Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Information compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, Curator
with assistance from Barbara L. Krieger,
Archives of Rauner Library at Dartmouth College

James Plummer Poole
(6 May 1889 -- 11 December 1984)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has many specimens that James P. Poole annotated during his long tenure as Curator of the Jesup Herbarium, but few (if any) that were collected by him. 

Professor Emeritus James P. Poole
(February, 1960)
in the Jesup Herbarium of Dartmouth College
courtesy of the Archives, Rauner Library, Dartmouth College


James Plummer Poole was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts on 6 May 1889.  He graduated with a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Maine in 1912.  He earned an A. M. at Harvard University in 1918, and then a Ph.D. from that same institution in 1921.1, 4 His thesis, “Comparative anatomy of the leaf of the Cycads with reference to the Cycadofilicales,”  was published in a shortened form in the Botanical Gazette in 1923.  While at Harvard he was an Austin Teaching Fellow (1916-1918) and an assistant at the Bussey Institute (1921-1922).  (The Bussey Institute, located in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, merged with The Arnold Arboretum.)

Poole had brief teaching stints at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas (1912-1913), at Kansas State (1913-1916), and at the University of Wyoming (1918-1920).  While in Kansas, he met and married Leona Glen.5 

Poole began teaching botany at Dartmouth College in 1922, and was a member of the faculty for 35 years.1, 4 He taught summer courses in marine botany at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts from 1927-1932.5  Poole became Curator of the Jesup Herbarium at Dartmouth College in 1950, and continued in that capacity even after retiring from teaching. 

James P. Poole
(undated, perhaps ca. 1920)
courtesy of the Archives, Rauner Library, Dartmouth College

Poole was curator of the Jesup Herbarium (HNH) at Dartmouth College for 34 years.  The herbarium honors Henry Griswold Jesup, Professor of Natural History at Dartmouth from 1877 to 1899.2   “By awarding annual prizes to the two students who brought in the top two collections, Jesup was instrumental in expanding the already existing collection…  Arthur H. Chivers, class of 1902, [is] given credit for restoring Dartmouth’s herbarium.  Chivers rescued the aging and damaged specimens, and he combined the college’s collection with Jesup’s private collection, thus giving it its present name.  In 1923, after the death of [Dartmouth College] botany professor George Richard Lyman, several of Lyman’s friends and students purchased his private collection of nonvascular plants and added it to the college collection as the Lyman Herbarium.  Chivers served as curator of Dartmouth’s herbaria until 1950, when he was succeeded by James Poole.  As Poole aged, his assistant Bob Downs gradually took over the running of the herbarium until Poole’s death in 1984, and [Downs] has remained curator of the entire collection up to [2003].”3

In 2002, HNH sent ca. 30,000 specimens from the southeastern United States to NCU, and ca. 25,000 specimens from other regions to BRIT.  HNH has retained approximately 7,000 specimens from New Hampshire and Vermont.

James Poole died at age 95 in White River Junction, Vermont.  He was survived by his three daughters, Margery (Poole) Taylor, Barbara (Poole) Hall, and Janet (Poole) Mischler by his second spouse, Florence, and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.4

Poole, James P. (1923)  Comparative anatomy of leaf of Cycads, with reference to Cycadofilicales.  Botanical Gazette 76(2):  203-214.
-----. 1928.  Oedogonium reinchii Roy sec Hirn.  Rhodora 30:  193-194.
-----.  1960.  Professor Jesup’s Herbarium.  Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, March 1960.
-----.  1963.  A new station for the Massachusetts Fern.  Rhodora 65:  309.
-----.  1967.  Poke or Poke?  New Hampshire Audubon Quarterly 20, #2.
-----.  1975.  Lactuca muralis in Maine.  Rhodora 77:  434.
-----.  1975.  Chimaphila maculata in New Hampshire.  Rhodora 77:  436-437.
-----.  1978.  An addition to the flora of the Gaspe Peninsula.  Rhodora 80:  154.
-----.  1978.  Centaurium pulchellum in New England.  Rhodora 80:  448.

1.  Barbara Krieger, pers. comm. 2016.
2.  Benelli, Sarah  (2005)  “Around campus:  Leaf peeping at the Jessup [sic] Herbarium.”  Dartmouth Life 15(4):  [page numbers unknown].
3.  Hallowell, Robert (2002)  Dartmouth’s botanical archives:  The Jesup Herbarium.”  Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science 5(1):  8-9.
4.  “Dartmouth Professor of Botany Emeritus James Poole Died Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Brookside Nursing Home.”  Dartmouth College News Services, December 12, 1984.
5.  Taylor, Margery (1985)  James Plummer Poole.  Taxon 34(3):  570-571. [note:  author was daughter of J. P. Poole]



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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


Last Updated: 11 March 2016