Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865

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William Jackson Hooker was the premier English botanist of his time. His early interest in natural history was refined to botany by the fortuitous discovery of a rare moss. His education included travels through Europe, after which he became regius professor of botany at Glasgow. He published extensively, and founded and edited several journals; his main interests were ferns, mosses, and fungi, and he was a pioneer of economic botany. He was appointed first director of Kew Gardens, which became a leading botanical institution under his guidance. He was the key figure in English botanical studies in his day, and his legacy remains alive in the Kew Gardens complex.

From the description of W.J. Hooker letter to My dear sir, 1809 Nov. 15. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 60494885

Sir William Jackson Hooker was an English botanist and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

From the description of Letters, 1819-1863. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122608799

Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) was a botanist and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

William Jackson Hooker was born at Norwich, July 6, 1785. His father, Joseph Hooker, cultivated rare plants in his leisure time.

Hooker dedicated himself from an early age to natural philosophy and travel, having inherited land from his Godfather William Jackson. An early discovery of a rare moss drew Sir James Edward Smith’s attention to young Hooker. The former was able to persuade the later to take up botany.

Hooker traveled throughout Scotland, then to Iceland making advances to all branches of natural philosophy. These finding were lost, however, when the ship he was on caught fire. Hooker himself made a narrow escape. In 1814 he toured France, Switzerland and Italy, collected specimen and adding to a growing number of scientific correspondence.

In 1815 Hooker married Maria Turner and settled at Halesworth, Suffolk, where he started his extensive herbarium. In 1820, due to a growing family and shrinking funds, he accepted a professorship of botany at Glasgow. In 1836 he was knighted in recognition of his services to botany.

In 1841 he took charge of the Gardens at Kew, a position he would hold until his death. In 1847 he co-founded a museum of economic botany, the first and largest of its kind in the world.

Able to balance a busy professional life with multiple projects, Hooker, either as editor or author, contributed to more than 100 volumes on botany throughout his life. He was well liked and respected as a teacher, and often kept in touch with students as they dispersed around the globe. His ever-growing number of scientific contacts allowed him to persuade the cultivation of rare and important plants in their natural environments around the world. His contacts also helped him cultivate an impressive herbarium and library which he generously shared with students and fellow scientists.

Hooker was fellow of the Linnean Society (1806) and the Royal Society (1812) and co-founder of the Wernerian Society at Edinburgh.

Sir William Jackson Hooker died at Kew on 12 August, 1865 of a disease of the throat. He left a widow, two married daughters and a son, Josephs Dalton Hooker.

From the guide to the Sir William Jackson Hooker letters, 1819-1863, 1819-1863, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dorothea Lynde Dix papers, 1798-1893 (inclusive), 1827-1887 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Engelmann, George, 1809-1884. George Engelmann papers, 1831-1914. Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H Raven Library
referencedIn Owen, Richard, 1804-1892. Papers, 1827-1889. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Papers, 1768-1866. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Sir William Jackson Hooker letters, 1819-1863, 1819-1863 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letter signed : Woburn Abbey, to Aylmer Bourke Lambert, 1841 Sept. 17. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Scientists Collection, 1563-1973 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letter signed : Kew, Surrey, to Mr. Fremin , [1850] Apr. 15. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn An Annotated Calendar of the Letters of Charles Darwin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society, 1799-1882 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf [William Jackson Hooker, biographical materials] University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn Charles Wilkins Short correspondence, 1813-1867, 1813-1867 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Manuscript index to periodicals with which Sir William Hooker was associated, circa 1877. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. W.J. Hooker letter to My dear sir, 1809 Nov. 15. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Gunn, Ronald Campbell, 1808-1881. Letters and monograph [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Ramsay, Edward Bannerman, 1793-1872. Letter to John Stevens Henslow, 1832, October 20. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Letters from Alfred Austin, 1862-1912, 1862-1912
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. James Henry Coffin Papers.
referencedIn Short, Charles Wilkins, 1794-1863. Correspondence, 1813-1867. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 52: Assistant Secretary, Incoming Correspondenc.
referencedIn Richard Owen papers, 1827-1889, 1827-1889 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Letter : [Kew, England?], to unknown person, n.p., [ca. 1841?] Aug. 28. Texas Christian University
referencedIn Eyton, T. C. (Thomas Campbell), 1809-1880. Correspondence, 1836-1874. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letter signed : Kew, Surrey, to an unidentified recipient, [n.d.], "Friday". Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Correspondence of American botanists, [19th century]. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. Papers, 1831-1882. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Harvard, Gray Herbarium. Historic Letters.
referencedIn University Of North Carolina, Univ. Libraries, Ms. Dept.. Southern Historical Coll.: Charles Wilkins Short.
referencedIn Correspondence of American botanists, [19th century], Circa 19th century American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letters signed (2) : Kew, Surrey, to unidentified recipients, 1853 Jan. 22-1861 Jan. 30. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Tyndall, John, 1820-1893. Papers. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Autograph Collection, 1505-1957 (inclusive), 1702-1854 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Staatsbibliothek Zu Berlin, Manuscript Department. Darmstaedter Collection.
referencedIn Moore, E. M. Autograph collection, 1816-1917. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Autograph collection, 1816-1917, 1816-1917 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Harvard University. Gray Herbarium. Administrative correspondence of the Gray Herbarium, 179?-1965 (inclusive), 1840-1955 (bulk) [microform]. Harvard University, Gray Herbarium
creatorOf Geyer, Karl Andreas. Letters, 1843, 1845-1847. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
creatorOf Lea, Thomas G. (Thomas Gibson), 1785-1844. Thomas G. Lea letter to William J. Hooker, 1841 Jan. 21. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Letters, 1819-1863. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Manuscript Albums, 1615 - 1959 Newcastle University: Special Collections
referencedIn Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker correspondence, 1844-1910, 1844-1910 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1668-1983, Bulk, 1750-1850, 1668-1983 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letter signed : Kew, Surrey, to Mr. Spring-Rice, 1855 Sept. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Hutton, William, 1797-1860. Letters, 1821-1852. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Austin, Alfred, 1835-1913. Letters from Alfred Austin, 1862-1912. Florida State University
referencedIn Paget, James, Sir, 1814-1899. Correspondence, 1784-1932. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Fergus, Charles L. Charles Fergus cabinet photograph collection of nineteenth century botanists, circa 1867-circa 1920. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Letter to Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, 1843. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Sir James Clark Ross collection, 1812-1860 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Short, John Cleves, 1792-1864. John Cleves Short : papers, 1825-1864. The Filson Historical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Autograph letter signed : Kew, Surrey, to Miss Maurice, 1857 Nov. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Burke, Joseph Hooker. Joseph Hooker Burke letters to Sir William Jackson Hooker, 1843-1847. The California Digital Library
referencedIn Short, Charles Wilkins, 1794-1863. Charles Wilkins Short : papers, 1811-1869. The Filson Historical Society
referencedIn William Hutton letters, 1821-1852, 1821-1852 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Geyer, Karl Andreas, 1809-1853. Charles A. Geyer letters to Sir William J. Hooker [manuscript], 1845-1847. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf Seemann, Berthold, 1825-1871. Berthold Carl Seemann collection, 1847-1860. Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H Raven Library
referencedIn Assorted papers from the Herbarium of William Wilson, 1826-1870 The Manchester Museum
referencedIn William Borrer: Correspondence and notes, 19th century Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives
referencedIn Thomas Campbell Eyton correspondence, 1836-1874, 1836-1874 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn John Edward Gray papers, 1783-1884, 1783-1884 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865. Correspondence. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Sir James Paget correspondence, 1784-1932, 1784-1932 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
referencedIn Album materials, 1777-1925 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Charles Darwin papers, 1831-1882, 1831-1882 American Philosophical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 person
associatedWith Austin, Alfred, 1835-1913. person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 person
correspondedWith Beck, Lewis C. person
associatedWith Bedford, John Russell, Duke of, 1766-1839. person
associatedWith Borrer, William person
associatedWith Bowring, John, 1792-1872. person
associatedWith Braun, Alexander person
associatedWith Braun, Alexander. person
associatedWith Burke, Joseph Hooker. person
associatedWith Cole, Henry, Sir, 1808-1882. person
associatedWith Cooper, Thomas, 1759-1839 person
associatedWith Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899 person
associatedWith Cuvier, Georges, Baron, 1769-1832 person
correspondedWith Darlington, William person
associatedWith Darlington, William, 1782-1863 person
associatedWith Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. person
associatedWith Dibner, Bern, person
correspondedWith Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887 person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Engelmann, George, 1809-1884. person
associatedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Eyton, T. C. (Thomas Campbell), 1809-1880. person
associatedWith Fergus, Charles L. person
associatedWith Fitch, John person
associatedWith Frank Webster Jay Collection (University of Chicago. Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Fremin, Mr, person
associatedWith Genth, F. A., (Frederick Augustus), 1820-1893 person
correspondedWith Geyer, Karl Andreas. person
correspondedWith Geyer, Karl Andreas, 1809-1853. person
correspondedWith Gray, Asa person
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
correspondedWith Gray, John Edward person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 person
associatedWith Gunn, Ronald Campbell, 1808-1881. person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. person
associatedWith Harvard University. Gray Herbarium. corporateBody
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Henslow, J. S. (John Stevens), 1796-1861. person
associatedWith Hooker, Joseph Dalton, Sir, 1817-1911 person
associatedWith Hutton, William, 1797-1860. person
associatedWith Lambert, Aylmer Bourke, person
associatedWith Lea, Thomas G. (Thomas Gibson), 1785-1844. person
associatedWith Livingstone, David, 1813-1873. person
associatedWith Loring, Charles G. (Charles Greely), 1794-1867 person
associatedWith Lyell, Charles, Sir, 1797-1875. person
associatedWith Maurice, Miss, person
associatedWith Moore, E. M. person
associatedWith Moore, E. M., collector. person
associatedWith Newcomb, Simon person
associatedWith Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727 person
associatedWith Nuttall, Thomas, 1786-1859. person
associatedWith Owen, Richard, 1804-1892. person
associatedWith Paget, James, Sir, 1814-1899. person
associatedWith Poinsett, Joel Roberts, 1779-1851 person
associatedWith Ramsay, Edward Bannerman, 1793-1872. person
associatedWith Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915- person
associatedWith Rittenhouse, David, 1732-1796 person
associatedWith Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. corporateBody
associatedWith Royle, J. Forbes (John Forbes), 1799?-1858. person
associatedWith Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813 person
associatedWith Russell, John, 1st Earl, 1792-1878. person
associatedWith Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 person
associatedWith Schwarz, Hooker, Sir William Jackson, 1785-1865 person
associatedWith Seemann, Berthold, 1825-1871. person
associatedWith Seybert, Adam, 1773-1825 person
correspondedWith Short, Charles W. person
associatedWith Short, Charles Wilkins, 1794-1863. person
associatedWith Short, John Cleves, 1792-1864. person
associatedWith Sir James Clark Ross person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Sprint-Rice, Mr, person
associatedWith Stevens, Henry person
associatedWith Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872 person
associatedWith Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824 person
associatedWith Tyndall, John, 1820-1893. person
associatedWith Washington, John, 1800-1863. person
associatedWith Waterton, Charles, 1782-1865 person
associatedWith Wayne, Anthony person
associatedWith Wilson, William person
Place Name Admin Code Country
England
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Great Britain
Nova Scotia
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Subject
Plants--Collection and preservation
Botanists--19th century--Correspondence
Botany--Nova Scotia
Botanical gardens--England
Botanical gardens
Albany Institute
Botany
Natural history
Botany--England
Botanical specimens--Collection and preservation
Beyond Early America
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1785-07-06

Death 1865-08-12

Britons

English

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