(b. 19 July 1926)
Portrait of George S. Ramseur, 1965, courtesy of the William R. Laurie University Archives & Special Collections, The University of the South
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 1,300 vascular plants collected by George S. Ramseur, who usually signed his specimens as “G. S. Ramseur”. Most of Ramseur’s specimens at NCU were vouchers for his doctoral thesis on high mountain plant communities in the southern Appalachians collected during the summers of 1956, 1957, and 1958. During the autumn of 1956 Ramseur made many collections in Alamance County, North Carolina as part of the “Vascular Flora of the Carolinas” project, which culminated in the publication of The Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas by Radford, Ahles & Bell in 1968. In the spring of 1957, Ramseur collected with NCU Curator Harry E. Ahles for “Flora of the Carolinas” in Dillon County, South Carolina as well as in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, and Robeson Counties, North Carolina.
Ramseur’s specimens can be found in herbaria across North America.
George Shuford Ramseur was born at Quaker Meadow, Burke County, North Carolina to William F. and Esther Simpson Ramseur on 19 July 1926.(1) He served in the United States Navy’s pilot training program during World War II and earned his B. A. from Elon College in 1948.(8, 9) He earned both M.Ed. and Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.(2) He joined the faculty of University of the South in 1958, and founded the University of the South Herbarium (UOS) in 1959.(3, 4) Ramseur served as Chair of the Biology Department at University of the South from 1984-1989, and became Professor Emeritus in 1993.(9)
Ramseur married Ruth Tate Anderson on 6 June 1953, and together they had three children. Ruth died at age 93 in 2019.(3, 5)
In 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Dr. Ramseur and his granddaughter, Ally visited the University of the South greenhouse to view the Titan Arum in bloom.(6)
Evans, Jonathan P., Callie A. Oldfield, Mary P. Priestley, Yolande M. Gottfried, L. Dwayne Estes, Alfire Sidik, and George S. Ramseur. 2016. The vascular flora of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Castanea 81(3): 206-236.
Ramseur, George L. 1995. 1995 Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award Recipient: James F. Matthews. Castanea 60(3): 173-175.
White, Peter S., Ronald I. Miller and George S. Ramseur. 1984. The species-area relationship of the southern Appalachian high peaks: Vascular plant richness and rare plant distributions. Castanea 49(2) 47-61.
Saunders, Paul R., Garrett A. Smathers, and George S. Ramseur. 1983. Secondary succession of a spruce-fir burn in the Plott Balsam Mountains, North Carolina. Castanea 48(1): 41-47.
Ramseur, George S. 1965. Review of: “Balsam Fir: a monographic review” by E. V. Bakuzis and H. L. Hansen. Science, New Series 150(3705): 1802.
Ramseur, George Shuford. 1960. The vascular flora of high mountain communities of the southern Appalachians. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 76(1): 82-112.
Ramseur, George Shuford. 1959. The vascular flora of high mountain communities of the southern Appalachians. Ph.D. thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ramseur, George S. 1959. A natural stand of Rhododendron x wellesleyanum Waterer ex Rehder in the southern Appalachians. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 75(2): 131.
1. ‘George Shufford [sic] Ramseur’ Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina State Archives. Microfilm. Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Birth Indexes, 1800-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
2. “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: University of the South; Year: 1961. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
3. “Ruth Anderson Ramseur, July 24, 1925 – May 23, 2019” Obituary, Moore-Cortner Funeral Home, Winchester, TN. https://www.moorecortner.com/obituaries/Ruth-Anderson-Ramseur?obId=4429338 accessed on 5 August 2020.
4. Priestly, Mary. 2009. Sewanee Herbarium Celebrates 50 Years. The Nickajack Naturalist (Sept. 17, 2009). https://www.nickajack-naturalist.com/2009/09/sewanee-herbarium-celebrates-50-years.html accessed on 5 August 2020.
5. North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC. Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
6. Personal communication, email from Jonathan Evans to McCormick, 4 August 2020.
7. Priestly, Mary. 2016. Herbarium open house Nov. 5, 2016. Sewanee Herbarium. https://sewaneeherbarium.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/herbarium-open-house/ accessed on 5 August 2020.
8. Langston, Allan. 1961. “Arcadia Academica: Dr. George Ramseur”. Sewanee Purple February 8, 1961, page 4.
9. Personal communications, Matthew Reynolds, University of the South Archives to McCormick, 5 August 2020.
Special thanks to Dr. Jonathan Evans, Curator UOS and to Matthew Reynolds, William R. Laurie University Archives and Special Collections, The University of the South.