Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Langenheim, Jean H. Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Processing Information

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Jean H. Langenheim papers
    source: Langenheim, Jean H.
    Creator: Langenheim, Jean H.
    Identifier/Call Number: UA.068
    Physical Description: 24 Linear Feet 47 document boxes, 2 flats, 2 cartons
    Physical Description: 5.03 GB 519 digital files
    Date (inclusive): 1899-2021
    Language of Material: English

    Access restrictions

    Collection open for research. Audiovisual media is unavailable until reformatted. Digital files are available in the UCSC Special Collections and Archives reading room. Some files may require reformatting before they can be accessed. Technical limitations may hinder the Library's ability to provide access to some digital files. Access to digital files on original carriers is prohibited; users must request to view access copies. Contact Special Collections and Archives in advance to request access to audiovisual media and digital files.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright for the items in this collection is owned by the creators and their heirs. Reproduction or distribution of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether a use is fair use, and to obtain any necessary permissions. For more information see UCSC Special Collections and Archives policy on Reproduction and Use.

    Preferred Citation

    Jean H. Langenheim Papers, UA 68. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Jean Langenheim in several installments, 2011-2020.


    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.
    After coming to the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1966, Langenheim studied the evolution of resins as amber; and the chemical ecology of resin-producing trees, particularly in the tropics. The first woman to be promoted to full professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Langenheim was also the first female faculty member in the natural sciences at UCSC, and the first woman to be chosen to be a UCSC faculty research lecturer.
    Langenheim performed interdisciplinary research in the fields of plant ecology, paleobotany, chemistry, and ethnobotany. She published over 130 scientific papers and several books, including the definitive reference work, Plant Resins: Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology and Ethnobotany (Timber Press, 2003). She conducted ecological field expeditions in western regions of the United States, southern Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Venezuela, Kenya, Angola, Ghana, and parts of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Langenheim was awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society, and several other granting agencies over the course of her career.
    Langenheim has a long history of service, participating in the Girl Scouts as a child and serving as the first woman President of the Community Council of the University of Tulsa while an undergraduate. Throughout her career she served in leadership roles for a variety of professional organizations and UCSC committees. She served as the first woman president of the Association for Tropical Biology (1985), and the International Society for Chemical Ecology (1986-1987), as well as the second woman president of the Ecological Society of America (1986-1987), and the Society of Economic Botany (1993-1994). She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards from the California Academy of Sciences, the Botanical Society of America, the Ecological Society of America, and other scientific organizations.
    Before becoming Professor of Biology at UCSC in 1974, Langenheim held research and teaching positions at various institutions (see biobibliography below for details). She taught UCSC residential college courses from 1966-1978, and sponsored numerous graduate students in Biology. She remained active as an emeritus until 2010. Langenheim endowed a Chair in Plant Ecology and Evolution at UCSC in 2006, and a Graduate Fellowship also in Plant Ecology and Evolution in 2004. In 2010, she published a memoir, The Odyssey of a Woman Field Scientist , which is available via the Library Catalog.
    Also see Langenheim's biobibliography for a full listing of her academic history, publications, professional activity, and more: Jean H. Langenheim biobibliography  .

    Scope and Content of Collection

    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.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Kate Dundon in 2014. Digital files processed by Kate Dundon in 2021.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Women botanists
    Faculty papers
    Botanists -- United States -- Archives
    Langenheim, Jean H.