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Clara Eaton Cummings

Clara Eaton Cummings

American cryptogamic botanist and university teacher (1855—1906)
Clara Eaton Cummings
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American cryptogamic botanist and university teacher (1855—1906)
A.K.A. Cumm.
Was Scientist Botanist Curator Biologist Mycologist Editor
From United States of America
Type Arts Biology Journalism Science
Gender female
Birth 13 July 1855, Plymouth, Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 28 December 1906, Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA (aged 51 years)
Star sign Cancer
Residence Zürich, canton of Zürich, Switzerland
Wellesley College (1876-)
AAAS Fellow  
Peoplepill ID clara-eaton-cummings
The details (from wikipedia)


Clara Eaton Cummings (13 July 1855 – 28 December 1906) was an American cryptogamic botanist and Hunnewell Professor of Cryptogamic Botany at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Life and education

Cummings was born in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on July 13, 1855 to Noah Conner and Elmira George Cummings. In 1876, she enrolled at the women's liberal arts college Wellesley, only one year after the opening of the institution.


Cummings primarily studied cryptogamous (spore-reproducing) plants such as mosses and lichens. She characterized hundreds of lichen specimens but was "very conservative" on declaring new species. Much of her work appeared in the books of other botanists, although she did publish a catalog of liverworts and mosses of North America in 1885.

She became a curator at the botanical museum at Wellesley from 1878–79 and was hired at Wellesley as an associate professor of botany for the 1879 school year. In 1886 and 1887 she studied under Dr. Arnold Dodel at the University of Ziirich where she did private work and prepared charts for a Cryptogamic Botany illustration. While in Europe, she traveled to various botanical gardens to study some of the great botanists. After returning from Zurich, Cummings became an associate professor of cryptogamic botany at Wellesey.

In 1904, she published a catalog of 217 species of Alaskan lichens collected during the Harriman Expedition which included 76 species new to Alaska and at least two species new to science.

In February and March 1905, Cummings took a trip to Jamaica where she collected lichens. After her death, her collection was sent to the New York Botanical Garden.

Cummings was an associate editor of Plant World and named a fellow of the American Association of the Society of Plant Morphology and Physiology in 1904. She was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Boston Society of Natural History.

Partial bibliography

  • Catalogue of Musci and Hepaticae of North America, North of Mexico (1885)
  • The Lichens of Alaska (1904)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 28 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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