Deaths -- John J. Wurdack (1921-1998)

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  • Article is an obituary of and heart-felt tribute to John J. Wurdack, Curator Emeritus of Botany, National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, who died of cancer on May 13, 1998. Wurdack was born in Pennsylvania in 1921, attended the University of Pittsburgh, and served in the Army during World War II. He was posted in Brazil after war's end, and shortly after leaving the service began graduate studies in botany at Columbia University, which had an association with the New York Botanical Garden.
  • Wurdack was with the Garden for 11 years, conducting botanical studies in South America during more than half that time. In 1960, he accepted a position as Associate Curator at the National Museum of Natural History. Wurdack undertook another trip to South America in 1964, but field work gave way to his concentrating almost exclusively on written studies of flowering plants as he published more than 130 papers, some of which included extensive treatments of South American flora.


  • Wurdack, John Julius
  • New York Botanical Gardens
  • United States National Museum
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Botany


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article contains one photograph of Wurdack with his surprise Festschrift on June 27, 1997. The author was one of Wurdack's Smithsonian Institution colleagues in the Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History.

Contained within

Taxon Vol. 47 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


November 1998


  • Museums
  • Plants
  • Botany
  • Botany--Classification
  • Biography
  • Museum curators


  • South America
  • Venezuela
  • Washington (D.C.)

Physical description

p. 971-973

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