Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7271
Beattie, R. Kent (Rolla Kent), 1875-
Rolla Kent Beattie Papers, circa 1928-1947
Rolla Kent Beattie (1875-1960), botanist and plant pathologist, was born in Ashland, Ohio. Beattie received his A.B. degree from Cotner University in 1895, and his B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Nebraska in 1896 and 1898, respectively. While at Nebraska, Beattie came under the influence of Charles Edwin Bessey, and remained a disciple of the Besseyan school of botany throughout his career.
Beattie taught high school in Colorado and Wyoming before becoming an instructor of botany at Washington State College in 1899. At Washington State he collaborated with Charles Vancouver Piper on researching the flora of Washington, Idaho, and the Northwest coast. In 1903 Beattie succeeded Piper as department head and botanist at the College's Agricultural Experiment Station.
Beattie began his studies on plant diseases while at Washington State. His studies eventually led to his working intermittently for the Federal Horticultural Board and the Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture. While working for these federal agencies, Beattie helped establish inspection procedures for plants and undertook the task of solving the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease.
Beattie retired in 1945 and began a study of David Douglas, pioneer plant explorer in the Pacific Northwest. Ill health prevented Beattie from completing his task.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These papers consist of correspondence from Mary Agnes Chase, William Ralph Maxon, and Egbert Hamilton Walker, Division of Plants, United States National Museum, concerning the receipt, examination, and determination of Beattie's Japanese ferns and grasses; correspondence concerning Merritt Lyndon Fernald's critical remarks about government scientists; field notes taken in Washington and Idaho, 1946; notes concerning botanical publications, bibliographies, and explorations in China, with a list of books shelved in the Hong Kong Herbarium Library, undated; and newspaper clippings regarding scientific research and explorations in China and the Far East, 1928-1932.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Beattie, R. Kent (Rolla Kent), 1875-
- Chase, Agnes, 1869-1963
- Maxon, William R. (William Ralph), 1877-1948
- Walker, Egbert H. (Egbert Hamilton), 1899-1991
- Fernald, Merritt Lyndon, 1873-1950
- Bessey, Charles E. (Charles Edwin), 1845-1915
- Piper, Charles V. (Charles Vancouver), 1867-1926
- Douglas, David, 1799-1834
- United States National Museum. Division of Plants
- Hong Kong Herbarium
- Cotner University
- University of Nebraska
- State College of Washington
- United States. Federal Horticultural Board
- United States. Bureau of Plant Industry
- United States. Department of Agriculture
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7271, Rolla Kent Beattie Papers