Beach (kneeling at left) helps his classmates in Dr. Barrows' survey class in
Dr. Barrows was a professor of mathamatics and survey and also a
Charter Trustee [of Rollins College].
In photo above:
Rex Beach (kneeling, left) , Fred Ensminger, Ruth Ford (third from left) ,
Albert Barrows (Nathan Barrows’ son) , Fitz Frank,
Dr. Barrows (third from right), Walter
Fairchild, and two unnamed.
Date Original (ca.) 1894
The University of North Carolina Herbarium has
catalogued about thirty plants collected by Nathan Barrows, who signed his
herbarium labels "N. Barrows, M.D." All were collected in Winter
Park, Florida, in 1894 - 1895. Many of Barrows' specimens were in the Jesup
Herbarium of Dartmouth College given to NCU in 2002. As only about 10% of the
Herbarium's collection is databased, it is likely that more will be found.
Nathan Barrows was born in Hartford, Connecticut
on 20 February 1830. He was the eldest son of Rev. Elijah Porter Barrows and
Sophia M. Lee Barrows. He earned an A.B. degree from the Western Reserve
College (Hudson, Ohio) in 1850 and an A.M. in 1853 from the same institution.
He graduated with an M.D. from Cleveland Medical College, Western Reserve
University in 1855. The topic of his medical thesis was "The Study of
the Natural Sciences Necessary to the Physician".
Upon graduating from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia
University in New York City in 1857, he was house surgeon in Belleview
Hospital in that city. He moved to Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1859 and
practiced medicine there until 1864. While in Falmouth in 1862, he married
Susan Haines, and together they had five children, of whom only Porter and
Albert reached adulthood. "After six years devoted to medical practice
he gave it up altogether, for the more congenial work of teaching, and to
this Profession he gave the remainder of his life" (3, pg. 3). This is
confirmed by Jennifer Nieves of the Dittrick Medical History Center of Case
Western Reserve University, who reports that Barrows does not appear in the Polk
Medical and Surgical Directories from 1874 through 1890.
From 1865 to 1880 Barrows was teacher and
principal of several academies in New England, including Philips Academy
(Andover, Massachusetts), Kendall Free Academy and Hartford High School
(Connecticut). He was the organizer and first principal of Stephens High
School in Claremont, New Hampshire. In 1882 he moved to Orange City, Florida
to farm fruit (3).
In 1884 the First Annual Meeting of the Congregational Association of Florida
appointed Dr. Barrows, Rev. J.A. Ball, and Rev. A. B. Dilley to a committee
to explore founding a college in central Florida (1, p. 6). Rollins College
was established in Winter Park, Florida in 1885, and Nathan Barrows was one
of the Charter Trustees. "Charges for the three-term academic year of
thirty-two weeks were: Tuition, $18 per term, Board, $48 (later reduced to
$36), Furnished Room with Light, $12; total for the year, $234." (1, p.
Nathan Barrows taught at Rollins College from
its beginning in 1885. Barrows, Lewis A. Austin, J.H. Ford, and Annie Morton
were appointed full, permanent professors in 1888 at an annual salary of
$1,000 (with a promise of $1,200 if the finances of the college permitted).
Barrows taught mathematics, served as Assistant Treasurer, and was the
secretary of the Board of Trustees at Rollins College. "He was also an
amateur naturalist who led the students on many expeditions into the Florida
wilderness." (2, pg. 24) He was involved in a "shipwreck experience
off Tybee [Georgia] in 1892" , and experienced ill health afterward (3,
pg. 5). Barrows retired from Rollins College in 1895, and died on 3 March
1900 in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Why Barrows collected plants, and how they came
to be in the Jesup Herbarium of Dartmouth College is not known. It is
intriguing that Charles Henry Hitchcock,
a professor of geology at Dartmouth College, collected plants in Winter Park,
Florida in the 1890's. Given both Barrows' and Hitchcock's wide interests in
science and natural history, it is possible that they were friends or
professional acquaintances, and that Hitchcock persuaded Barrows to deposit
his herbarium specimens at Dartmouth.
Undated image of Nathan Barrows from "In
Memoriam of Nathan Barrows" digitized by Central Florida Memory (3).
1. The first seven years of Rollins College.
Rollins College Bulletin, vol. LI, no. 1, December 1955.
accessed on 8 May 2007.
2. Lane, Jack C. (1980 ) Rollins College: A
Pictorial History. Rose Printing Company, Inc., Tallahassee, Florida.
accessed on 9 May 2007.
3. In Memoriam of Dr. Nathan Barrows. Undated,
accessed on 9 May 2007.