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Alice Eastwood Correspondence to Anna Vail (NYBG Librarian) dated January 12, 1897

By Alice Eastwood, Leanna Feder

Mar 8 2019

San Francisco, Cal., Jan. 12, 1897

My dear Miss Vail:
You are very kind to refer that Asclepias to me. As I think that people will never agree as to what is a species and what a variety and as it will be better, if you have decided to make it a species anyway, to save it from two namers. I’ll take the first chance in the Proc. of the Acad. to give it the new name. It is what I would choose under the circumstances.
There is only one consideration that deters me. Have you seen the seeds of A. involucrata? If not, I think that you are altogether too hasty in your decision.
I remember now it was not published in the Proc. of the Acad. but in Zoe; so I feel as if I can make the change wherever I please and will do so when I hear from you again. I believe always that a change should be made in the Pub. where the original came out; so that those who have the series can find out its entire history.
Convenience is the object to be sought in all these matters; since a system of classification is purely for that purpose. If, at the same time it can indicate the laws of nature, it comes nearest to perfection.
I feel like emphasizing this because so many of the people at Columbia do not seem to look at it that way. I know that you will agree with me approximately; for your work has not shown the desire to shine at the expense of true science.
I hope that you will pardon this digression and that I will hear from you soon.

Very Sincerely,
Alice Eastwood.