William Ralph Maxon

ID: SIA2009-4247

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: circa 1930

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95,Box 27D, Folder Maxon

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Wearing a hat, William Ralph Maxon, a botanist for the United States National Museum, sits under a tree with a book open on his lap.


  • Maxon, W. R
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Botany
  • United States National Herbarium


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


In November 1899, Maxon received an appointment as an aid in the United States National Museum, Division of Plants. Working his way up the professional ladder, Maxon became assistant curator in 1905, associate curator in 1914, and the second curator of that Division from 1937 until 1946. Retiring in 1946, Maxon became an associate in botany, a position he held until his death on February 25, 1948. Maxon specialized in the taxonomic study of Pteridophyta, especially those of tropical America, and was considered to be one of the leading systematic pteridologists of his time. He built up the fern collection in the United States National Herbarium from one of relative insignificance to one of the finest in quantity and quality in the western hemisphere. Between 1903 and 1926 he undertook nine major expeditions to tropical America.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95,Box 27D, Folder Maxon

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


circa 1930

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Curators
  • Botany
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Plants
  • Pteridophyta
  • Botanists
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • Museum curators


  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 4w x 5h; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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