E. T. Wherry
Edgar T. Wherry
1885 - 1982
Author, Determiner, Collector
United States of America
American mineralogist, soil scientist and botanist. He had a deep interest in ferns and Sarracenia.
Wherry earned his bachelors degree in chemistry in 1906 from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his doctorate in mineralogy in 1909 from the same university. From 1908 to 1912, he taught at Lehigh University. He lived in Washington, D.C. from 1912 to 1930, part of this time working as an assistant curator of mineralogy for the U. S. National Museum, and also for the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Department of Agriculture. He taught botany at the University of Pennsylvania from 1930 to 1955, when he retired. He wrote many papers in mineralogy through those years.
He became interested in ferns at age 30, and did much work in that field the rest of his life. He was president of the American Fern Society from 1934 to 1939. He wrote three key guides to the ferns of eastern North America. The first was Guide to Eastern Ferns in 1937, followed by a greatly updated The Fern Guide in 1961, and lastly The Southern Fern Guide in 1964. He was in the forefront of taxonomic work on ferns, and his field guides provided far more current taxonomy than other guides of the day. He donated all royalties from the fern field guides to the American Fern Society.
The "Edgar T. Wherry Award" was established in 1989 by the Botanical Society of America for the best paper presented each year in the pteridological section.