Library of the Gray Herbarium

Library of the Gray Herbarium

GEORGE THURBER (1821-1890) AND WILLIAM MUNRO (1818-1880)



George Thurber was a self-educated botanist and chemist who first worked as a pharmacist. He served as botanist of the U.S. Boundary Commission (which surveyed the boundary between the United States and Mexico) from 1850-1854. After leaving the commission, he earned a master's in chemistry at Brown. He went through a succession of different jobs until he become editor of American Agriculturist, a position he held for 22 years. He was an expert on grasses and left an uncompleted manuscript on American Grasses at his death.

William Munro made his career in the British army, entering in 1834 and advancing to the rank of general in 1878. He served in India, the Crimea and the West Indies. In his spare time he studied botany, collecting plants in India in the 1840's and in Barbados, 1870-1875. He become an authority on grasses and was planning to contribute a monograph on bamboo to DeCandolle's Prodromus at the time of his death.


Bull Torrey Club 17: 204-210
Desmond, Ray. Dictionary of British and Irish Botanist and Horticulturist Gard Chron II 13: 169


Scope and Content:

The collection consists of a scrapbook containing manuscript material of Thurber and Munro and a notebook which contains a copy of the scrapbook material in Sereno Watson's handwriting, with the addition of an index. The scrapbook contains two letters from Munro to Thurber, 1858 and 1859; Munro's notes on Thurber's grasses (leaves 1-11); and Thurber's notes on Gramineae of the Mexican boundary (leaves 12-136).



The scrapbook has a label inside the front cover stating that it was bought. It must have been acquired before 1892 (the year of Watson's death). The copy was most likely made by Watson at the Gray Herbarium, so it probable dates from after 1870, and it probably simply remained here after Watson's death.


Indexed in Main File under:
Thurber, George
Munro, William
Watson, Sereno


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