This collection comprises the professional papers of Jean H. Langenheim, including
correspondence, notes, photographs, slides, and publications related to her research,
teaching, and other professional activities. Also included are correspondence, photographs,
and other materials related to her family, childhood, and early education.
Jean H. Langenheim was a plant ecologist and educator based in Santa Cruz, California. She
was born in 1925 in Homer, Louisiana to Jeanette Smith and Virgil Wilson Harmon. Her father
worked for the railroad which afforded her and her mother the opportunity to travel
throughout her childhood instilling a keen interest in the natural world, an interest which
her mother encouraged. As a highschool student she was introduced to the field of geology by
a teacher who inspired her to continue her scientific pursuits. She graduated from Tulsa
Central High School in 1943, and earned a BS in biology from the University of Tulsa in
1946. Despite constant challenges as one of few women working in the natural sciences at the
time, Langenheim earned an MS in 1949 and PhD in 1953, both in plant ecology from the
University of Minnesota. In 1946, she met a young geologist by the name of Ralph Langenheim,
Jr. The two married later that year, set upon pursuing their graduate studies in
partnership. The Langenheims worked together pursuing complementary research specialties,
Jean focusing on plant ecology and geology and Ralph on geology, as Phd candidates at the
University of Minnesota. The two continued this academic partnership after earning their
doctorates, working in tandem until the dissolution of their marriage in 1962.
24 Linear Feet
47 document boxes, 2 flats, 2 cartons
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