John Torrey’s Trip to California and Colorado, 1872

By Sarah Dutton

Jun 28 2019

In July of 1872, John Torrey and his daughter Margaret departed on a journey by railroad to California. Officially, Torrey was travelling on business as the Assayer of the Mint in New York, but he found plenty of time for sightseeing, social visits with other botanists, and plant collecting. He and Margaret had a number of companions over the duration of their trip, including amateur botanist John Howard Redfield, who kept a detailed journal of his own travels. According to John Redfield’s account, John Torrey and his companions took the opportunity to visit Yosemite, where they spent some time hiking and botanizing with naturalist John Muir. The Redfields and Torreys spent most of August travelling together in California. After departing from John Redfield in San Francisco, the John and Margaret Torrey spent some time in Colorado before beginning the train journey home. The herbarium at NYBG holds at least 87 specimens collected by John Torrey on this trip, which turned out to be the last he would take before his death in 1873.