The University of North Carolina Herbarium has
catalogued to date about 30 vascular specimens collected by Nell Henry. Ms. Henry collected throughout North
Carolina -- especially Carteret, Jackson, Macon and Orange Counties – while
she was in graduate school,
1931-1933. As NCU's
collection continues to be catalogued, it is likely that more specimens will
photograph courtesy of
Nell Quinby Henry
was born in Newberry County, South Carolina on December 11, 1906. Her father, Rev. Walter Samuel Henry (d.
1944), attended Newberry College & Wofford College, and served as a
Methodist minister. Her mother, Mamie
McGraw Henry (d. 1963), attended the Williamston Female College. In addition to Nell, the family included
Mabel L., Walter S., Claire, and Mary.2, 3
Nell Henry graduated from Elizabeth High
School in Elizabeth, [Allen Parish?], Louisiana in 1923, and earned her A.B.
from Lander College in Greenville, South Carolina in 1927.2 The 1930 Federal Census lists Ms. Henry as
teaching high school and boarding in the home of Alvin & Lillie Walvoord in Baskin, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.1
Ms. Henry earned her M.A. in Botany at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June, 1932. The title of her thesis was “The
seed-development in Cuscuta arvensis,”
and her advisor was Dr. William Chambers Coker. While at
UNC-CH she worked as an herbarium assistant.
Ms. Henry worked briefly as a medical
technician at the University of North Carolina Medical School in 1939, but
spent most of her career as a teacher.
She taught biology at Lander College (1934-1938) and Limestone College
in Gaffney, South Carolina (1946-1947).
She began her long career at Newberry College in 1959,
and for her first three years there taught both biology and mathematics. In 1964 she became an Associate Professor
and taught only biology courses until her retirement in 1973.4 Professor
Henry was a member of the South Carolina Academy of Sciences.3
photograph courtesy of
Ms. Henry died on 26 January 1999 at age 92
at the Methodist Oaks in Orangeburg, South Carolina and was buried in
The Nell Henry Scholarship at Lander
University was established in honor of Professor Nell Q. Henry by Mrs. Harmon W. Caldwell (M. Gwendolyn Burton), [Lander College] class of 1938. The scholarship is based on high school
academic achievement and is awarded to an entering freshman majoring in
biology. The scholarship is renewable
for up to three years, provided the recipient remains a
biology major with a grade point average of at least 3.0.
The Nell Henry Special Award at Lander University, was also established in honor of Professor
Nell Q. Henry by Mrs. Harmon W. Caldwell (M. Gwendolyn Burton), [Lander
College] class of 1938. A cash award
of $100 and a pin of excellence is presented each
year to a rising senior biology major who has maintained a high scholastic
average and shows potential for making an outstanding contribution to the
While both Nell Henry and Gwendolyn Burton
were graduates of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1932 and
1938, respectively), it is most likely that they encountered each other at
Lander College as teacher and pupil, and that Nell Henry encouraged Gwen
Burton to attend UNC for graduate training.
1930; Census. Place: Baskin, Franklin, Louisiana; Roll: 793; Page:
4B; Enumeration District: 13;
Image: 894.0; FHL microfilm: 2340528.
1930 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002.
“For your permanent
Alumni Record: Nell Q. Henry”
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Alumni Records.
Henry. The State, Columbia, South
Carolina. 28 January 1999.
communication, Sandra Smith, Wessels Library,
Newberry College. 30 Oct. 2012.