Main Narrative » Women in Cryptogamic Botany

Caroline Coventry Haynes

By Amanda M. Chandler, Greer Lowenstein

Mar 10 2022

Caroline Coventry Haynes (1858-1951) is best known for her significant contributions to the understanding of North American hepatics, which is beautifully represented by her exsiccatum compilation American Hepaticae (Conard 1947). Prior to discovering her enthusiasm for liverworts, Haynes pursued roles as a pianist and painter, even studying impressionism with Claude Monet for a time while living in France (Sharp 1955). In 1902, she adjusted her focus to the botanical realm in spending six years working with the cryptogam collections at NYBG under the guidance of lichenologist Reginald. H. Howe. Her newfound passion for liverworts prompted her to establish and become the first curator of the Hepatic Department of the Sullivant Moss Society, during which time she channeled additional efforts into producing written and illustrative resources for both novice and experienced bryologists (Conard 1947, Sharp 1955). Caroline also founded and was president of the National Association of Women Artists, was a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was an active member of many other organizations such as the Horticultural Society of New York and the American Watercolor Society. She notoriously made donations in support of aspiring and amateur botanists, though sought no public acknowledgement and was known to make contributions on the grounds that the recipient not reveal her as a benefactor. She also used her personal funds to help keep the Sullivant Moss Society afloat during times of hardship (Conard 1947, Sharp 1955). Preceding her passing in New York, Caroline donated her life’s collections to the Farlow Herbarium and her specimens are held in many North American herbaria today.


Conard, H.S. 1947. History of the Sullivant Moss Society, Compiled from the Files of The Bryologist and Other Archives of the Society. The Bryologist 50(4): 389-401.

Sharp, A.J. 1955. Caroline Coventry Haynes (1858-1951). The Bryologist 58(2): 149-15