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.
Special thanks to Teresa Gray, Public Services Archivist,  Special Collections & University Archives, Vanderbilt University

Jesse Milton Shaver
(29 November 1888 - 1961)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has about 35 specimens collected by Jesse M. Shaver.  All were collected in Tennessee; the earliest was collected in 1928, the most recent in 1956.  As our collection continues to be databased, without doubt more specimens collected by Shaver will be found.


Shaver was primarily an ornithologist, but he clearly had an active interest in all aspects of biology.  It is interesting that although Dr. Shaver’s botanical interest was strongly directed to the ferns, NCU has few fern specimens collected by him.


For a portrait of Dr. Shaver, see Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 35 (4):  258. Shaver’s article, “Tennessee ferns of the Woodsia group,” is found on pp. 274-286 in this same issue.


Jesse Milton Shaver was born 29 November 1888 near Lula Lake on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a B.S.A. degree in 1915.  That same year he married Daisy Hannah Rule of Concord, Tennessee.  He was hired to teach biology at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee in 1915, an association that continued until his retirement in 1953.  Shaver earned a Master of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1921, then a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1928.  Portions of his doctoral thesis, “An ecological analysis of the bird fauna on a depositing creek bank,” were published in Ecological Monographs in 1933.1, 2


“In the period from 1936 to 1940 Dr. Shaver had become interested in amateur photography and ferns.  The two hobbies went hand in hand, for with the camera he made illustrations of high quality and adequacy for the long series of publications on ferns soon to follow…  With the coming of World War II and gasoline rationing, the work he had begun on ferns was held in abeyance… At the end of the war the biology department [at George Peabody College for Teachers] grew tremendously in accommodating returning veterans.  With plenty of gasoline for his Ford [automobile] he renewed his exploration of Tennessee for ferns.  Over twenty papers were published, which culminated in what is regarded as the definitive book on Tennessee Ferns.”1


PUBLICATIONS [incomplete list]:

Shaver, Jesse M. and Gladys Walker. 1930.  A preliminary study of the effects of temperature on the time of ending of the evening song of the Mockingbird.  The Auk 47(3):  386-396.
Shaver, Jesse M. 1931.  A preliminary report on the influence of light intensity upon the time of ending of the evening song of the Robin and Mockingbird.  The Wilson Bulletin 43(1):  9-18.
Shaver, Jesse M. 1933.  The influence of climatic and weather factors upon the numbers of birds on a depositing creek bank.  Ecological Monographs 3(4):  535-597.
Shaver, Jesse M. 1934.  Scott's Spleenwort in Tennessee. Am. Fern J. 24:  39-42.
Shaver, Jesse M. 1937  Vacationing among Tennessee ferns.  Am. Fern J. 27(3):   73-90.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1945.  Some notes on Tennessee Cliffbrakes, Chainferns, and the American Hartstongue.  Journ. Tenn. Acad. Sci.  195-202.
Shaver, Jesse M. 1950.  A study of Tennessee ferns belonging to the genera Phegopteris, Polystichum, and Cystopteris.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 50(2):  96-104.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1950.  A new fern, Cystopteris tennesseensis sp. nov.  50(2):  106-113.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1950.  Report of the Editor of the Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science.  50(2):  140.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1950.  Tennessee ferns of the Woodsia group.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 35(2):  141-142. 
Shaver, Jesse M. 1950.  Tennessee ferns of the Woodsia group.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 35(4):  274-286.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1950.  The twenty-fifty anniversary of the Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 35(4):  248-251.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1950.  The hayscented fern in Tennessee.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 35(4):  288-291.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1954.  Ferns of Tennessee, with the fern allies excluded.  Nashville, Bureau of Publications, George Peabody College for Teachers.
Shaver, Jesse M.  1970.  Ferns of the Eastern Central States:  with special reference to Tennessee.  Dover.  ISBN  0486225410.  502 pages.  LC: QK525.5.T4 T4 S 5 1970



1.       Chadwick, Claude S. (1961)  Jesse Milton Shaver.  J. Tenn. Acad. Sci. 36(4): 243 – 247.

2.      Personal communication, Teresa Gray to McCormick, email 2012 June 19.





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      in Ecology                                 Botanical Garden             Biology Dept.


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: 19 June 2012