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Launching a botanical journal on the verge of WWI: the politics of the AJB
Date:3/19/2014

One hundred years ago on the brink of WWI, American botanists changed the course of plant science with the founding of a national publication, the American Journal of Botany. The journal not only endured through the Great War, it also continued to evolve through the wars that followed, the Great Depression, and the ever-changing arena of plant research.

Today, the AJB remains at the forefront of essential botanical research as the flagship journal of the Botanical Society of America. In celebration of its centennial anniversary, science historian Betty Smocovitis takes a look back through time at the socio-politics, personalities, institutions, educational reforms, and global events that came together around the 1914 founding of the AJB.

Tracing the journal back to its origin, Smocovitis carefully collected and examined past botanical Society meetings notes, reports, journals, and even letters of correspondence between America's most influential botanists. Her coverage of the development of the AJB follows a historical review of the BSA, for the Society's 2006 centennial, and 25 years of research into the history of botany. Published in the AJB March 2014 issue, her research pieces together crucial events that greatly influenced the study of botany in America.

According to Smocovitis, an influential player in the AJB was leading scientist F.C. Newcombe. "The man was prescient and seemed to have so much energy," she explains. "It is interesting that we don't remember him for his scientific efforts but we remember him for being the moving force behind a journal that has flourished for over 100 years."

Newcombe recognized the need for the journal as early as 1895, when a number of factors including the establishment of land grant institutions lead to a nation-wide explosion of plant
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Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
314-577-9557
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert  

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