The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Engelmann, George

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ENGELMANN, George, American botanist: b. Frankfort-on-the-Main, 2 Feb. 1809; d. Saint Louis, Mo., 4 Feb. 1884. He studied medicine at the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin and Würzburg, receiving the degree of M.D. from the last-named institution in 1831. The first half of 1832 he spent in study at Paris where he met Braun and Agassiz. In September 1832 he sailed for the United States where relatives of his had bought some land in the Mississippi Valley. In 1835 he began the practice of medicine at Saint Louis, Mo. Although he was highly successful in the practice of his profession, he had, even during his student days, become deeply interested in botany. This interest grew gradually until almost all his leisure hours were occupied with scientific investigations, chiefly in relation to botany, although some of them were devoted to meteorology. As his success in his profession increased he found it possible at times to take protracted vacations, some of which he spent abroad and all of which he devoted to botanical investigations. The results of these were some 100 papers published at various times in different scientific journals, especially in the transactions of the Saint Louis Academy of Science which were examples of the most painstaking and thoroughgoing scholarship. He soon was recognized as an authority on the botany of the North American continent. The most important of his papers were on Cuscutinæ, Cacteæ, Coniferæ, American oaks and grape vines. They together with all his other writings, hardly less important, have been collected and published, illustrated by many plates, as ‘The Botanical Works of the Late George Engelmann’ (ed. by W. Trelease and Asa Gray, Cambridge, Mass., 1887). This publication also contains an exhaustive biographical sketch. He was the first president of the Saint Louis Academy of Science and an active or corresponding member of many learned societies. His extensive botanical collection is in the Shaw Botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Mo.