Sharsmith, Carl William, 1903-

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Carl William Sharsmith was born in New York, New York in 1903. He studied botany at the University of California in the 1930s and received the Ph.D. in 1940. He held a position combining duties as herbarium curator and botany instructor at Washington State University from 1937 to 1939. From 1940 to 1946 he was with the University of Minnesota, and from 1950 onward at San Jose State College. His principal interest was in alpine vegetation.

Sharsmith's years at Washington State proved to be a frustrating time. He found himself required to teach many classes, while also attempting to complete a doctoral dissertation and administer a herbarium with a large backlog of work. He inadvertently became involved in a quarrel with the university administration when the University President cancelled planned field trips. He also felt a sense of isolation at Pullman, where he was far from the alpine vegetation which held his major interest. Moreover, the lack of cultural opportunities, especially performances of serious music, added to this feeling of isolation. After two years he left this position. Ironically, many of the problems which had vexed him, and which had also prompted his immediate predecessors to leave Washington State, were then alleviated by changes in the policies regarding research, teaching, and administration of the herbarium.

From the guide to the Carl William Sharsmith Papers, 1937-1939, (Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)

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Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Carl William Sharsmith Papers, 1937-1939 Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
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associatedWith Ball, Carleton Roy, 1873- person
associatedWith Constance, Lincoln, 1909- person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Charles Leo, 1902- person
associatedWith Howell, John Thomas, 1903- person
associatedWith Johnson, Arthur Monrad, 1878- person
associatedWith Ownbey, Francis Marion, 1910- person
associatedWith Smith, Charles Piper, 1877- person
Place Name Admin Code Country


Birth 1903

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Ark ID: w6n13np1

SNAC ID: 67087329