(10 August 1890 – 23 February 1977)1
In 2018 the University of North Carolina at Greensboro gave the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium several hundred herbarium specimens. We are still cataloging and accessioning these specimens. Many were collected by Lawson Edwin Yocum, who consistently signed his labels as “L. E. Yocum”. Thus far we have cataloged 121 vascular plant specimens collected by Yocum.
Besides NCU, the only other herbarium which curates specimens collected by Yocum is the A. C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina in Columbia (USCH).2
Lawson Edwin Yocum was the son of Ambros Yocum (born in Pennsylvania in October, 1864) and Ida M. Yocum (born in Pennsylvania in February, 1866). Lawson, born in August, 1890, had two brothers, Nelson C., born in October, 1893, and Myron C., born in March 1899. The family had a farm in Roaring Creek, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.3
In 1911 Yocum earned a diploma at Bloomsburg Normal School, a secondary & college preparatory institution in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.12 He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State College in 1915. He earned both graduate degrees from Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) – Master of Science in 1920, followed by Ph.D. in plant physiology in 1924.5 The title of his doctoral dissertation was “The translocation of the food materials of the wheat seedling,” and his advisor was Dr. A. L. Bakke.
Yocum married Mildred E. Hicks (1893-1980) ca. 1917, and their daughter, Mary Jean was born in Pennsylvania ca. 1919.4 Jean Yocum, as she came to be called, attended George Washington University and was won the Women’s Individual Intercollegiate Rifle Championship in 1939.13 She married botanist Jack Rodney Harlan (1917-1998) in Berkeley, California, in 1939, and died in Urbana, Illinois in 1982.
Lawson Edwin Yocum was an instructor in many institutions over his long career as educator and botanist. He taught in the Roaring Creek Township (Pennsylvania) public schools from 1911-1913. While at Pennsylvania State University he was a student assistant (1913-1916) and Instructor (1918-1919). He was an instructor at Iowa State College while he was in graduate school. From 1920 to 1921 Yocum taught at Centerville High School in Pennsylvania.12
Yocum became an Assistant Professor of Botany at the North Carolina College for Women (which later became University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in the 1921-22 academic year, and during that time he published “Some phases of the structure and development of garden pea and white sweet clover seeds as related to hardness”. When the North Carolina Academy of Science held its Annual Meeting at the North Carolina College for Women in 1923, Yocum attended.8 Yocum and his wife are listed as honorary members of the Dikean Literary Society (1922), and Yocum is listed as am member of the Botany Club (1929) at North Carolina College for Women.9,10
He was a member of the Biology Department faculty during the 1930-31 academic year. According to Erin Lawrimore, UNC-G Archivist, “In 1931-32 and 1932-33, [Yocum] is listed as teaching botany courses in the course description section [of the course bulletin], but he is not in the overall list of faculty. This may mean that he had left by this point, and, while they updated the faculty roster, they simply forgot to change his name in the course descriptions.”5
Yocum joined the faculty of the Columbian College of George Washington University in 1931 as an Assistant Professor of Botany. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1937, and attained Professor of Botany in 1945.7, 12 He served as the President of the Botanical Society of Washington in 1943.6 On June 6, 1956, Dr. Cloyd Marvin, the President of George Washington University, conferred the status of Professor Emeritus of Botany on Dr. Yocum.12
Lawson Edwin Yocum died at age 86 in Pinellas County, Florida on 23 February 1977, and is buried with his wife, Mildred, in a family plot in Kulp Cemetery, Catawissa, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.1, 11
PUBLICATIONS (likely incomplete list):
Martin, J. N. and L. E. Yocum (1919) A study of the pollen and pistils of apples in relation to the germination of the pollen. Contributions from the Department of Botany of Iowa State College 81: 391-410.
Yocum, L. Edwin (1922) Some phases of the structure and development of garden pea and white sweet clover seeds as related to hardness. Journal of the Elisha Mitchecll Scientific Society 38(1, 2): 76-83. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/24331526 )
Yocum, L. Edwin (1924) The translocation of the food materials of the wheat seedling. Doctoral dissertation, Iowa State College.
Yocum, L. E. (1935) The stomata and transpiration of oaks. Plant Physiology 10(4): 795-801.
Yocum, L. Edwin (1941) Two Quaker botanists, Father and Son: Review of “John and William Bartram” by Ernest Earnest. The Scientific Monthly 52(2): 180.
Yocum, L. Edwin (1945) Plant Growth. The Jacques Cattell Press, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1. Find A Grave Memorial #122974440 https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/122974440 accessed on 15 March 2019.
2. Sernecportal.org searched on 21 March 2019.
3. Year: 1900; Census Place: Roaring Creek, Columbia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241398. Source: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
4. Year: 1930; Census Place: Greensboro, Guilford, North Carolina; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 2341429. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
5. Personal communication, email Lawrimore to McCormick 18 March 2019.
6. Whittemore, Alan T. (2019) Presidents of the Botanical Society of Washington, page 2. http://www.botsoc.org/BSWPresidents.pdf
7. Year: 1940; Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00563; Page 8A; Enumeration District: 1-303A. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original Data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627,4,643 rolls.
8. Anonymous (1923) Proceedings of the Twenty-second annual meeting of the North Carolina Academy of Science, held at the North Carolina College for Women, Greensboro, North Carolina, May 4-5, 1923. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 34: 27.
9. Members of Botany Club (1929) Pine Needles, page 213. “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Pine Needles; Year: 1929. Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010.
10. Members of Dikean Literary Society (1922) Pine Needles, page 180. “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Pine Needles; Year: 1922. Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010.
11. Lawson Edwin Yocum. Ancestry.com Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2004. Original data: State of Florida. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998.
12. Personal communication, email Kamsler to McCormick 28 March 2019.
13. Title: Co-ed crowned queen of rifle shooters. Washington, D. C., April 6. Jean Yocum, George Washington University co-ed, has won the Women’s Individual Intercollegiate Rifle Championship, according to the national Rifle Association. Her Score of 496 out of a possible 500 gave the individual title to a G.W. girl for the first time since 1929. Although this is only Miss Yocum’s second year of shooting, she has maintained an average of 99 out of a possible 100 in all matches, 4-6-39. Creators: Harris & Ewing, photographer. Date Created/Published: 1939 April 6. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-hec-26436 (digital file from original negative). Call Number: LC-H22D-6282 [P&P]. Repository: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.