NCU has over 200 vascular plant specimens and
over 200 fungi collected Alma Holland Beers. Without doubt many more will be found as
we continue to catalog all our collections.
Alma Holland Beers was a frequent
co-collector with Dr. W. C. Coker and Nancy Eliason.
In fact, on many labels Dr. Coker puts just "Alma & Nancy" or
even "the girls" as co-collectors.
You can search NCU’s mycological collections
using the Macrofungi
Collections Consortium website ; to
search for Alma Holland Beers’ specimens, enter “Holland” in the Collector
Last Name field, as she used her maiden name on most labels.
Alma Leonora Holland was born January 10,
1892 in Moore County, North Carolina. Her parents were James Leonidas
Holland and Inez Neglina Leach, both farmers.
In 1917 she enrolled in summer session at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she took a botany
course under Dr. William Chambers Coker. Impressed with the care and
precision of her work, Dr. Coker asked Miss Holland to remain in the Botany
Department as a "research assistant." She was never given another
title, but while bearing this one performed the duties of teacher, editor,
librarian, translator, secretary, artist, and plant collector. She reported
that she was so elated to receive this position that she burned her certificate
for teaching in public schools.
She was the first woman hired by the Botany department as a research
assistant. While in the employ of the Department, she also took occasional
courses, earning her B.A. degree in 1925 and becoming a member of Phi Beta
In 1941 she married Dr. Charles Dale Beers
of the Zoology Department. She spent summers with him in Cold Springs, New
York, to escape the North Carolina heat and humidity. In 1951, Mrs. Beers
retired from the Botany Department, stating simply, "Henceforth I
shall dig in my garden and raise flowers." She passed away on October