Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Compiled by Carol Ann
McCormick, Curator NCU,
Nicole Wallace, Alumni Records, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
and Wayne Thompson, Librarian, National Agricultural Library, United States
Department of Agriculture
(4 August 1921 – 23 November 1990 )
Sherwin was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her father, Melvin Ernest Sherwin, was a professor
of agriculture at North Carolina State College in that city. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from
Women’s College of the University of North Carolina (which later became the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1941.
Ms. Sherwin studied mycology under
Dr. John Nathaniel Couch at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. She deposited a few vascular
plant specimens to NCU. They were
collected in the spring of 1943, probably as part of her botanical studies,
as they were all collected around Chapel Hill, especially in Battle Park,
a favorite site for teaching field botany.
Ms. Sherwin deposited about 60 fungal specimens in NCU; most were
collected during the summers of 1942 and 1943 in the vicinity of the Highlands Biological Station in Macon County, North Carolina. Ms. Sherwin earned a Masters
Degree in Botany in 1944, and the title of her thesis was “Some wild yeasts
found around Chapel Hill.”
Label of fungal specimen collected by
Helen Sherwin deposited in NCU
Ms. Sherwin married Dr. John Yu (in 1953?),
though she retained her maiden name professionally.
Ms. Sherwin worked for the United States
Department of Agriculture in the plant pathology section for eleven years.1 She deposited specimens in BPI between 1946
and 1953; many were fungi found on Sorghum,
Glycine, Cynodon, Trifolium,
Paspalum, and Lotus, and many were collected with USDA colleagues K. W. Kreitlow and C. L. Lefebvre.
Helen Sherwin described Helminthosporium sorghicola
Lefebvre & Sherwin, a a pathogen of Sorghum in the southern United
States. Specimens collected by Helen
Sherwin, including those deposited in NCU and BPI, can be searched at mycoportal.org
According to her obituary in The Washington
“Helen Sherwin Yu, 69, a founder and past
president of the Plain Dirt Garden Club in Potomac and a former Agriculture
Department plant pathologist, died of cancer Nov. 23  at her home in
Potomac…She moved to the Washington are in 1944 and worked for 11 years as a
plant pathologist at the Agriculture Department’s research facility in
Beltsville [Maryland]. She was a
member of Potomac United Methodist Church.
Her husband, Dr. John C.K. Yu, died in 1979. Survivors include two daughters, Janet Yahiro of Columbia and Betsy King of Rockville; four
sisters, Evelyn Beaven of Solomons,
Md., Ernestine Spillman of Atlanta, Dorothy Brown
of Agawam, Mass., and Hilda Sherwin of Bloomington, Ind.; a brother, Sidney
Sherwin of Salisbury, N.C.; and four grandchildren.”1
(possibly incomplete list):
Lefebvre, C. L. and H. S. Sherwin. 1945.
Observations on the Bacterial Canker of Cowpea. Phytopathology
Lefebvre, C. L. and H. S. Sherwin.
1945. Races of Helminthosporium
Olive, L. S., C. L. Lefebvre, and H. S. Sherwin. 1946.
The fungus that causes Sooty Strip of Sorghum spp. Phytopathology 36(3): 190-200.
Sherwin, H. S., C. L. Lefebvre, and R. W. Leukel. 1946.
Effect of seed treatment on Soybeans germinated at 4
temperatures. Phytopthology 36(8): 688.
Sherwin, Helen Shedd. 1948.
Studies on some wild yeasts from Chapel Hill and vicinity. Journal
of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 64(2): 267-276.
Lefebvre, C. L. and Helen S. Sherwin.
1948. An undescribed species of
on Sudan Grass and Sorghum. Mycologia
Sherwin, H. S., C. L. Lefebvre and R. W. Leukel. 1948.
Effect of seed treatment on the germination of Soybeans. Phytopathology
Lefebvre, C. L., A. G. Johnson and Helen S. Sherwin. 1949.
An undescribed species of Periconia. Mycologica
Lewis, A. J., H. S. Sherwin, I. Forbes, and R. E. Wagner. 1949.
destructive pathogen of Alta-Fescue, Smooth Brome Grass, and Birdsfoot Trefoil.
Phytopathology 39(1): 1.
Lefebvre, C. L. and H. S. Sherwin.
1950. Inheritance of resistance
to Bacterial Canker in Cowpea, Vigna sinensis. Phytopathology 40(1): 17-18.
Kreitlow, K. W., Helen Sherwin and C. L.
Lefebvre. 1950. Susceptibility of Tall and Meadow Fescues
infection. Plant Disease Reporter 35(6):
Sherwin, H. S. and C. L. Lefebvre.
1951. Reaction of Cowpea
varieties to Bacterial Canker. Plant Disease Reporter 35(7): 303-317.
Sherwin, H. S. 1951. The relationship of Cercospora sp. to seed
discoloration in Soybeans. Phytopathology 41(6): 565.
Sherwin, Helen S. 1952. Target Spot on
soybeans in Virginia. Plant Disease Reporter 36(12): 491.
Sherwin, H. S. and K. W. Kreitlow. 1952.
Discoloration of soybean seeds by the frogeye fungus, Cercospora sojina. Phytopathology 42(10): 568-572.
Jehle, R. A., A. E. Jenkins, K. W. Kreitlow and H. S. Sherman. 1952.
An outbreak of Phyllosticta
canker and Leafspot on Soybeans in Maryland.
Phytopathology 42(6): 342.
“Helen S. Yu, Garden Club President” Obituary, The Washington Post, 24
November 1990. Accessed on 23 June
Curriculum North Carolina UNC
In Ecology Botanical Garden Biology Department
of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
Updated: 23 June 2016