Rothrock, Joseph T., 1839-1922

Alternative names
Birth 1839-04-09
Death 1922-06-02

Biographical notes:

Joseph T. Rothrock was a physician, botanist, and forester. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1877.

From the description of Letters, 1878-1884, to Eli K. Price. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122608845

Joseph T. Rothrock was a physician, botanist, and forester; he was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1877.

From the guide to the Joseph T. Rothrock letters, 1878-1884, to Eli K. Price, 1878-1884, (American Philosophical Society)


Botanist and surgeon on Wheeler Expedition (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) 1873-1876; professor of botany University of Pennsylvania (active 1877-1891); Michaux forestry lecturer (1877-1891); author, "Vacation Cruising in Chesapeake and Delaware Bays," 1894; appt. to state forestry commission 1893; 1st president of Chester County Historical Society 1893; appt. state commissioner of forestry 1895; head of newly created state forestry dept. 1901-1904; founded open-air camp for treatment of tuberculosis (Mt. Alto, Pa. 1902).

From the description of Papers, 1855-1954. (Chester County Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 21063182

Joseph Trimble Rothrock was born on 9 April 1839 in McVeytown, Pennsylvania, United States. He studied botany at Harvard University, graduating in 1862. From 1862 to 1864, he served with the Union Army, seeing action at Antietam and Fredericksburg where he was seriously wounded. He was appointed botanist on the US Western Union Telegraph Expedition (Alaskan Division), 1865-1867 (leader Robert Kennicott), sent by the Western Union Telegraph Company to survey a route for, and to construct, a telegraph line through Alaska by way of Yukon River and Seward Peninsula, in connection with plans to establish a telegraph link between the United States and Europe across the Bering Strait.

On his return in 1867, Rothrock was appointed professor of botany at Pennsylvania State Agricultural College and the following year received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, later holding the chair of botany at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1895, Rothrock became Pennsylvania's first commissioner of forestry, founding the Pennsylvania State Forestry Academy at Mont Alto in 1903. Resigning as a commissioner in 1904 and from the State Forestry Commission in 1914, he died on 2 June 1922 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

From the guide to the Joseph Rothrock collection, 1865, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)


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Ark ID:


  • Indians of North America
  • Natural history
  • Botany
  • Botany--Virginia
  • Ethnology Archaeology Anthropology
  • Smithsonian Exchange
  • Surveys And Explorations, General
  • Smithsonian Publications
  • Forests and forestry--History--1893-1922
  • Botany--Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.)
  • Recommendations For Positions


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  • British Columbia (as recorded)
  • Northwest Coast of North America (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.) (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)