Nancy Blair Eliason

(19 April 1905 – 19 October 1991)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about forty vascular plants, half a dozen non-vascular plants, and a dozen fungi collected by Nancy Blair Eliason. As our collections are cataloged it is likely that more will be found. At this time, it appears that NCU was Eliason’s sole repository.

William Chambers Coker and Alma Holland Beers were frequent co-collectors with Ms. Eliason.  Dr. Coker’s labels sometimes refer to them as “Alma and Nancy,” or simply as “the girls.”  Ms. Eliason’s collections are predominantly from two locations in North Carolina:  Chapel Hill, where she did her undergrad & graduate work, and Highlands, where she spent several summers at the Highlands Biological Station.

Nancy Blair Eliason was born in Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina on 19 April 1905 to William Alexander and Mary Rebecca Hampton Eliason.1  She completed her A.B. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1928.  She continued her studies at UNC-CH with William Chambers Coker and earned a M.A. in 1931 with her thesis, “Development of the seed in the morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) and in dodder (Cuscuta arvensis)”.

Ms. Eliason held a number of teaching posts, including stints at Peace College (now William Peace University) in Raleigh (1937) and East Carolina College (now East Carolina University) in Greenville (1958-1959).2,3  In 1959 she joined the faculty of Campbell College (now Campbell University) in Buies Creek, North Carolina and spent the rest of her career teaching biology at that institution.  She retired from Campbell College in 1971.4

Nancy Eliason died in Dunn, Harnett County, North Carolina in 1991.1


  1.  North Carolina, Birth Indexes, 1800-2000 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data:  Register of Deeds.  North Carolina Birth Indexes, Raleigh, North Carolina:  North Carolina State Archives.  Microfilm.
  2. Peace College 1937 Yearbook.  accessed on 4 December 2013.
  3. Faculty Archives, East Carolina University.  accessed on 4 December 2013.
  4. Pers. comm., Brooke Taxakis, Reference Librarian, Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University.
  5. Pine Burr (Yearbook of Campbell College), vol. XXXVI,  1971.  Photograph courtesy of Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University.  [Ms. Eliason in garden with Saint Francis]



NCU would welcome more information about Ms. Eliason.  Please contact Carol Ann McCormick ( with information.

Special thanks to Meredith Tozzer, Alumni Records, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to Brooke Taxakis, Reference Librarian, Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University for information about Ms. Eliason