The University of North Carolina Herbarium has
catalogued nearly 1055 specimens collected by Delzie Demaree. As only
approximately 10% of the collection has been catalogued, no doubt many more
specimens collected by Demaree will be found.
Delzie Demaree was a prolific collector,
particularly of plants of the southeastern United States. NCU has many
specimens that he collected in Mississippi and Arkansas. In addition to
depositing specimens at NCU, he sent specimens to BH, BUT, DS, F , HH, ILL,
ISL, KY, L, LA, LAM, LCU, LIL, MIN, MO, NO, NY, OKLA, PH (nearly 7000
specimens), POM SD, STAR, TENN, TEX, TTC, UARK, US, USFS, UVST, VBB, W WS,
and WTU (1). His personal herbarium of over 50,000 specimens was donated to
SMU (2). In 1987 SMU was transferred on permanent loan to BRIT (3). His field
notebooks are at MO (4).
Delzie Demaree was born to Dora Francis Myers
and Jospeh Demaree in Benham, Ripley County, Indiana on 15 September, 1899
(6). He attended Danville High School, then served in the U.S. Marine Corps
from April 1917 until May 1919 (2). According to Ira Wiggins, "His long
hikes free of complaints were remarkable, for he had suffered a serious wound
to a foot during action in France during World War I, and had been gassed
during the same period of military service (2, p. 273). He earned a B.S. in
Botany from Indiana University in 1920, then M.S. in botany from Chicago
University in 1921. He completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1932,
and the title of his doctoral thesis was "The water relations of Aesculus
californica (Spach) Nuttall.
Demaree held numerous teaching positions (2):
1914 -1915 Common Schools, Benham Indiana
1916 - 1917 High School, Westpoint, Indiana
1922 - 1926 Hendricks College
1924 - 1925 Yale Forestry School (two summers of Dendrology)
1926 - 1930 University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
1934 (one quarter) Texas Tech, Lubbock Texas
1936 - 1946 Monticello Agricultural & Mechanical
1946 - 1953 Arkansas State University at Jonesboro
1953 - 1956 Navajo Nation & Hopi Reservation
1956 - 1958 (three summers) Gulf Coast Research Lab, Ocean Springs,
Mississippi and Tulane University
Demaree married Catherine Finch Lane on 2
October 1920 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana (6). They had three
Sida Volume 9 number 7 published in December
1982 was dedicated Delzie Demaree, and includes remembrances by Ira L.
Wiggins (Professor Emeritus, Stanford University), Bob Kral (Vanderbilt
University), Mary H. Wathern (Science/Engineering Library, Southern Methodist
University), R. B. Channel (Vanderbilt University), Peter Raven (Missouri
Botanical Garden), Donna M. E. Ware (College of William & Mary), Barney
Lipscomb (Southern Methodist University Herbarium), Donald Stone (Duke
University), and Harry J. Lesko (President, Trailways, Inc.). The
remembrances include many photographs of Demaree from age 20 (2, pg. 270) to
age 84 (2, pg. 284).
R. B. Channell's remembrance (2, p. 275-279)
Dr. Demaree is notorious. He led classes fearlessly through forest, field,
marsh, and stream. He was known to stomp a rattlesnake or moccasin in the
safety of his laced up, knee high leather boots. He was even known to catch
poisonous snakes occasionally with his bare hands while holding them
underfoot. He enjoyed an old fashioned coon hunt and could stay out all
night, after a hard day of collecting plants, listening to the bark of the
hounds in pursuit, their howl when the fleeing animal was treed. On field
trips he collected plants by the scores, duplicates of some up to twenty --
any kind of plant: big, medium or small; tree, wildflower or weed. He had no
use for a vasculum, often ridiculing another's use of that ungainly
contrivance. He collected plants in a cardboard box, held by a belt-like strap,
if he did not press the plants on the spot in his rugged, beat-up field
press...He discarded newspapers printed with comic strips. He reasoned that
to use comics for pressing plants was to tempt an hourly wage earner, the
mounter, to stop work and read, or better re-read the comics. Surely Dr.
Demaree deserves a share in Trailways and Greyhound by now, for these
represent the principal means by which he travelled over the country, often
pulling the cord to signal the driver he wanted to get off in the middle of
nowhere, wherever he happened to see plants he wanted to collect. After
collecting them, he'd simply wait for the next bus.
In fact, Harry, J. Lesko, the President of
Trailways, wrote a tribute to Demaree (2, pg. 286):
It is with great pleasure that we at Trailways
join with you in extending Dr. Delzie Demaree our very best wishes. During
Dr. Demaree's long and illustrious career he has traveled extensively
throughout the United States. We at Trailways feel fortunate to have carried
Dr. Demaree more than 200,000 miles on a number of his fact and specimen
finding excursions. We trust that Dr. Demaree will continue traveling and
enjoying the natural beauty of this country for many years to come. And we
hope that when Dr. Demaree plans a trip we can continue to be of service to
such a valued and respected individual.
According to William Mahler, Demaree once owned
a 1917 Ford which he gave to his sister three weeks later (2, p. 269).
Probably as a result of not having a car, he did not use the mileage from a
certain intersection when noting plant locations, but instead gave the name
of the nearest U.S. Post Office.
Delzie Demaree died of pneumonia following surgery on a broken hip in Bonham,
Fannin County, Texas on 2 July 1987 (5 lists death place as Bonham, Arkansas;
6 lists as Bonham, Fannin County, Texas).
An obituary appears on page 6 of the 18 July 1987 issue of the daily
newspaper the Jonesboro Sun (printed in Jonesboro, Craighead
Arkansas). The UNC Herbarium would appreciate receiving a copy of this
Partial List of Publications
Demaree, Delzie (1931) The water relations of Aesculus
californica (Spach) Nuttall. Thesis (Ph.D.), Dept. of Botany, Stanford
---- (1932) Plant responses to sawdust. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. 51: 125-126.
---- (1932) Submerging experiments with Taxodium. Ecology 13 (3):
Cannon, W. A., Delzie Demaree, and Edith A. Purer (1933) Evaporation,
transpiration and oxygen consumption by roots. Science 78(2026): 388-389.
Demaree, Delzie (1933) A catalogue of the ligneous flora of Arkansas.
Kurz, Herman and Delzie Demaree (1934) Cypress buttresses and knees in
relation to water and air. Ecology 15(1): 36-41.
Demaree, Delzie (1941) Noteworthy Arkansas plants. I. Proc. Ark. Acad. 1:
---- (1943) Arkansas Fern Notes. American Fern Journal 33 (2): 75.
---- (1943) A catalogue of the vascular plants of Arkansas. Taxodium 1(1):
1-88. Monticello, Ark.: Botany Dept., Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical
Taylor, W. Carl and D. Demaree (1979) Annotated list of the ferns and fern
allies of Arkansas. Rhodora 81 (828): 503-548.
Sources used for
this web page:
1. Stafleu, Franz A. and Eric A. Mennega (1998)
Guide to Taxonomic Literature Supplement v: Da-Di. Konigstein, Germany:
Koeltz Scientific Books.
2. Mahler, Wm. F. and B. L. Lipscomb (1982) Sida, contributions of botany
Volume 9 Number 4 Dedicated to Delzie Demaree 1889 --. Sida 9(4): 269-286.
3. Index Herbariorum, SMU entry. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/ih/herbarium.php?irn=126015
accessed on 20 August 2007.
4. http://www.mobot.org/mobot/molib/part2.pdf accessed on 19 August 2007.
5. Anonymous (1987) Deaths: Delzie Demaree. Taxon 36(4): 802.
6. Family Data Collection, individual records about Delzie Demaree,
Ancestry.com accessed on 20 August 2007.