Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Archives Collections List

William Edwin Safford (1859–1926)

Botanist, explorer, naturalist

Journal, 1886 

HI Archives collection no. 28
Folder file

Safford, William Edwin
[no info.]
HI Archives portrait no. 1a

Biographical note
William Edwin Safford (1859–1926), an economic botanist and ethnologist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, 14 December 1859, and was the son of Judge William Harrison Safford. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1880 and served in the Navy from 1880 to 1902. He conducted his post-graduate studies in botany and zoology at Yale (1893–1885) and received his Ph.D. in marine zoology from George Washington University in 1920. He served as a botanist for the Bureau of Plant Industry, U.S.D.A., 1902–1926. He was also the commissioner to Peru and Bolivia, 1891–1892; vice-governor of the Island of Guam, 1899–1900; and a member of numerous botanical and other scientific societies.

Safford was the author of numerous books and contributions to scientific journals, including Useful Plants of the Island of Guam, 1905; Cactaceae of Northeastern and Central Mexico, 1909; Edible Plants and Textiles of Ancient America, 1916; Notes on the Genus Dahlia, with Descriptions of New Species, 1919; Natural History of Paradise Key and the Nearby Everglades of Florida, 1919; Synopsis of the Genus Datura, 1921; Daturas of the Old World and New, 1922; Ant Acacias and Acacia Ants of Mexico, 1923; and articles on tropical plants in the new edition of Bailey’s Cyclopedia of Horticulture, 1914.

Content note
This collection consists of Safford’s journal (36-page typescript copy), which includes his original research in natural history, written while on a voyage from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to South America, March–December 1886. Safford undertook this journey while serving as an aide to the captain of the U.S.S. Vandalia. The journal includes an account of collecting activities in Long Island; Staten Island; Newport, Rhode Island; surface specimens in the North Atlantic; and around Montevideo, Uruguay. He did some of his collecting in the company of Nicholas Pike (1818–1905) of Brooklyn, New York.
During Safford’s stay in Montevideo, Uruguay, he made important collections in botany and other branches of natural sciences, and the record is fully set forth in the journal. From the journal, several contributions were sent to the editors of the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club and were published in that journal (see vol. 14, 1887, pp. 144–149; and vol. 15, 1888, pp. 15–20, 105–108).

It is not known who transcribed these journal entries or where the original journal is.  However, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives has Safford’s photo albums, dated 1886.
Safford, William Edwin
[no info]
HI Archives portrait no. 2

Other resources
Individual portraits of this subject are available from the Hunt Institute portrait collection. Thumbnails of the individual portrait holdings are available as a PDF for research purposes. For publication-quality images, contact the Archivist to place an order.

Biographical citations for this subject are available from the Hunt Institute biographical collection as a PDF.

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