Walker, Egbert H. (Egbert Hamilton), 1899-1991

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Biographical History

Egbert Walker was a botanist whose area of interest was the Myrsinaceae of eastern Asia. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, June 12, 1899, and grew up in South Haven, Michigan. He contracted polio as a child, which affected his mobility the rest of his life. Walker earned his B.A. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1922). After graduation he accepted a position as a secondary school teacher in biology at Canton Christian College in China and subsequently taught at Lingnan University. While at Lingnan University he began a study of the trees on campus. This work would provide the basis of the M.S. he later earned at University of Wisconsin. Eventually Egbert Walker joined the staff of the Smithsonian as curator of the Old World collections in the department of botany. During World War II, Walker was in charge of a Serviceman's Collecting Program, which coordinated the collecting of specimens by American servicemen abroad. In particular he worked with collectors in the army during the occupation of Okinawa. Walker co-wrote with E. D. Merrill, the Bibliography of eastern Asiatic botany and wrote the Important Trees of the Ryukyu Islands (1954) and the Flora of Okinawa and the Southern Ryukyu Islands (1976). He retired in 1958 from the Smithsonian, and passed away in 1991.


  • Bell, Deborah (1999). Egbert H. Walker Okinawa Exhibit. The Plant Press. 2 (2) 6-7. Retrieved from http://botany.si.edu/pubs/plantpress/vol2no2.pdf
  • Harvard University Herbarium Botanist Index. ASA Botanist ID: 101733 botanist. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  • Meyer, Frederick G. Egbert Hamilton Walker (1899-1991). Taxon. 41 (3) 618-620. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1222855

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