The collection consists of a manuscript, notes, and transparencies and negatives compiled around 1942 by American botanist
Joseph Ewan (1909-1999) for an unpublished flora of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California, and a small biographical
file on Ewan.
Joseph Andorfer Ewan was born in Philadelphia in 1909. His family moved to the Los Angeles area in 1912. In 1928, he studied
botany at the University of California Los Angeles and then transferred to Berkeley in 1933, where he received his Bachelor
of Arts and worked as assistant to Willis Linn Jepson on A Flora of California. He married Ada Nesta Dunn in 1935. They left
California in 1937 and moved to the University of Colorado Boulder, where Ewan worked as an instructor. During World War II,
he served in the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration in South America, and worked briefly at the Smithsonian and U.S. Department
of Agriculture. In 1947, Ewan was appointed Assistant Professor of Botany at Tulane University. He became Associate Professor
in 1952, Professor in 1957, and Chair of Botany in 1972. He retired in 1977. Over the course of his career, Ewan published
over 400 works, with a special focus on the history of botany in the United States. His systematic research interests included
Delphinium, Gentianaceae, Macrocarpaea, and Vismia. Along with his wife Nesta, Ewan also compiled a large library on natural
history, which was purchased by Missouri Botanical Garden in 1986. Ewan died in Mandeville, Louisiana in 1999.