 22,700 specimens.








Frank C. Seymour Collection: Frank Seymour, attracted to the Pringle Herbarium by H.W. Vogelmann, was curator from 1967 to 1973. A prodigious collector, he solidified the herbarium's twin specializations on tropical American and Vermont flora with extensive collections from across northern New England and Central America. In the course of his major revision of The Flora of Vermont (4th edition), he documented the distribution of the majority of the species known from Vermont. Seymour was also instrumental in bringing the collection from its earlier disarray into a cohesive and integrated herbarium. In his time at Pringle Herbarium, he added 15,700 sheets.

Leopold A. Charette Collection: Leopold Charette served as assistant curator to Vogelmann and Seymour from
the late 1950s through 1970. During his tenure, he made substantial collections in Japan and China (Pringle Herbarium holds ca. 5,300 of his sheets); he also developed an exchange program to accession a diverse set of additional plants from the same region. Charette was equally important in the task of making most of the sheets in Pringle Herbarium accessible and available for study. Furthermore, we are indebted to Mr. Charette for organizing the voluminous Pringle archival materials.

Bates College Herbarium: In 1981, Pringle Herbarium purchased the herbarium collection from Bates College (BCL), an acquisition of about 20,000 sheets (Index Herbariorum is incorrect). A substantial portion of this collection has since been integrated into Pringle Herbarium. The Bates collection includes documentation of the flora of Maine as well as apparent exchange materials from the Gray Herbarium and the New York Botanical Gardens. It also has strong representation of the European flora.

William Countryman Collection: William Countryman was a professional biologist with a broad diversity of interests across the kingdoms of living things. He ran both a botanical consultant business and a horticultural enterprise;
for many years, he specialized in peonies out of his home in Northfield, Vermont. Bill was a life-long collector; his personal herbarium of about 15,000 sheets, with a strong regional focus on Vermont and adjacent New York, was donated to the Pringle Herbarium by his wife, Anne, in 2006. The abundant duplicates in this collection were distributed widely in exchange in the following four years.

                          



Peter F. Zika Collection:
Peter Zika received his undergraduate degree in botany at the University of Vermont in 1983. He is currently a botanist for the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon. During his time as an undergraduate and in the several years thereafter he made a substantial investment in documenting and improving our collections of the Vermont flora. His original interest was in the alpine flora: he was the first person since Pringle to certify the occurrence of many of the rarer species at high altitudes in Vermont. His interests broadened to include the flora of the entire state, and working together with Jerry Jenkins, a productive consultant systematist here, has developed a high-quality checklist for the flora of Vermont based on modern circumscription of species. This work continues to be an interest of Zika's in spite of his geographical separation from us. There are some 7,500 sheets of mounted Zika material at the herbarium and an additional 2,000 awaiting accession.








Steven R. Hill Collection:
Dr. Steven R. Hill is a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, with research interests in the systematics of the Malvaceae, the flora of Dominica and the Lesser Antilles, the floristics of the eastern U.S. and the threatened and endangered vascular plants of Illinois. He has held several herbarium positions, including Curator of the University of Maryland (MARY) and Clemson University (CLEMS) herbaria. Dr. Hill is an extraordinarily active collector in an era of decreased emphasis on documenting flora, with over 35,000 lifetime numbers. He has chosen the Pringle Herbarium as the permanent repository for The Hill Herbarium (SRH), which has already led to adding substantially (20,000+) to our New World temperate and tropical holdings, with recent high-quality documentation of the flora from throughout the region. Dr. Hill has expressed a desire to donate his extensive library and remaining collections to our herbarium.

Other Collections: Numerous smaller collections, especially of Vermont botanists, have been incorporated into the Pringle Herbarium, including materials from David Barrington (complete), Maude Chisholm, Hugo Churchill (complete), Conzatti, Dutton, Eggleston, M.L. Fernald, Arthur Gilman, L.R. Jones, Munroe, Henry Perkins, Henry Potter (complete),
A.J. Sharp, H.H. Smith, Elizabeth Thompson, and Hub Vogelmann.