Library of the Gray Herbarium

Library of the Gray Herbarium




David LeRoy Topping was born on Nov. 2, 1861 (Barnhart says Nov. 1, 1881, but I believe this is incorrect) in North Harpersfield, N.Y. He worked in treasury and auditing divisions of the Philippine government for twenty years , ending in 1922. His Philippine service was interrupted by time in Siberia working for the American Red Cross after World War I. When he retired from the Philippine government, he moved to Hawaii, where he spent the rest of his life. he died in Honolulu in July, 1939 (one source says July 20, another says July 29).

Topping was an active amateur naturalist. He collected plants, especially ferns, in a number of locations, including upper New York state, Washington, D.C. and vicinity, the Philippines, Borneo, Siberia, Japan, China, India and Hawaii. His herbarium went to the U.S. National Herbarium, and a set of his ferns is at the Gray Herbarium. he was a charter member of the Hawaii Academy of Science.


Barnhart, John Hendly. Biographical Notes upon Botanist.
Obituary. Bishop museum Special Publication 34 (proceedings of the Hawaiian Academy of Science, 14th Annual Meeting, 1938-1939): 32.
Clipping pasted on inside from cover of notebook (below), source not given.


Scope and Content:

The Topping papers consist of a bound notebook containing lists of plants collected by Topping; a diary of a trip to Kina Balu, British North Borneo, Oct. 2, 1915 - Dec.13, 1915; and a few pressed leaves and flowers. There are 199 numbered pages in the notebook, a number of which are blank. The plant lists and clippings are both loosely inserted and pasted into the first part of the book; the diary takes up pages 100-175; and ten pressed plants are scattered throughout the book. A letter from E.D. Merrill to C.A. Weatherby dated Nov. 1, 1940, is tipped in at the beginning.

Note: Rev. Joseph and Mary Strong Clemens accompanied Topping on the trip to Borneo and are frequently mentioned in the diary. It is not clear exactly who else went.



The Topping notebook was given to the Gray Herbarium by Otto Degener by way of Elmer D. Merrill in 1940.




Indexed in Main File under:
Topping, David Leroy (1861-1939)
Clemens, Joseph, Rev. (1862-1936)
Clemens, Mary Knapp (née Strong) (1873-)


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