Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, Asst. Curator, NCU

Roland McMillan Harper
(11 August 1878 – 30 April 1966)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU) has catalogued approximately 176 vascular plant specimens collected by Francis Harper. All are from the Southeastern United States.  As databasing continues, no doubt more specimens collected by Roland Harper will be found in NCU’s collection.

Roland McMillan Harper was born to William Harper (1843-1907) and Bertha Tauber on 11 August, 1878 in Farmington, Maine.  He was the eldest of five children.  His brother, Dr. Francis Harper, was a zoologist and champion of the Okefenokee Swamp.  When Roland was ten, the family moved to Georgia.  He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1897, then moved to Southbridge, Massachusetts and published a paper on plant records of Worcester County in the first volume of Rhodora.

He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1905 under Dr. L.M. Underwood.  The title of his thesis was “A phytogeographical sketch of the Altamaha Grit Region of the coastal plain of Georgia.” 

“Harper’s interests were multifarious:  plant ecology (Bassett Maguire said in 1958 that he had the “greatest store of field experience of any living botanist of the Southeast”); systematic botany (he brought to notice the genus Harperella and 30 new species of flowering plants); soils, crops, and weeds (his Alabama report was a major contribution); forestry and controlled burning (advocated long before the Forest Service adopted it); demography (he collected news clippings on fiftieth and seventy-fifth wedding anniversaries, etc.); and biostatistics (he recorded about 25,000 tombstone records); railroading (amassed some 1500 timetables); “booster literature” and urban problems; conservation; photography (he experimented with cameras and took 4,000 photographs of plants and vegetation, well-illustrating his articles); race relations (he pamphleteered for White Supremacy); tobacco smoking (he opposed it) – all beyond plant geography:  his Phytogeographical Sketch of the Altamaha Grit Region of Georgia (1906) was perhaps his distinguished milestone for relations between plants and geology.”  -- Ewan, Joseph (1968)  Roland McMcMillan Harper (1878-1966).  Torreya 95(4):  391-396.

Harper married Mary Susan Wigley in 1943, and lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama until his death in 1966.  His personal papers were donated to the University of Alabama.

Note that links are to publications through JSTOR.ORG, a service to which many academic institutions subscribe. Individuals may also subscribe to this extremely useful resource.

Harper, Roland M. (1899)  Additions to the flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts – I.  Rhodora 1:  42-43.
----- (1899)  A new station for Potentilla tridentata.  Rhodora 1:  90-91.
----- (1899)  Additions to the flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts – II.  Rhodora 1:  201-205.
-----  (1902)  Taxodium distichum and related species, with notes on some geological factors influencing their distribution.  Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 19:  383-399.
----- (1905)  The fern flora of Georgia.  Fern Bull. 13:  1-17.
-----  (1906) Phytogeographical sketch of the Altamaha Grit Region of Georgia.  Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 17:  1-414.
-----  (1908)  Some native weeds and their probably origin.  Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 35:  347-360.
----- (1910)  A botanical and geological trip on the Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers in the coastal plain of Alabama.  Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 37:  107-126.
----- (1911)  Early spring aspects of the coastal plain vegetation of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida.  Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 38:  223-236.
----- (1913)  Economic botany of Alabama, part I.  Geographical report, including descriptions of the natural divisions of the state, their forests and forest industries, with quantitative analyses and statistical tables.  Geol. Surv. Alabama, Monogr. 8, 222 pp.
----- (1913)  A botanical cross-section of northern Mississippi, with notes on the influence of soil on vegetation.  Bull. Torr. Bot. Club 40:  377-399.
----- (1914)  Phytogeographical nots on the coastal plain of Arkansas.  Plant World 17:  36-48.
----- (1914)  Geography and vegetation of northern Florida.  Ann. Rept. Florida State Geol. Surv.  6:  163-437.
----- (1916)  The fern grottoes of Citrus County, Florida.  Am. Fern J. 6(3):  68-81.
----- (1919)  Water and mineral content of an epiphytic fern .  Am. Fern J. 9(4):  99-103.
----- (1920)  A graphic method of measuring civilization, and some of its applications.  The Scientific Monthly 10(3):  292-305.
----- (1920)  Resources of southern Alabama.  A statistical guide for investors and settlers, with an exposition of the general principles of economic geography.  Geol. Surv. Alabama, Special rept. No. 11, 152 pp.
----- (1920)  The limestone praires of Wilcox County, Alabama.  Ecology 1(3):  198-203.
----- (1921)  Geography of central Florida, including geology, soil, climate, vegetation, population, agriculture, etc.  Ann. Rept. Florida State Geol. Surv. 13:  71-307.
----- (1926)  The cedar glades of middle Tennessee.  Ecology 7(1):  48-54.
----- (1927)  Literalism and illiteracy.  The Science News-Letter 11 (313):  241.
----- (1927)  Agricultural conditions in Florida in 1925.  Economic Geography 3(3):  340-353.
----- (1928)  Natural resources of southern Florida.  Ann. Rept. Florida State Geol. Surv. 18:  27-206.
----- (1928)  Economic botany of Alabama, part 2.  Catalogue of the trees, shrubs, and vines of Alabama, with their economic properties and local distribution.  Geol. Surv. Alamaba, Monograph  9.  357 pp.
----- (1930)  Natural resources of Georgia.  Univ. Georgia Bull. 30(3):  xi-105.
----- (1930)  Some demographic characteristics of American educational centers.  The Scientific Monthly 30(2):  164-169.
----- (1933)  Civilization of southeastern Kentucky.  Social Forces 11(3):  409-411.
----- (1934)  Contrast between Northern and Southern and Urban and Rural Negroes in the United States.  Social Forces 12(4):  576-578.
----- (1938)  Palms of the Southern Appalachian region in Alabama.  Castanea 3(2):  19-24.
----- (1940)  Supplementary notes on Hexastylis virginica.  Castanea 5(8):  115-121.
----- (1941)  Diversity of Erythronium in the eastern United States.  Castanea 6(1):  1-6.
----- (1942)  Croomia a member of the Appalachian flora.  Castanea 7(8):  109-113.
----- (1943)  Forests of Alabama.  Geol. Surv. Alabama.  Monogr. 10.  230 pp.
----- (1943)  Hemlock in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama.  Castanea 8(7/8):  115-123.
----- (1944)  Preliminary report on the weeds of Alabama.  Geol. Surv. Alabama Bull. 53.  275 pp.
----- (1944) 
Notes on Plantago, with Special Reference to P. Cordata.  Castanea 9(7/8):  121-130.
----- (1945)  Plantago cordata:  a supplementary note.  Castanea 10(2):  54.
----- (1945)  Erythronium albidum in Alabama, and some of its relatives.  Castanea 10(1):  1-7.
----- (1947)  Preliminary list of Southern Appalachian endemics.  Castanea 12(3):  100-112.
----- (1948)  More about Southern Appalachian endemics.  Castanea 13(3):  124-127.

----- (1949-1950)  A preliminary list of the endemic flowering plants of Florida.  Florida Acad. Sci. Quarterly Journ. 11 (1):  23-35; 11(2):  39-57; 12(1):  1-19.
----- (1949) 
A Fifth Species of Erythronium in Alabama.  Castanea 8 (7/8):  115-123.
----- (1950)  Algae on animals:  a bibliographical note.  Ecology 31(2):  303-304.

----- (1952)  Hemlock in Alabama:  A supplementary note.  Ecology 33 (1):  128-129.
----- (1967)  Studying the Georgia flora and some red-letter days in the life of a botanist.  Castanea 32(1):  1-17.



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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: January 2013