Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany




Arthur Bliss Seymour was born on January 3, 1859 in Moline, Illinois. He was orphaned as a young child and raised by relatives. He contracted scarlet fever at age 5, which left him partially deaf. From a young age he loved the outdoors and had a strong interest in botany, especially in the area of mycology. In 1878, he entered Illinois University, where he studied with Thomas J. Burrill and became his assistant. Burrill and Seymour's research focused on the parasitic fungi of Illinois. After graduating in 1881, Seymour worked for the Natural History Survey, collecting fungi all over Illinois, and contributed to Burrill's two monographs on parasitic fungi. In 1883, Seymour was invited to become Farlow's assistant and moved to Cambridge for a year to work on the Harvard Mycological Indexes. After some time spent on field work and collecting trips, he spent 1885 and part of 1886 at the University of Wisconsin. On May 6, 1886, Seymour married Anna Julia Conkling, with whom he had four children.

In late 1886, after receiving his M.S. degree from Illinois University, Seymour accepted Farlow's offer of a permanent position at Harvard's cryptogamic herbarium. He worked almost continuously on the Harvard Mycological Indexes from 1886 until near his death in 1933. In 1888, Part I of the Farlow-Seymour work, Provisional Host Index of the Fungi of the United States was completed, followed by Part II and III in 1890 and 1891. Seymour contributed extensively to Farlow's Bibliographical Index to North American Fungi, which was published in parts beginning in 1905. In 1929, Seymour's years of hard work were rewarded with the release of his Host Index of the Fungi of North America, which included approximately 80,000 names of host and fungus. Until he became ill, Seymour continued work on the manuscript for the continuation of the Host Index. Seymour died on March 30, 1933 in Belmont, Massachusetts after several weeks of sickness from heart problems.


"Arthur Bliss Seymour, 1859-1933," by L.R. Jones in Mycologia, 26(4), July-August 1934, 279-290.
Illinois Alumni News, "Arthur Bliss Seymour," May 1933.

Scope and Content:

This collection includes correspondence related to a variety of fungi research, notes and other papers related to the Host Index of the Fungi of North America, and other miscellaneous and unidentified papers from Seymour's career.

Series Description:

Series 1: Correspondence
This correspondence collection includes letters between Seymour and other botanists discussing different aspects of fungi research and the Host Index. Main correspondents include J.C. Arthur, G.P. Clinton, J.J. Davis, J. Dearness, H.M. Fitzpatrick, C.H. Kauffman, F. Patterson, and P. Spaulding. Most letters are from 1892 through 1933.

Series 2: Notes and Papers Related to the Host Index of the Fungi of North America
This series includes proofs, errata notes, notes on species and bibliographic references, printed copies of the Host Index, and other papers and notes related to the Host Index.

Series 3: Miscellaneous and Unidentified Papers
This series includes notes by Farlow and Seymour, one manuscript, one species list, and other miscellaneous and unidentified papers.


The provenance of this collection is unknown.

Container Listing:

Series 1: Correspondence

1. Arthur, J.C., 1922-1928, 13 items.
2. Atkinson, Geo., 1907-1917, 2 items.
3. Bethel, Ellsworth, 1925, 2 items.
4. Brenckle, J., 1928-1931, 13 items.
5. Charles, Vera K., 1925-1927, 2 items.
6. Chivers, A.H., 1913-1915, 6 items.
7. Church, Margaret, 1919-1927, 6 items.
8. Clinton, G.P., 1926-1931, 12 items.
9. Cockerell, Theo., 1919-1929, 5 items.
10. Davis, J.J., 1913-1930, 26 items.
11. Dearness, John, 1918-1932, 27 items.
12. Diehl, William, 1923-1929, 5 items.
13. DuFour, L., 1919, 2 items.
14. Ellis, undated, 4 items.
15. Fairman, Charles E., 1930, 2 items.
16. Farlow, 1910, 5 items.
17. Fink, 1898-1922, 5 items.
18. Fitzpatrick, H.M., 1926-1932, 22 items.
19. Hahn, G.G., 1929-1932, 5 items.
20. Harvard University Press, 1929, 5 items.
21. Hotttes, Chas., 1929, 3 items.
22. Jenkins, Anna E., 1923-1932, 9 items.
23. Johnson, James, 1927-1928, 4 items.
24. Kauffman, C.H., 1912-1929, 11 items.
25. Lloyd Library, 1913-1916, 4 items.
26. Misc. letters from Seymour, 1919-1931, 40 items.
27. Misc. letters to Seymour, 1892-1921, 43 items.
28. Misc. letters to Seymour, 1922-1926, 33 items.
29. Misc. letters to Seymour, 1927-1933, 49 items.
30. Orton, W.A., 1904, 1 item.
31. Pammel, L.H., 1892-1895, 3 items.
32. Patterson, Flora, 1894-1923, 16 items.
33. Reed, George M., 1909-1924, 6 items.
34. Rice, Mabel A., undated and 1932, 3 items.
35. Rose, J.N., 1927, 3 items.
36. Rosen, H.R., 1932, 4 items.
37. Seaver, Fred, 1927-1933, 8 items.
38. Seaver, Fred, letters to Edith Seymour Jones, 1933, 2 items.
39. Shear, C., 1929-1931, 9 items.
40. Smith, H.H., 1922-1923, 4 items.
41. Spaulding, Perley, 1927-1929, 13 items.
42. Stewart, Dewey, 1930, 2 items.
43. Taubenhaus, J.J., 1925, 3 items.
44. Zandel, George L., 1925, 2 items.

Series 2: Notes and Papers Related to the Host Index of the Fungi of North America
Box 2
1. Experimental proofs and notes.
2. Host Index, bound copy.
3. Host Index, bound and unbound sections.
4. Galley proofs and errata notes.
5. Copy of preface and index, notes on spermatophytes, and Host Index corrections.
6. List of subheadings.
7. Manuscript of Host Index Supplement.

Box 3
1-5. Notes on species and bibliographic references related to Host Index.

Box 4
1-2. Notes related to Host Index.
3. Blue-printed and other copied notes for Host Index.
4. Notes for Host Index Supplement.
5. Notes by Edith Seymour Jones on Bibliographic Index and Host Index.
6. Misc. papers related to Host Index.

Series 3: Misc. & Unidentified Papers
Box 5
1. Farlow's notes on certain species of fungi in the Schweinitz Herbarium at Philadelphia.
2. Notes from Journal of Mycology, 1889-1909.
3. Resolution from Potato Disease Conference on death of Farlow, 1919.
4. Whitten, J.C., Fire Blight of the Apple, Manuscript, 1914.
5. Species list of Polyphorus, blue-printed list.
6. Unidentified papers.
7. Miscellaneous printed material.


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