Guide to the Vernon and Mary Cheadle Papers

Laurie Hannah, Lindsey Hashimoto, and Sarah Vitone
Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration
University of California, Santa Barbara
Harder South 9615
Santa Barbara, California 93106-9615
Phone: (805) 893-2401
Fax: (805) 893-4222
© 2008
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Vernon and Mary Cheadle papers
Dates: 1936-1994
Collection number: MS-07
Creator: Cheadle, Vernon Irvin, 1910-
Creator: Cheadle, Mary Low
Collection Size: 11 linear feet 4 record storage boxes, 14 photo boxes, 4 binders
Repository: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
Abstract: Correspondence, teaching materials, research materials, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts documenting Vernon and Mary Cheadle's years when Vernon was Professor of Botany at UC Davis and when he was Chancellor at UCSB.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, UC Santa Barbara. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Cheadle Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

Vernon and Mary Cheadle papers, MS-07, Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration. University of California, Santa Barbara.

Acquisition Information

Papers transferred from the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, University of California, Santa Barbara, to the UC Santa Barbara Library Department of Special Research Collections, August, 2016.

Processing Information

Arrangement and description of this collection was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Biography / Administrative History

Vernon Irvin Cheadle was both an academician and administrator at several colleges and universities across the country, but he is best known for his role as Chancellor of UCSB from 1962 to 1977. Cheadle was born in Salem, South Dakota on February 6, 1910. As a high-school and college student, he competed in track and field events and was also a member of the basketball and football teams. He attended South Dakota State University for one year before transferring to Miami University where he received a B.S. (magna cum laude) in 1932. In 1932 he was accepted to Harvard University and he received an M.S. in 1934 and his Ph.D. in botany in 1936 under the mentorship of Ralph H. Wetmore. After graduating from Harvard, Vernon Cheadle spent six weeks on a collecting trip in Cuba. Many of the specimens he collected are still preserved in his vast plant specimen collection in the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration at UCSB. While on his collecting trip, he was offered a position in the Department of Botany at Rhode Island State College, an appointment he began in 1936. He was Professor and Chair of the department from 1942 to 1952 and also served as Director of the Graduate Division. From 1944 to 1946 he served as a U.S. Navy lieutenant in the Pacific theater.
During 1950-51, Cheadle spent a sabbatical year at the University of California at Davis. He was attracted to Davis because he wished to collaborate with Dr. Katherine Esau on their mutual research interest, vascular tissues in higher plants. He met Dr. Esau, an internationally-known botanist at Harvard while she was there on a Guggenheim Research Fellowship. After returning to Rhode Island, Cheadle was invited back to Davis where he served as Department Chair from 1952 to 1962. He also served as the Acting Vice Chancellor from 1961 to 1962, just prior to his appointment as Chancellor of the Santa Barbara campus. During his tenure as UCSB's second chancellor, the number of academic disciplines on campus increased from 36 to 100, and the student enrollment grew from 4,700 to more than 12,000. In 1979, UCSB's administration building was named Cheadle Hall to honor Vernon Cheadle's exceptional leadership during the campus' formative years. Cheadle retired in 1977 and returned to the laboratory full time to resume his life-long studies on the tracheary cells, the water-conducting cells in higher plants. In addition to his strong interests in botany and research, Cheadle continued to be active in university and community affairs. He also continued his interest in sports and began competing in Master's Track and Field meets, setting many national records in the shot-put and discus throw. Cheadle passed away in 1995 at the age of 85.
Mary Low Cheadle was born in Rhode Island in 1915. She graduated from Rhode Island College in Providence, and became a teacher in the Kingston, RI, public school system. She and Vernon married in 1939, while Vernon was on the faculty of Rhode Island State College. After they moved to Santa Barbara in 1962, Mary made deep connections in the community and at the University--she was always a fully engaged partner in Vernon's work. Mary felt a special connection with Davidson Library, and she was a member of the Friends of the Library for many years. She chaired the group from 1988 until 1991. In 1994, she created the Mary Low Cheadle Endowment for Special Collections. Her UCSB service also included membership on the UC Santa Barbara Foundation's board of trustees, the University Art Museum Council, and the Faculty Women's Club. She was named an Honorary Alumna of UCSB in 1990. After her husband died, Mary Cheadle established numerous gifts in his memory, including support for the University Art Museum, the vocal music program, student athletes, and the Vernon and Mary Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, established in 2005.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection complements the larger set of Cheadle papers, located in the University Archives in Davidson Library. Series 1 Professional Activities covers some of Cheadle's activities as Chancellor and Professor of Botany. The subseries Activities as Chancellor contains both clippings and letters celebrating Cheadle becoming UCSB Chancellor in 1962, as well as materials concerning his retirement. Academic Files contain notes, handouts, exercises, lab materials, and exams for several courses taught by Cheadle at UC Davis mostly during the 1950s. Series 2 Research Activities forms the bulk of this collection. This series documents Cheadle's plant anatomy research on the evolution of tracheary elements in monocotyledons as well as developmental studies. It contains correspondence, notes, and data collected with colleagues Katherine Esau and Jennifer Thorsch. Series 3 Personal and Biographical Materials contains some of Mary Cheadle's college mementos, photographs of both Vernon and Mary, and other items, such as diplomas. Series 4 Artifacts contains Vernon's athletic trophies, framed awards and plaques, personal items such as pins and a watch, and scientific equipment, all of which are inventoried separately. Series 5 Photographs is a large collection of plant anatomy images in several different formats. These items are not catalogued individually but correspond to individual fluid plant specimens which have their own collection numbers and data.


The collection consists of five series: Series 1 Professional Activities, Series 2 Research Activities, Series 3 Personal and Biographical Materials, Series 4 Artifacts and Series 5 Photographic Images.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Botanists--North America
Plant anatomy
Cheadle, Vernon Irvin, 1910-
Cheadle, Mary Low
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Davis
Thorsch, Jennifer
Esau, Katherine

Other Finding Aids

See Guide to the Vernon Cheadle Collection 1929-1995, FACP 22, Special Collections, Davidson Library, UCSB.

Related Material

The main collection of Cheadle's papers as Chancellor are located at Davidson Library, Special Collections, UCSB. Research conducted jointly by Cheadle, Katherine Esau, and Jennifer Thorsch can also be found at the Cheadle Center in the Esau Papers and by contacting Thorsch.


Professional Activities 1947-1977


Activities as Chancellor 1962-1977

Box 3, Folder 1

Correspondence--Cheadle's Inauguration as Chancellor 1962

Box 3

Scrapbook--Inauguration of Vernon I. Cheadle, Chancellor 1962

Scope and Contents note

Scrapbook of photos, clippings, autographs of attendees to the inauguration, held September 21, 1962, and additional letters from well wishers.
Box 3, Folder 2

Correspondence--Cheadle's Retirement 1977

Box 3

Bound Volume--Vernon and Mary Cheadle, on the occasion of their retirement 1977


Academic Files 1947-1962

Box 3, Folder 3-7

Botany Course Lecture Notes, UC Davis 1947-1952

Box 3, Folder 8


Box 3, Folder 9

Botany Course Materials--Extra handouts

Box 3, Folder 10

Lab Pages, Exams 1962

Box 3, Folder 11

Microtechnique Course Materials

Box 3

Discussion Manual: General Botany . Vol. I by Vernon I. Cheadle and Elmer A. Palmatier, Rhode Island State College 1949

Box 3

Discussion Manual: General Botany . Vol. II by Vernon I. Cheadle and Elmer A. Palmatier, Rhode Island State College 1950


Research Activities 1942-1995


Correspondence 1942-1995

Box 4, Folder 1

Hamilton Traub 1942-1944

Box 4, Folder 2

Herbarium Problem 1982-1994

Box 4, Folder 3

Jennifer Thorsch 1987-1994

Box 4, Folder 4

Esau, Huller, Evert--Esau Chair 1987-1990

Box 4, Folder 5

Barbara Uehling and Monocot Fund Reports 1988-1993

Box 4, Folder 6

Space Matters and Shirley Tucker 1995

Box 4, Folder 7

Correspondence, Misc.


Plant Anatomy Research Data and Publications 1961-1989

Box 4, Folder 8

List of Monocotyledons for Anatomical Investigation 1961-1984

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence with David Cutler and C.R. Metcalfe at Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Box 4, Folder 9

Plant Collection--Australia and So. Africa (incomplete)

Box 4, Folder 10

List of plants prepared for the study 1987

Box 4, Folder 11

Alismatales--AIBS, Amherst 1986

Box 4, Folder 12

Alismatales--Photos 1987

Box 4, Folder 13

Alismataceae 1986

Box 4, Folder 14

Bromeliaceae--Alphabetical by Genus and Species 1991

Box 4, Folder 15

Bromeliaceae Checklists--Costa Rica and Willis

Box 4, Folder 16


Box 4, Folder 17

Bromeliaceae Illustrations 1992

Box 4, Folder 18

Bromeliaceae--Current Working Papers 1992

Box 4, Folder 19

Bromeliaceae--Lists re: VIC Brom. Collections 1990-1992

Box 4, Folder 20

Lotusland--Bromeliad Genera 1989

Box 4, Folder 21

Bromeliaceae--Tables 1992

Box 4, Folder 22

Bromeliaceae--Hawaii Meetings 1992

Box 4, Folder 23


Box 4, Folder 24

Geosiris SEM Photos 1988

Box 4, Folder 25

Magnolia 1981

Box 4, Folder 26

Marantaceae--Light Microscope Photos for Talk 1988

Box 4, Folder 27

Marantaceae Lists 1989

Box 4, Folder 28

Marantaceae--Chicago Lot 1988

Box 4, Folder 29


Box 4, Folder 30

Nymphaeaceous [Genera]--Moseley

Box 4, Folder 31

Nymphaeales 1987-1988

Box 4, Folder 32

Orchidaceae--Cypripedioideae 1992-1993

Box 4, Folder 33

Orchidaceae 1991-1992

Box 4, Folder 34

Orchidaceae 1981

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence with D. D. Nautiyal.
Box 4, Folder 35

Spiranthoids--Computer Data 1993

Box 4, Folder 36

Spiranthoids 1991-1992

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence with William Stern.
Box 4, Folder 37

Xyridales Work Sheet 1981

Box 4, Folder 38

Zingiberaceae--Photos E, 1-5; F, 1-7 Group B

Box 4, Folder 39

Zingiberaceae--Group D for Renewal

Box 4, Folder 40

Zingiberaceae--Group E for Renewal

Box 4, Folder 41

Zingiberaceae--Group F for Renewal F 1-5

Box 4, Folder 42

Schlerenchyma Notes c. 1980

Scope and Contents note

Represents research done by Vernon Cheadle, Jennifer Thorsch, and Debi Fisher.
Box 4, Folder 43

NSF Grant Report, Final Draft 1987

Box 4, Folder 44

Tracheary Elements in Apostasioideae (Apostaiaceae) of Orchidaceae --BSA Meeting 1989

Box 4, Folder 45

Application of Scanning Electron Micrscopy to the Study of Vessels in Primitive Monocotyledons

Box 4, Folder 46

Tracheal Elements in Marantaceae --BSA Meeting 1988


Personal and Biographical Materials 1932-2005

Box 4, Folder 47

Commencement Activities--Rhode Island College of Education 1936

Scope and Contents note

Includes invitations, programs and handwritten history of the Class of 1936, co-written by Mary Low (Cheadle).
Box 4

Yearbook, RICOLED vol. 8, Rhode Island College of Education 1936

Box 4, Folder 48

Photos of Vernon and Mary Cheadle

Box 4, Folder 49

Diplomas of Vernon Cheadle

Box 4, Folder 50

Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition Given to Mary Cheadle by Congresswoman Lois Capps 2000-2005

Box 1-2


Scope and Contents note

Personal items such as fraternity pins, a watch, and monogrammed belt buckle; scientific equipment and tools used in the lab and in the field; trophies, plaques, and framed awards. Items inventoried separately.

Photographic Images

Scope and Contents note

This series represents images from most of Cheadle's career. Collection contents include: images of plant collecting trips from the 1930s through the 1980s to such places as Cuba and Australia; plants in the wild and those he collected; and images of plant tissue made from microscope slides. Formats include: black and white prints, glass lantern slides, glass negatives, and 35mm color slides. The images were made on collecting trips, sabbaticals, for presentations, and for research and publication. The photographs have only been inventoried to the file or box level.