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Edward Tuckerman 1817 - 1886


Professor Edward Tuckerman
Amherst College Biographical Record, Centennial Edition (1821-1921)

Edward Tuckerman was born in Boston on December 7, 1817. The eldest son of a merchant, he prepared for college at Boston Latin School and graduated from Union College in 1837 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. His graduate studies include a Law Degree from Harvard College in 1839, and a Master of Arts Degree from Union College in 1843. Desiring to obtain an academic degree from Harvard, he entered as a senior in 1846 and graduated with a B.A. in 1847. Tuckerman then completed the courses of study at Harvard Divinity School in 1852.

Edward Tuckerman married in 1854 and was a lecturer in History at Amherst College where he was appointed professor of Botany in 1858. He held that position until his death. Tuckerman was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1868. He died from complications of Bright's Disease on March 15, 1886.

Tuckerman was a man of uncommonly broad scholarly culture, whose life was devoted unreservedly to study. He was attracted early to lichens and his botanical publications dealt with New England plants of this group largely of his own collecting in the White Mountains. Lichens had been studied scarcely at all by American students and he himself was the first to explore for them in the mountains of New England. This he did with notable success and his exploration for lichens on Mount Washington led to the naming of Tuckerman Ravine in his honor.

Of gentle, sensitive disposition and retiring temperament, Tuckerman was noted for his amiability, helpfulness, and exquisite taste and equally for his independent criticism. He was also known for his fondness of antiquarian and genealogical research and his studious attention to philosophy, divinity and law.

Biography from Dictionary of American Biography


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