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William Henry Harvey
William Henry Harvey (February 5, 1811–May 15, 1866) was an Irish botanist who specialised in algae. He was one of the most distinguished students of marine algae of all time.
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William Henry Harvey was born at Summerville near Limerick, Ireland, in 1811, the youngest of 11 children. His father Joseph Massey Harvey, was a Quaker and prominent merchant. William started his education at Ballitore School in County Kildare and at the age of 15 he had already established algae as his overriding interest: "To be useless, various, and abstruse is a sufficient recommendation of a science to make it pleasing to me" (Papenfuss, 1976). After leaving school he joined the family business declining to "be a doctor or lawyer, lacking courage for the one and face for the other and application for both".
Harvey was an authority on algae and bryophytes (mosses), and author of A Manual of the British Algae (1841), Phycologia Britannica (4 vols., 1846–51), Nereis Boreali-Americana. (3 parts 1852–85) and Phycologia Australica (5 vol., 1858–63). He spent several years in South Africa, and was the author, with Otto Wilhelm Sonder, of the Flora Capensis (7 vol. in 11, 1859–1933). Harvey's main algal herbarium is in Trinity College, Dublin.
Harvey's discovery in 1831 of the moss Hookeria laetevirens at Killarney, new to Ireland, led to a lifelong friendship with Sir William Jackson Hooker, who was then Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University. Hooker recognized at once the extraordinary talent of the shy young man of twenty, and lent him books. Soon afterwards Hooker invited him to contribute the section on algae to his British Flora (1833) as well as the section on algae for The Botany of Captain Beechy's Voyage.
In 1835 Harvey went to South Africa aboard the vessel "Carnatic", with his brother Joseph who had been nominated as Colonial Treasurer by Thomas Spring-Rice. When Joseph's health failed in the following year, William took over his duties. They left for Britain together on 14 April 1836 and Joseph died on the voyage. Back in Cape Town, and now officially Treasurer-General, William took up residence at Bishop's Court, rising before dawn every day, collecting in the mountains or sea-shore, and working on the plants at night. In March 1837 he wrote: 'I have taken so many excursions lately that I almost fear I shall earn the sobriquet of Her Majesty's pleasurer general'. In the same year he enlisted the services of Zeyher, who was in Uitenhage, to collect specimens at a payment of ₤2 per 100. He developed a close friendship with Baron von Ludwig who had started his famous gardens in Cape Town, and dedicated his Genera of South African Plants to him. Under the patronage of Sir George Grey and with the assistance of a team of collectors and of Dr. Otto Wilhelm Sonder, he set about writing a 'Flora Capensis' in English - he lived long enough to see the first three volumes completed and published in Dublin, the third in 1865. He came home in 1842. In 1853 he made a three year voyage, visiting India, Australia and the South Sea Islands. On his return he published further important books dealing with the botany of North America and South Africa.
Harvey was curator of the Trinity College  Herbarium (TCD)  and Professor of Botany of the Royal Dublin Society.
His Phycologia Britannica was published in 1846–1851 and his publication of Nereis Australis Or Algae of the Southern Ocean (1847–49) along with other publications established his reputation. His Phycologia Australica represents one of the most important books on phycology in the 19th century. Published in five volumes between 1858 and 1863 it is the result of his extensive collecting on the Australian shores.
By the time Harvey set foot in Western Australia he had already established himself as a leading phycologist having published several large works. He earned the title: "father of Australian Phycology". He died on 15 May 1866 at Torquay and was buried there.
About 600 specimens from Ireland, Ceylon, Friendly Islands, Australia and Tasmania collected by Harvey are in store in the Ulster Museum Herbarium (BEL), almost 90 of which are in the 5th volume of the William Thompson collection in the Ulster Museum, catalogue numbers: F8848–F8937. However his primary collection is still in the in the TCD Herbarium attached to Botany School building of Trinity College. There are also collections of Harvey's specimens in: The Botany Department of University College, Cork, Ireland; West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL), Melbourne, Australia; National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW), Sydney, Australia and the Herbarium of St. Andrews University (STA).
In Harvey's era it is clear that there was much exchanging of specimens. In his Phycologia Britannica Harvey often notes the "distribution" of each species giving the name of the collector who reported the record. In the Preface of Vol. 1 he lists 19 people to whom he is indebted. These includes: Rev. Mr. Pollexfen and Dr.McBain for Orkney algae, the others are: Rev. Mr.Hore, Dr.Cocks, Mr. Rohloff, Mr. Boswarva, Miss White, Miss Magdalene Turner, Miss Warren, Miss Ball, Miss (Isabella) Gifford (1823?–1891)(4), Miss Cutler (1), Mrs Gatty (1809–1873), Mrs Gulson (?–1871)(5), Mrs Hayden, Rev. Dr. Landsborough, Dr. Dickie (2), Mr. Ralfs and Mr. Cresswell. Others noted in volume 1 include: Mr. Winch, Mr. McCalla (c.1814–1849)(3), Mr. Wigg, Mr. Borrer, Miss Hutchins, Mr. John Templeton (Botanist), Mr. T.N.Cole, Rev. Mr. Clouston, Rev. H.Davies (Mr.) Stackhouse, Mrs. Ovens, Mr. W.Backhouse, Dr. P.Neill and others. Harvey recognised Magdalene Turner's help named Cladophora magdalenae Harv. in remembrance of her.
Specimens of some of these collectors are to be found in the Ulster Museum Herbarium (BEL)
1. Miss Cutler: BEL catalogue numbers:— F5646; F5400; F5399; F5358; F5336; F5335 and F5511.
2. Professor George Dickie (1812–1882): BEL catalogue numbers:— F2651; F2462 and F2696.
3.[[William McCalla]♥] many specimens in Ulster Museum.
4. Miss Isabella Gifford (1823?–1891): BEL catalogue numbers:— Ulster Museum Collection No. 15.
5. Mrs Gulson (?–1871): BEL catalugue numbers:— F5369; F5419; F5410; F5370; F5737; F5522; F5810; F5810; F5737; F5713; F5523; F5522; F5506; F5720; F5719; F5410; F5401 and F5369.
G.Clifton (1823–1913) Mr G.Clifton is mentioned in Harvey's Memoirs, as the Superintendent of the Water Police in Perth, West Australia whose boat Harvey used when collecting in Fremantle (Blackler, 1977). Some of his specimens are in the Ulster Museum Herbarium: BEL: F2195; F2196 from "W.Australia."
Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808–1881) Harvey specimens in the Ulster Museum are from George Town. The handwriting has been determined by Dr H.B.S.Womersley (1980): F2256; F2242; F2083; F2081 and others..
Harvey was an honorary M.D. of Dublin University (1844) and F.R.S. (1858). His portrait is in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "William_Henry_Harvey". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|