Jump to main content

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Persons, Collections and Topics

Braun, E. Lucy, 1889–1971

HI Archives collection no. 181
Field notebooks and other materials, ca.1919–[1931–ca.1955]
2.5 linear feet (2 boxes)

Biographical Note

Emma Lucy Braun (1889–1971) was a renowned botanist and ecologist. Her best-known publication, the classic Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America (Philadelphia, Blakiston, 1950), is still the only work of its scope on the topic and is perhaps even more important today as the most thorough record of many forest areas that have been destroyed since she studied them. She also wrote The Woody Plants of Ohio (Columbus, Ohio State University Press, 1961) and The Monocotyledoneae (Columbus, Ohio State University Press, 1967).

Braun received her education at the University of Cincinnati, earning her Ph.D. in botany in 1914. A few years earlier her sister, Annette Braun (1884–1978), had been the first woman to receive a Ph.D. at the university. Lucy continued her career there, working her way up to professor of plant ecology in 1946 before retiring in 1948 to allow more time for her research.

Braun was a pioneer in the fields of plant ecology and conservation. Her Deciduous Forests was the result of 25 years of fieldwork and 65,000 miles of travel. She was the first female president of the Ecological Society of America (1950) and was listed by the Botanical Society of America as one of 50 outstanding botanists of the United States (1956).

Scope and Contents Note

The field notebooks in this collection are a record of the work Braun did that ultimately led to her publication of Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America. They are divided into two sets: her "Deciduous Forest Notebooks," which cover her explorations throughout the region, and her "Kentucky Notebooks." The field notebooks are full of details regarding dates and locations of Braun's excursions, the routes she took, the plants she discovered and other observations about the forests that she believed to be important.

Also included are card files of various references, which include deciduous forest literature and plant distribution maps. Braun also compiled her notebook information into the file "Forest Composition," which gives the percentage composition of the tree species in the areas she studied.

Finding Aid

A finding aid for this collection is available online.

Other Resources

For information about portraits of and biographical citations for this subject, see the Hunt Institute Archives Register of Botanical Biography and Iconography database.

E. Lucy Braun (1889–1971), Michigan State University, May 1964, 16.5 × 11.5 cm, photograph by Walter H. Hodge, HI Archives portrait no. 1.