Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 226
United States National Museum. Department of Botany
Ellsworth Paine Killip, botanist, was born in Rochester, New York, on September 2, 1890. Killip attended the University of Rochester and received an A.B. in 1911. From 1914 to 1917, Killip held the position of associate curator at the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
On July 7, 1919, Killip was appointed as an aid in the United States National Museum, Division of Plants. He became assistant curator of the Division in December 1927, and on June 1, 1928, became an associate curator. Upon the retirement of William Ralph Maxon in 1946, Killip was made curator of the Division of Plants. During Killip's administration, the Division of Plants underwent reorganization. The Division was separated from the Department of Biology and raised to the status of a department, becoming the Department of Botany on July 31, 1947. Killip became head curator of the Department and also held the title of acting curator for the Division of Cryptogams, one of four original divisions formed under the reorganization. Killip retained both titles until his retirement from the Department in 1950. From 1951 through 1965, Killip continued his research and his ties with the USNM as a research associate in the Division of Phanerogams.
Killip's main studies were on the taxonomy of South American plants. Some of his expeditions to South America are documented in this collection. Among his publications is an article, "American species of Passifloraceae," 1938, and a major study on the passionflower family that was published in two volumes.
Killip was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Cosmos Club, and the Washington Biologists' Field Club. He died in California on November 28, 1968.
These records document the history of the United States National Museum, Division of Plants (1919-1947) and Department of Botany (1947-1949) while Ellsworth Paine Killip was an aid, assistant curator, associate curator, and curator of the Division and the Department, as well as personal correspondence between Killip and his colleagues documenting their personal and professional activities. Included are occasional letters and copies of letters to and from William Ralph Maxon that apparently were forwarded to Killip. For the most part, this material includes loose incoming and outgoing correspondence between Killip and U.S. and foreign botanists; directors and botanists of U.S. and foreign herbaria; museum curators; colleagues, friends; editors; and scientific societies regarding the examination and identification of botanical specimens; exchange of specimen collections; explorations and collecting expeditions, especially Killip's expeditions to South America; information on mounting specimens; requests for photographs pertaining to Killip's publications; requests for publications and reprints; reviewing monographs; checking manuscripts for taxonomy and nomenclature; scientific society meetings; nominations for officers and membership to scientific societies; evaluation of colleagues for positions; recommendations for job openings; personal matters; also letterpress books containing references to Killip's collecting expeditions in Colombia; Killip's work on South American plants; determination of plants received; manuscript copies; passports; maps; and a few copies of outgoing letters from Paul C. Standley, assistant curator, Division of Plants (1921).
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Killip, Ellsworth Paine, 1890-
- Standley, Paul Carpenter, 1884-1963
- Maxon, William R. (William Ralph), 1877-1948
- United States National Museum. Division of Cryptogams
- United States National Museum. Division of Grasses
- United States National Museum. Division of Phanerogams
- United States National Museum. Division of Plants
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 226, United States National Museum. Department of Botany, Records