Biographical & Historical Sketch
Scope and Content
Call Number: SC0558
Dudley, William Russel
Title: William Russel Dudley papers
10 Linear feet
Summary: Papers include field notes, a diary, manuscripts, articles and
reprints, maps, and correspondence; most of the field notes relate to California, with
occasional later annotations by other botanists. Some of the material relates to Big
Basin Redwoods State Park and the Sierra Club. The diary is from a tour of the
California missions from December 27, 1895 to January 7, 1896 and includes photographs.
Correspondents include Michael Schuck Bebb, Frederick V. Coville, Elias Durand, Alice
Eastwood, Gifford Pinchot, C. O. Thurston, Charles Frederick Millspaugh, Charles Sprague
Sargent, and J. H. B. Pilkington. There is also a large correspondence file on
California forest fires of 1899.
Language(s): The materials are in English.
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Stanford University. Libraries & Academic Information Resources
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This collection is open for research.
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William Russel Dudley Papers (SC0558). Department of Special Collections and
University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
1. An Abnomlal Orchid. Abstract from the Proc. of the Amer. Ass'n. for the Adv.
of Sci., Vol. 32, August, 1883.
2. Another Disease of the Strawberry. December, 1889.
3. Big Basin Redwood Park. Forester, July, 1901, 7: 157.
4. The Big Trees of California. Forester, September, 1900.
5. The Cayuga Flora. Bull. of Cornell Univ., 1886.
6. Charles Christopher Frost. Jr. Of Mycology, Vol. 2, 10 (October,
7. The Clover Rust . December, 1890.
8. Concerning the Vitality of Sequoia sempervirens. Palo Alto Times, March 17,
9. The Death of Dr. DeBary. Bot. Gaz., Vol.13 : 64.
10. Directions for Laboratory Study. Anatomy and Histology of Plants. Cornell
11 Elias Magnus Fries. Jr. of Mycology, Vol. 2, August, 1886.
12. First Steps in the Study of Botany. The Educationist, Vol. 2, July,
13. Flora of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys, 1892. (With Charles O.
14. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., 1901-02.
15. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., January, June, 1902-4: 71-14;
10. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., June, 1903-4: 71,173, 246, 319.
17. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., January,1904-5: 82-85.
18. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., January,1905-5: 265-70.
19. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., 1905-1906.
20. Forestry Notes. Sierra Club Bull., June, 1908-6: 334-36.
21. The Geuus Phyllospadix, Wilder quarter Ceutury Book, Ithaca, N. Y.,
22. The Hollyhock Rust. December, 1890.
23. A Laboratory Manual of Plant Histology. Crawfordsville, Ind. (1894). (With
M. B. Thomas.)
24. Leafy Berries in Mitchella repens. Bull. of the Torrey Bot. Club, January,
1883, Vol.10: 1.
25. Lumbering in the Sequoia National Park. The Forester, December
26. Near the Kern's Grand Canon. Sierra Club Bull., June, 1903, Vol. 4:
27. A Notable California Fir, Abies venusta. Forestry and Irrigation, May, 1902,
28. The Onion Mold. December, 1889.
29. Phyllospadix. Its Systematic Characters and Distribution. Extract from Zoe.,
February 26, 1894.
30. A preliminary List of the Vascular Plants of the Lackawanna anc1 Wyoming
Valleys. In Lackawanna Institute of History and Science, Proc. & Coll., Vol. 1:
31. Report of the Cryptogamic Botanist.
32. Sketch of Curtis. Jr. of Mycology, May 1886, Vol. 2: 5.
33. Strassburg and its Botanical Laboratory. Bot. Gaz., December, 1888, Vol. 13:
34. The Strawyberry Leaf-blight.
35. Trees along the Tulare Trails. Sierra Club Bull., June, 1902 (Vol. 4: 153-
36. The Vitality of Sequoia gigantea. Read before the Alumni Association of
Columbia University, January, 1905.
37. Zonal distribution of trees and shrubs in the Southern Sierra. Sierra Club
Bull., June, 1901, 3: 298-31 2.
Biographical & Historical Sketch
William Russel Dudley earned his bachelor's (1874) and master's (1876) degrees in botany
at Cornell University; after graduation he pursued botanical study in Strassburg and
Berlin. He taught at Cornell and Indiana University before joining the Stanford faculty
in 1892. Once at Stanford, his work focused on California flora, with a special interest
in the study of trees; he was instrumental in the establishment of the Big Basin
Redwoods State Park.
[Reprinted from SCIENCE, N.S., Vol. XXXIV., No. 866, Pages 142- 145, August 4, 1911]
William Russel Dudley, professor of systematic botany in Stanford University, was born
on a farm in North Guilford, Conll., on :iUarch 1, 1849, and died at Los Altos, Cal., on
June 4, 1911. The fact that the writer has been intimately associated with Professor
Dudley since the day he entered the freshman class at Cornell University, in September,
1870, will perhaps excuse the personal element in this little sketch. The word"
instructor" as a technical term, describing a minor assistant to a professor, had just
then been invented, and the present writer had just been appointed "instructor in
botany" under Professor Albert N. Prentiss.
One day, Professor Henry T. Eddy, now of Minnesota, brought to me a tall, well-built,
handsome and refined young man, older and more mature than most freshmen, and with more
serious and definite purposes. Young Dudley had an intense delight in out-door things
and especially in flowers and birds. He wanted to be a botanist, and had turned from old
Yale, to which as a descendant of Chittendens, Griswolds and Dudleys he would naturally
have gone, to new Cornell, because Cornell offered special advantages in science, and
because at Cornell a good man could, if need be, pay his own way. For the rest of my
stay at Cornell, Dudley was my room-mate, living in a cottage on the hill, built by
students and termed "University Grove." In this cottage was established the
boarding-club, known later and appropriately as " The Struggle for Existence," and in
later and more economical times as the " Strug." For a time, Dudley paid his way by
rising at four o'clockto milk cows at the farm . Later he was made botanical collector,
and this congenial .work he kept up until he became my successor as instructor in
botany. In college Dudley was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, and took an
active part in holding this society to the high ideals (dikaia upotheke) on which it was
originally based. He was also a charter member in the honorary scientific society of
Sigma Xi (spoudon xunones).
In 1871 I went with him to his home at North Guilford, and I remember that his practical
father said to me: 'There comes Willie across the fields with his hands full of flowers,
just as he used to. I wonder if there is any way he can make a living by it.
Dudley graduated from Cornell in 1874, with the degree of B.S. In 1876, he received the
degree of M.S., after which he spent some time in botanical study in Strassburg and
Berlin. From 1872 to 1876 he was instructor in botany at Cornell, his eminent knowledge
of the eastern flora overbalancing the fact that at first he had not yet received a
degree. From 1876 to 1892 he was assistant professor of botany at Cornell, with a year's
absence in 1880, in which he served as acting professor of biology in the University of
Indiana, in the absence of the present writer, who then held that chair.
In 1892, Professor Dudley became professor of systematic botany at Stanford University,
which position he held until, in January, 1911, failing health caused his retirement on
the Carnegie Foundation as professor emeritus, his work being then taken by one of his
students, Associate Professor Le Roy Abrams. Many of the leading botanists of the
country have been students of Professor Dudley. H. E. Copeland, Kellerman, Lazenby,
Branner were among his associates at Cornell. Atkins became his successor at Cornell.
Abrams, Cook, Elmer, Olssen-Seffer, Cannon, Wight, E. B. Copeland, E. G. Dudley,
Greeley, Herre, McMurphy and many others were under his tutelage at Stanford.
In Stanford University, Dudley was one of the most respected as well as best beloved
members of the faculty. No one could come near to him without recognizing the extreme
refinement of his nature; a keen intellect, an untiring joy in his chosen work, and the
Puritan conscience at its best, with clear perceptions of his own duties to himself and
a generous recognition of the rights and the aspirations of others.
Dudley entered with great joy into the study of the California flora. He became
especially interested in the study of trees, the evolutionary relations of forms and
especially the problems of geographical distribution. The conifers of California were
his special delight, and he made many field trips with his students to all parts of the
state, notably to the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra Santa Lucia. His extended collections
were presented to Stanford University, where with the collections of Dr. Abrams they
form the major part of the large" Dudley Herbarium."
A genus of stone-crops, of many species, abounding on the cliffs of California and
especially on those which overhang the sea, was named Dudleay by Britton and Rose.
Dudley pulverulenta is one of the most conspicuous plants in California wherever "sea
and mountains meet."
Dudley was instrumental in inducing the state of California to purchase a forest of
redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), that this, the second of California's giant trees,
might be preserved in a state of nature. Two thousand five hundred acres in the "Big
Basin" of Santa Cruz County were thus bought and established as the "Sempervirens Park."
For several years Dudley served on the board of control of this park.
Of the Sierra Club of California, Dudley was a leading member and for some years a
As an investigator, Professor Dudley was persistent and accurate, doing his work for the
love of it. A partial list of his papers is given below. A large work on the conifers of
the west was long projected, but still exists only in uncompleted manuscript.
Dudley was master of a quiet and refined but effective English style. He was one of
thpse scientific men, too few I fear, who have real love for literature, and who
understand what poetry is and what it is about. In his early days he wrote graceful
Professor Dudley's health was good until about three years ago, when he set out to study
the trees of Persia. In Egypt he was attacked by a severe cold or bronchitis which ended
He was never, married.
Scope and Content
Papers include field notes, a diary, manuscripts, articles and reprints, maps, and
correspondence; most of the field notes relate to California, with occasional later
annotations by other botanists. Some of the material relates to Big Basin Redwoods State
Park and the Sierra Club. The diary is from a tour of the California missions from
December 27, 1895 to January 7, 1896 and includes photographs. Correspondents include
Michael Schuck Bebb, Frederick V. Coville, Elias Durand, Alice Eastwood, Gifford
Pinchot, C. O. Thurston, Charles Frederick Millspaugh, Charles Sprague Sargent, and J.
H. B. Pilkington. There is also a large correspondence file on California forest fires
The materials are arranged in six series: Series 1: General Correspondence; Series 2:
Subject Files Series; 3: Biographical and Personal Papers; Series 4: Class materials,
lecture notes, and manuscript articles; Series 5: Field Notes and Research Notes Series
6: Oversize publications and maps.
Dudley, William Russel, 1849-1911