Frances W. Horne

By Nicole Tarnowsky

Mar 26 2019

Frances Horne was an academic, an artist and a botanist. She earned her master’s degree in modern language from Cornell University, also taking classes in botany and art. Soon after she became part of the faculty at Westminster College in Colorado where she met her husband, Charles Horne, a math professor. Several years later Charles Horne joined the faculty of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez and the couple moved to Puerto Rico where they lived for over 40 years.

It was here that they crossed paths with Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth. The Brittons spent much of their career together studying the flora of the Caribbean. In their later years they made many trips to Puerto Rico and went on collecting trips with Frances and Charles Horne.

On a trip in April 1924 the Brittons and Hornes came across a Byrsonima shrub in flower. Frances Horne painted it that day, and also made a herbarium specimen. See that very specimen below, the label references her painting. 

Nathaniel Lord Britton returned to New York and studied the specimen further. Consulting with John Kunkel Small, they realized that it was a new species. They published it, naming it after Frances Horne, Byrsonima horneana Britton & Small. Additionally, it was featured as a plate in the journal Addisonia.

A Closer Look