The University of North Carolina Herbarium
has cataloged approximately 120 vascular plant specimens and two bryophyte
specimens collected by Anne McCrary. Most
were collected in New Hanover County, North Carolina, where she spent most of
her life. Without doubt more will be
found as we continue to catalog our collection of vascular plants at
sernecportal.org , pteridoportal.org , and bryophyteportal.org Other herbaria which curate specimens
collected by McCrary include:
CM Carnegie Museum of Natural
WILLI College of William & Mary
DSC Delta State University
GMUF George Mason University
GAS Georgia Southern University
ILLS Illinois Natural History
MIN J. F. Bell Museum of Natural
History (University of Minnesota)
LSU Louisiana State University
UNCC Mecklenburg County Parks &
MUR Murray State University
MISS University of Mississippi
USCH University of South Carolina,
USF University of South Florida
USMS University of Southern
UOS University of the South
VSC Valdosta State University
Dr. Anne McCrary at her desk at
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
photograph courtesy of
Anne McCrary Sullivan
Dr. Joseph R. Pawlik,
Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology at the
University of North Carolina at Wilmington Center for Marine Science,
remembers Dr. McCrary as “an all-around naturalist.” He “inherited” her invertebrate collections
in 1991 upon her retirement from UNC-W.
He has incorporated them into the teaching collection for Invertebrate
Anne Bowden McCrary, the daughter of James
Owen Bowden (1875-1938) and Dovie Ellen Phelps
Bowden (1902-1980), was born on 25 October, 1926 in Wilmington, North
Carolina.1, 8 The 1930 US
Census lists James Bowden’s occupation as “Broker, Shell Fish.” “It was he who, in role as seafood
merchant, took her into the sound and taught her to love that world,” says
Anne’s daughter. “He died when she was
eleven, but his impact was lasting.”11 Anne attended North Carolina Women’s
College (the forerunner of University of North Carolina at Greensboro), but
left after just one year to marry Marcellus Everett McCrary, Jr. (b. 1923), a
watchmaker in Wilmington.1,2, 8
Photograph courtesy of
Anne McCrary Sullivan
After their two children started primary
school, Anne returned to school at Wilmington College (a two-year institution
and forerunner of University of North
Carolina at Wilmington), and graduated in 1956.1 Marcellus McCrary died of undetermined,
natural causes at the age of 35 on 9 September, 1958, leaving Anne a widow
with two children, daughter Anne and son M. Everett McCrary III (1949-2016).1,
2 “Anne’s mother, Dovie Ellen Phelps Bowden, was a nurse, and her salary helped
make it possible for Anne to go back to school when Anne was widowed,”
remembers Anne’s daughter.11
The family moved to Chapel Hill, and Anne entered the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She
earned three degrees from Carolina and was inducted into the Alpha of North
Carolina Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa on December 5, 1961.5 For her Masters and Doctoral degrees she
studied with Dr. Charles E. Jenner in the Zoology Department at UNC-Chapel
Hill.9 The title of her Masters thesis was “The effect of photoperiod,
temperature, and food on diapausing and developing
larvae of Toxorhynchites rutilus (Coquillett)”* and that of her Doctoral dissertation was
“The seasonal distribution of zooplankton in Wrightsville Sound.” Frequent co-collectors at Carolina included
Harry E. Ahles and George P. Sawer,
Dr. Anne McCrary at her home (note
plankton net at lower left)
Photograph courtesy of
Anne McCrary Sullivan
Dr. McCrary returned to Wilmington in 1969
to teach in the Biology Department of the newly formed University of North
Carolina at Wilmington. She earned
several honors from the University including the Board of Governors Award for
Excellence in Teaching (1984) and Alumnus of the Year (1986). McCrary retired from UNC-Wilmington in
On 17 April 1993 the Anne B. McCrary Park
was dedicated in her honor. The ca 25
acre Park is located at 4000 Randall Parkway in Wilmington, North
Carolina. Her daughter, Anne McCrary
Sullivan, is an educator and poet who was strongly influenced by her mother’s
love of nature and science.6
* Toxorhynchites is the largest known species of mosquito. The adult insect does not consume blood,
but instead subsists on plant sap, fruit juices, and nectar. Toxorhynchites larvae are aquatic and prey on other
aquatic animals including the larvae of blood-sucking mosquito species.10
(L-R) B. Kenyata
Sullivan (grandson), Anne B. McCrary,
Anne McCrary Sullivan (daughter)
photograph date unknown8
Anne E. Bowden McCrary died on 7 November
2011 at age 85 and her ashes were scattered in Wrightsville Sound and on the
Big Island of Hawaii. Her monument is
on the family plot in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, New Hanover County,
North Carolina.8, 11
Notes from a Marine Biologist’s Daughter
My mother loves the salty mud of estuaries,
has no need of charts to know what time
low tide will come. She lives
by an arithmetic of moon,
calculates emergences of mud,
waits for all that crawls there, lays eggs,
buries itself in the shallow edges
of streamlets and pools. She digs
yellow and orange
worms that look like lace.
She leads me where Renilla
purple and white colonial lives,
where brittle stars, like moss,
cling to stone. She knows
where the sea horse wraps its tail
and the unseen lives of plankton.
My mother walks and sinks into an ooze,
centuries of organisms ground
to pasty darkness. The sun
burns at her shoulders
in its slow passage across the sky.
Light waves like pincers
in her mud-dark hair.
-- Anne McCrary Sullivan6
Sullivan, Anne and Anne Bowden McCrary.
2002. Mudflat: The aesthetics of a marine biologist’s
engagement with her work. Curriculum
Inquiry 32(3): 357-365.
McCrary, Anne Bowden. 1969. The seasonal distribution of zooplankton in
Wrightsville Sound. Ph.D. Thesis,
Zoology Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
McCrary, Anne Bowden. 1965. The effect of photoperiod, temperature, and
food on diapausing and developing larvae of Toxorhynchites rutilus (Coquillett). M.A.
Thesis, Zoology Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
1. Steelman, Ben. November 8, 2011. Wilmington naturalist McCrary leaves local
Online. https://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20111108/wilmington-naturalist-mccrary-leaves-local-legacy accessed 12 February 2019.
2. North Carolina State Board of
Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
North Carolina Death Certificates.
Microfilm S123. Rolls 19-242,
280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North
Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh,
North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates. Ancestry.com North Carolina, Death Certificates,
1909-1976 [database on-line]. Provo,
UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations,
3. Find A Grave. Memorial ID 192647778. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/192647778/anne-elizabeth-mccrary accessed on 12 February 2019.
4. United States of America, Bureau of
the Census. Fifteenth Census of the
United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records
Administration, 1930. T626,2,667 rolls.
Year: 1930; Census Place: Harnett, New Hanover, North Carolina;
Page: 28A; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 2341443.
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census (database
on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002. Accessed on 12 February 2019.
5. Personal communication, Jason
Clemmons, Chapter Executive Assistant, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of North
Carolina Chapter, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Email to McCormick, 13 Feb 2019.
6. Sullivan, Anne McCrary. 2002.
Notes from a
Marine Biologists’ Daughter: On the
Art and Science of Attention. Harvard
Educational Review 70(2). https://www.hepgjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.17763/haer.70.2.x8601x6tn8p256wk
accessed on 14 February 2019.
7. Personal communication. Joseph R. Pawlik
to McCormick email 14 Feb. 2019.
8. Find A Grave Memorial ID 80129321. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80129321/anne-mccrary accessed on 14 February 2019.
9. Personal communication. Sara Maeve Whisnant,
Reading Room Supervisor & Reference Associate, Wilson Special Collections
Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Email to McCormick 14 February 2019.
10. “Toxorhynchites” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxorhynchites. Accessed on 15 February 2019.
11. Personal communication, Anne
McCrary Sullivan to McCormick, email 6 March 2019.