Liriodendron tulipifera flower

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden

Weakley's Flora



Collectors of the UNC Herbarium

William Basil Fox
(1915 - 1952)

Information compiled January 2006 by Carol Ann McCormick,
Assistant Curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has catalogued to date about 70 specimens collected by William Fox. Most specimens are from North Carolina, and were collected between 1945 and 1951. As databasing of the entire collection continues, no doubt more of Fox's specimens will be found. Fox served as the Curator of the North Carolina State College Herbarium from 1947 to 1952.

Anonymous. 1952. SABC President killed in accident.CASTANEA 17(4): 166-167.

In a shocking accident at Raleigh on November 13, William Basil Fox, assistant professor of botany at North Carolina State College, and president of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club, was killed when a .22 rifle was accidentally discharged. He was 37 years of age, and among the most promising young botanists of the East.

Dr. Fox was born at Talcott, W. Va. [West Virginia], July 20, 1915, and attended grade schools in Summers County, W. Va. He received a B.S. degree from West Virginia University in 1939 and an M.S. in 1940 from the same institution. His Ph.D. was from the University of Iowa in 1942. During the war he was an instructor in radar in the U.S. Air Force, from 1942 to 1945. After the conclusion of hostilities he served as assistant agronomist at the Agricultural Experiment Station of Washington, at Pullman (1945-1946). He received his appointment to the staff of North Carolina State College in 1946.

In addition to this club, which he was serving as president, he was a member of the Botanical Society of America, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and the North Carolina Academy of Science. He had published numerous articles on the flora of North Carolina, and and studied the Leguminosae of Iowa, West Virginia, and North Carolina. He had just returned from a botanical expedition to Baja California.

He was married in 1944 to Helen Lee Hensleigh, who survives him. They had only one child, Stephen.

Dr. B. W. Wells, of the botany department at North Carolina State College, said, "It has been a terrible blow to all of us here for Bill was universally held in the highest regard. His course in dendrology was second to none and as curator of the Herbarium he had enlarged it and increased is efficiency far more than any other contributor had done. Bill will be almost irreplaceable."

Dr. P. D. Strausbagh, under whom he studied at West Virginia University, commented: "In all of his work, he was enthusiastic, persistent, patient, and thorough. Back of his quiet, self-effacing manner there was a strength of character and forcefulness of industry that became so clearly apparent in his altruistic outlook and rich achievement."

For more information and a photo of William Basil Fox, please visit the North Carolina State University Herbarium's webpage detailing the history of that institution:

For more information about William Basil Fox's widow, Helen Lee Hensleigh Wenger (1922 - ), please see

Partial list of publications:

Fox, William Basil. 1942. The Leguminosae in Iowa. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Iowa, Iowa City.


   Curriculum in Ecology                 North Carolina Botanical Garden               Biology Department
      Curriculum                               North Carolina                                 UNC
In Ecology Botanical Garden Biology Department


University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
fax: (919) 962-6930


Last Updated: 3 Janurary 2005