Wherry, Edgar Theodore, 1885-

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"Edgar Theodore Wherry was born on September 10, 1885, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the Friends Central School in 1902, he received a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1906 and a Ph.D. in Geology-Mineralogy in 1909.

"He taught for five years as an assistant professor in the Geological Department of Lehigh University. In 1913, he became the assistant curator of mineralogy at the U.S. National Museum in Washington, D.C. During his time in Washington, he began working with the Wild Flower Preservation Society and taught himself the principles of botany. He started exploring theories of soil chemistry in relation to plant growth.

"Dr. Wherry's work with ferns and their 'relationship to their geological-chemical environment' became the topic of many of his publications, and the focus of his membership and subsequent presidency of the American Fern Society from 1934 to 1938. Wherry published three key guides to the ferns of North America: Guide to Eastern Ferns in 1937, The Fern Guide in 1961, and The Southern Fern Guide in 1964.

"Wherry was a professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania from 1930-1955, and in 1932 he was appointed ecologist to the Morris Arboretum. He also taught soil science, plant physiology, plant ecology, and taxonomy at the Arboretum School of the Barnes Foundation from 1941 to 1950, and again from 1953 to 1957.

"He is credited with discovering the mineral Wherryite, as well as several plants, including Asplenium xtrudellii, Microgramma heterophylla, Sarracenia oreophila, and Sarracenia jonesii . Plants named in honor of Dr. Wherry include Tiarella wherryi, Spilene wherryi, and Dryopteris wherryi .

"Wherry was awarded professor emeritus status upon his retirement from University of Pennsylvania in 1955. He was also awarded the Mary Soper Pope Medal by the Cranbrook Institute of Science in 1964 for his achievements in plant research.

"Dr. Wherry worked closely with many botanical organizations, such as the Bowman's Hill State Wildflower Preserve, the American Rock Garden Society, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Rock Garden Society, and the Delaware Valley Fern Society."


Quoted text from: Friedman, Lindsay. Finding aid to Edgar Theodore Wherry Papers, 1907-1977, The Barnes Foundation Archives WHE. November 2010. Accessed January 25, 2013.

From the guide to the Dr. Edgar T. Wherry botanical lantern slides, circa 1924-1976, (Morris Arboretum Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Wild Flower Preservation Society of America. Records, 1894-1933. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Botanical correspondence of Arthur Stanley Pease, 1895-1947(inclusive) Gray Herbarium Library
referencedIn Fogg, John M. (John Milton), 1898-1982. John Milton Fogg Papers, 1931-1982. The Barnes Foundation, Barnes Foundation Libraries and Special Collections
creatorOf Dr. Edgar T. Wherry botanical lantern slides, circa 1924-1976 Morris Arboretum Archives
referencedIn William B. Provine collection of evolutionary biology reprints, 20th century. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Wherry, Edgar Theodore, 1885-. The history of the Franklin tree / by Edgar T. Wherry. Rollins College, Olin Library
creatorOf Lewis, Clarence, 1876-1959. Clarence McKenzie Lewis papers 1915-1991. New York Botanical Garden, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
referencedIn Lewis, Clarence McKenzie, 1876-1959. Correspondence, 1915-1953. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Wild Flower Preservation Society (U.S.). Records, 1924-1975. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania Historic Image Collection, Bulk, 1885-1950, 1885-2000 Morris Arboretum Archives
referencedIn Weatherby, Charles Alfred, 1875-1949. Papers of Charles Alfred Weatherby, 1893-1948 (bulk). Harvard University, Gray Herbarium
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Springfield (Montgomery County, Pa. : Township)
Montgomery County (Pa.)
Philadelphia (Pa.)


Birth 1885-09-10

Death 1982


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