On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West

By Barbara R. Stein | Go to book overview

26
The Switch to Botany

By 1939 Alexander and Kellogg had collected birds and small mammals for more than thirty years when—with characteristic zeal—they redirected their energies toward collecting plants, an activity they had already begun to pursue to a limited extent. Alexander did not abandon her museums; she merely stopped collecting large series of specimens for them. Financially the museums were now secure, their reputations established, and she shifted from actively building their programs and collections to more passively managing their growth and continuing to structure their relationship with the university.

Whereas Alexander's unusual collaboration with Grinnell had clearly motivated her and Kellogg to collect specimens that would prove valuable to his research, their shift from trapping birds and small mammals to collecting plants was not solely related to his death in the summer of 1939. After thirty years, it had become increasingly rare for the women to be surprised by the types of vertebrates they captured, a factor that gradually diminished their enthusiasm for the task. Plant collecting provided an opportunity to wander through familiar landscapes with a fresh eye. Perhaps most appealing, it held the promise of discovering new and different taxa and increasing their knowledge of the natural world.

And animal trapping was physically strenuous work, even more so now that Alexander was over seventy. The women had to carry dozens of traps, a sufficient quantity of bait, plus a shotgun and shells while they hiked for hours along deep canyons or scaled intriguing slopes. With plant collecting, they could leave the presses and blotter paper that comprised the necessary equipment in camp while they hiked. All they had to carry in the field was a notebook for recording specimen data and a satchel into which they could place the plants.

-274-

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On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • On Her Own Terms *
  • 1 - Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin 3
  • 2 - Life in Oakland 13
  • 3 - A Passion for Paleontology 22
  • 4 - Africa, 1904 35
  • 5 - Meeting C. Hart Merriam 48
  • 6 - Alaska, 1906 58
  • 7 - Meeting Joseph Grinnell 63
  • 8 - Founding a Museum of Vertebrate Zoology 76
  • 9 - An Unusual Collaboration 88
  • 10 - Louise and Prince William Sound 97
  • 11 - Support for Paleontology 107
  • 12 - Hearst, Sather, Flood 114
  • 13 - Innisfail Ranch 120
  • 14 - Vancouver Island and the Trinity Alps 138
  • 15 - The Team of Alexander and Kellogg 148
  • 16 - From “a Friend of the University” 155
  • 17 - Founding a Museum of Paleontology 165
  • 18 - A Restless Decade 181
  • 19 - Europe, 1923 190
  • 20 - The Temple Tour 203
  • 21 - The “amoeba Treatment” 214
  • 22 - Fieldwork–the Later Years 224
  • 23 - Saline Valley 244
  • 24 - The End of an Era 253
  • 25 - Hawaii–“my Only Real Home” 261
  • 26 - The Switch to Botany 274
  • 27 - Baja California–tres Mujeres Sin Miedo 290
  • 28 - Investing in the Future 299
  • 29 - An Enduring Legacy 308
  • Epilogue 315
  • Appendix 317
  • Notes 321
  • Index 359
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