compiled by Carol Ann McCormick.
Special thanks to Paul G. St-Pierre, Research & Instruction Librarian,
Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University.
The University of North Carolina Herbarium
has but a handful of specimens collected by Josiah Hale. All found to date were a gift from the Jesup Herbarium of Dartmouth College (HNH) to NCU in
2002. All were collected in Louisiana,
and none contain year of collection.
Josiah Hale was a native of Virginia
(1). He studied botany with Rafinesque
at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky in 1820-1821, and earned a
medical degree on March 18, 1822 from that institution. The title of his thesis was “Ascaris lumbricoides”
which is the largest and most common parasitic nematode in humans. Hale
settled near Alexandria, Louisiana in 1825.
In 1831 Hale wrote a long account of an
illness – probably Yellow
Fever –that afflicted residents of Alexandria in 1830. He practiced medicine until 1834, then devoted his energies to botany. Torrey and Gray, in their Synopical Flora of North America (1838),
frequently cite specimens obtained from Hale. Engelmann, Darlington,
Leavenworth, Eaton, Short and Durand were among his botanical
In 1838 Hale married Mrs. Martha Crain, a
widow of Lake Cotaille in Rapides Parish, Lousiana. They had
two daughters, Virginia and Elizabeth.
Hale’s financial fortunes took a turn for the worse in the economic
crash of 1845-1846, and he returned to practicing medicine. He moved to New
Orleans in 1850, and lived on Girod Street, between
St. Charles Avenue and Carondelet.
During the yellow fever epidemic of 1853, he tended the sick of
Shreveport, Louisiana. By 1854, he was
associated with J. G. Potter & Co., “apothecaries and chemists, wholesale
and retail dealers in drugs, medicines, French and English chemicals, patent
medicines, surgical instruments, etc.” (1).
Hale served as the first President of the
Louisiana State Medical Society (elected in 1849), and as the first President
of the New Orleans Academy of Sciences (elected in 1853). The only botanical publication Hale wrote
was “Report on the medical botany of the state of Lousiana” which was published in the New Orleans
Medical & Surgical Journal in 1852.
Josiah Hale’s specimens in the Tulane Herbarium, about one hundred,
are from the Academy's herbarium (1,2).
Josiah Hale, John Leonard Riddell (1807-1865) was a serious student of the
flora of Louisiana (3). Riddell had bachelor's and master's degrees from Rensselaer and earned
an M.D. while teaching chemistry and botany at the Cincinnati Medical College
in 1835. He published on the flora of Ohio and the west while at Cincinnati.
In 1836 he was made Professor of Chemistry at the Medical College of
Louisiana, moved to New Orleans, and took up the study of Louisiana
flora. Riddell contributed a
manuscript work -- Plants of Louisiana to the Smithsonian Institution
in 1851. The manuscript was supposed to include scientific and common names
of plants existing in Louisiana, with localities, times of flowering and full
descriptions of new species. W.M. Carpenter and Josiah Hale also worked on
this manuscript, and Hale was responsible for the Cyperaceae
and Gramineae. The Smithsonian declined to publish
the manuscript, so Riddell published an abridged version entitled Catalogus florae ludovicianae
in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, vol. VIII, May 1852. Riddell’s specimens at Tulane, numbering
about 125, were, like Hale’s, from the New Orleans Academy of Sciences
many plant taxa named in Josiah Hale’s honor:
The genus Halea “a distinct and very
remarkable genus, which we have named in honor of one of its discoverers, Dr.
Josiah Hale of Alexandria, Western Louisiana, a zealous botanist, who has
favored us with extensive collections and important observations,
illustrative of the botany of that region” was named by Torrey & Gray,
and contained two species, Halea ludoviciana T. & G. and Halea repanda Buckley (4). Both are currently placed in the genus Tetragonotheca.
The only plant taxon that seems to have survived synonymy is Verbena
halei Small “In sandy soil, Indian
Territory to Louisiana and Texas, Spring and summer… Louisiana: Dr. Hale, no. 245.” (5)
plant taxa named in Josiah Hale’s honor include :
Hedyotis halei Torr. & Gray (now Pentodon pentandrus (K. Schum.)
Andropogon halei Alph. Wood (now
Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash)
Astragalus halei Rydb. (Holotype collected by Dr.
Hale #313, Louisiana) (now Astragalus canadensis L.)
Capnoides halei Small
“Specimens of the species here described were collected many years ago
in Louisiana by Dr. Hale, and lately by Mr. Curtiss has distributed excellent
material from the vicinity of Jacksonville, Florida…” Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 25(3): 137. 1898. (now Corydalis micrantha
(Chapm.) G. G. Ownbey
“ in a letter to Mr. Charles Mohr, 1868, who has kindly furnished me with the
following description…Marshes and borders of lakes in the Red River Valley, Repides [sic], La., (Hale); eastern Florida
(Leavenworth); Carrabelle, Florida.” Britton, N.L. (1886) A preliminary list
of North American species of Cyperus, with descriptions of new forms. Bull. Torr. Bot.
Club 13(11): 205-216. (now Cyperus erythrorhizos
Dicliptera halei Riddell
(now Yeatesia viridiflora
Diplachne halei Nash Holotype
collected by Josiah Hale in Louisiana; Holotype at
NY-19504; Isotype at US-78814 (now Leptochloa panicoides
(J. Presl) Hitchc.)
Thelypteris palustris var. haleana Fernald
“Southeastern United States and Bermuda Islands. LOUISIANA:
marshes, Alexandria, Josiah Hale (TYPE in Gray Herb.)”, p. 34 of Fernald
(1929) A study of Thelypteris palustris. Rhodora 31: 27-36.
Willugbaeya Halei Small (now Mikania cordifolia (L.f.)
Josiah Hale’s specimen of Sagittaria calycina maxima Engelm.
collected in Louisiana is the type specimen. Jared
G. Smith re-named it Lophotocarpus calycinus
in 1900 (6).
was also interested in cryptogams (7).
He sent lichen specimens to Edward Tuckerman, professor at Amherst
College in Massachusetts, father of American lichenology, and namesake of
Tuckerman Ravine on the southeast face of Mount Washington in New Hampshire .
Tuckerman named Parmeliopsis halei in
Josiah Hale’s honor.
not confine himself to medicine and botany, but apparently took great
interest in snails, with two species -- Melania haleiana and Paludina haleiana -- named in his honor. In a letter
to Benjamin Leonard Covington Wailes of Natchez,
Mississippi, Hales in 1850 wrote, “The town of Natchitoches is the most
favorable on the Red river for the collection of shells. The river having left the old channel
presents at a low stage of the water, little more than a series of shallow
ponds, the bottoms of which are paved with shells, many of which are of the
largest size. Never having visited
Natchitoches when the water was very low I am not able to say whether the
shells are identical with those down the river. I have a beautiful specimen of the U[nio] ohiensis from there, a species rare at Alexandria”
(1). Hale’s observations are cited by
conchologist Isaac Lea (8):
Unio atrocostatus. Testa plicata, subquadrata, inflate; valvulis crassis; natibus promenentibus; epidermide nigra, striata; dentibus cardinalibus magnis; lateralibus sublongis subrectisque;
margarita alba et iridescente. Hab. Claiborne, Ala. – Judge Tait. Tuscaloosa,
Ala. – B.W. Budd, M.d. Alexandria
Louis. – Josiah Hale, M.D.
Unio tumescens. Testa laevi, triangular,
inflate; valvulis percrassis,
natibus magnis elevatisque; epidermide tenebroso-fusca, radiate; dentibus
cardinalibus parvis; lateralibus brevibus, crassis subcurvisque; margarita
alba et iridescente. Hab.
Alexandria, Louis. – J. Hale, M.D.
Unio fulgidus. Testa laevi, triangular,
inflate; valvulis crassis;
natibus magnis elevatisque; epidermide tenebroso-fusca, polita,
radiate; dentibus cardinalibus
parvis; laberalibus crassis rectisque; margarita
alba et iridescente. Hab.
Alexandria, Louis. – J. Hale,
Unio approximus. Testa laevi, elliptica, inflate; valvulis subcrassis; nativbus prominulis; epidermide lutea, radiate; dentibus cardinalibus parvis,
acuminates; lateralibus longis
subrectisque; margarita alba et iridescente. Hab.
Red River at Alexandria, Lou. –
J. Hale, M.D.
Unio symmetricus. Testa laevi, oblonga, subcompressa, valvulis subcrassis; natibus subpromenentibus; epdermide tenebroso-fusca; dentibus cardinalibus compressis, elevates, acuminates; lateralibus
margarita alba. Hab. Red River at Alexandria, Lou. – J. Hale,
Unio caliginosus. Testa laevi, elliptica, subcompressa; valvulis subtenuibus; natives priminulis ad apicem undulates; epidermide tenebroso-fusca; dentibus cardinalibus compressis,
elevates; lateralibus longis
subcurvisque; margarita alba et iridescente. Hab. Red River, at Alexandria, Louisiana –
J. Hale, M.D.
Anodonta tetragona. Testa laevis, oblonga, valde inflate; valvulis tenuibus; natives prominulis; epdermide luteo-fusca, radiate; margarita caeruleo-alba
Hab. Alexandria, Lou. – J.
Melania Haleiana. Testa laevi, acuto-conoidea, subtenui, luteo-cornea, polita; spira elevate; suturis impressis; anfractibus novenis, convexis; aperture parva, ovate, ad basim subangulta, intus alba. Hab.
Alexandria, Lou. J. Hale,
Melania Alexandrensis. Testa laevi, subacuto-conoidea, subtenui, tenebroso-cornea; spira subelevata; suturis subimpressis; anfractibus supplanulatis; aperture parva, subtrapezoidea, intus albida.
Hab. Alexandria, Lou. – J.
Melania ovoidea. Testa laevi, elliptica, subcrassa, cornea; sipra brevi; suturis vix impressis;
anfractibus senis, subconvexis; aperture magna, subovata,
intus albida. Hab.
Alexandria, Lou. – J. Hale, M.D.
Paludina Haleiana. Testa laevi, ventricoso-conoidea, subtenui, rufo cornea,
imperforate, spira brevi;
suturis valde impressis; anfractibus quaternis, sub-convexis;
aperture magna, subrotundata, caerulea. Hab.
Alexandria, Lou. – J. Hale, M.D.
Hale moved to Canton, Mississippi sometime
before 1855, but became ill with heart disease, and returned to New Orleans
for treatment, but died there on 21 July, 1856 (1). Josiah Hale is buried in the Black Bayou
Cemetery just outside Vivian, Louisiana (9).
1. Ewan, Joseph (1977) Josiah Hale, M.D., Louisiana botanist,
Rafinesque’s pupil. Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural
History. 8: 235-243.
4. Torrey and Gray (1842) A Flora of North America 2: 304.
5. Small (1898) Studies in the botany of the
southeastern United States XV. Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 25(12):
6. Smith, Jared G. (1900) Revision of the species of Lophotocarpus
of the United States: and description
of a new species of Sagittaria.
Missouri Botanical Garden Annual Report 1900:
7. Tucker, Shirley C. (1979) New or noteworthy records of lichens
from Louisiana. The Bryologist
8. Lea, Isaac (1847). Descriptions of new fresh water and land
shells. Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society held at
Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge, Vol. 4, June 1843 to December 1847. Philadelphia: John C. Clark.. pp. 162-168. (The full paper is found in
the Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc., X, Part I, pp. 67-101.)
Hale, Josiah (1852) Report on the medical botany of the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal September,
1852: 152- 173; and November,
Josiah (1831) Observations on the Fever which
prevailed at Alexandria, Louisiana, in the Autumn of 1830. The Transylvania journal of medicine and
the associate sciences, Vol. 4 (2): 129 – 145.
PUBLICATIONS citing Hale or his specimens
MacRoberts, Michael H., Barbara R. MacRoberts,
Christopher S. Reid, Patricia L. Faulkner and Dwayne Estes (2007) Minuartia drummondii
(Caryophyllaceae) and Gratiola flava (Plataginaceae)
rediscovered in Louisiana and Gratiola flava historically in Arkansas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute
of Texas 1(1): 763-767.