Philip Jerome Crutchfield

22 November 1928 – 28 July 2009

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 550 vascular plant specimens collected by Philip J. Crutchfield, who typically signed his labels “P. J. Crutchfield”.  The University of Arizona Herbarium (ARIZ) curates a single fungus collected by Crutchfield.  The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences curates approximately 65 ornithological specimens collected by Crutchfield. 

NCU has thus far cataloged about 240 vascular plant specimens for which P. J. Crutchfield was the primary collector.  These were collected between 1957 and 1968.  He occasionally collected with his brother, Douglas M. Crutchfield, and with students at Methodist College.  NCU has cataloged about 300 vascular plant specimens for which P. J. Crutchfield was a secondary collector.  He assisted Carl John Burk with his doctoral work, A floristic study of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in 1959 and 1960.  Crutchfield assisted Harry E. Ahles with collecting throughout South Carolina in 1961 and 1962 for the Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas.  More specimens collected by Crutchfield will without doubt be found as we continue to catalog our collections. 

Philip Jerome Crutchfield was born in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York on 22 November 1928, the son of Frank Lindley Crutchfield (1903-1987) and Ethel Watkins Crutchfield (1901-1994).1,2  After serving in the United States Army from 1948-1950, Crutchfield attended Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.Crutchfield graduated with a B.S. from Guilford College in 1956, and the title of his senior thesis was Species of littoral pelecypods from Sagami, Negishi, and Tokyo Bays, Japan.  “An October 1956 [Guilford College]alumni bulletin announces the birth of his second child and that the family is living in Chapel Hill ‘where Philip is taking graduate work in zoology'”, writes Gwen Gosney Erickson, Librarian & Archivist with the Quaker Archives at Guilford College.  She continues, “April 1963 update notes the birth of their 5th and 6th children (twins!) and that ‘Phil continues work toward his doctorate in the Botany Department, University of North Carolina’ .”8  The Alumni Records at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill do not list Crutchfield as completing any graduate degrees, nor is he listed in a compilation of graduate theses completed in the Botany Department of that institution.5,9

Philip J. Crutchfield married Dorothy Mae Kiser in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1954, and together they had six children.2,4

Crutchfield taught at Methodist College from 1964 to 1974 and at Fayetteville State University.   In 1965 Crutchfield, then an Assistant Professor of Biology at Methodist College, “[served] as advisor for the establishment of a botanical garden at Fort Bragg.  The garden is to be established as a laboratory for survival training in connection with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Training Center.  Mr. Crutchfield will assist with the collection and preservation of plants from all over the world.  These plants are those which will provide food, shelter, medicine, and other needs for human survival under adverse conditions.”According to his obituary, “He was especially interested in plant taxonomy and ecology and conducted environmental impact studies and other projects as an independent biologist, and at Fort Bragg for the University of Colorado and N.C. State University. He was an enthusiastic birder and a member of the Carolina Bird Club.”2

Hal Broadfoot, a member of the Carolina Bird Club wrote of his friend:  “Every issue [of North American Birds] had at least one report of an incredible find in or near Fayetteville, and always by PJC.  Philip J. Crutchfield… Later, I subscribed to the magazine and discovered that PJC was not just a name from the past.  Each quarterly issue had his reports.  He saw birds that I had hardly heard of at the time, and he was seeing them in Cumberland County… One late fall afternoon, I was standing beside Forest Lake (Clark’s Pond, really) trying to identify some distant ducks.  A man walked up, binoculars in hand, and started to do the same.  We talked a little, but all the while he looked for birds… I do not recall if it was a monogrammed shirt or eyeglass case or whether he had just painted the initials on his binoculars, but there it was, “PJC.”  It was a Livingstone/Stanley moment for me, and I said something ineloquent, like, “You’re Philip J. Crutchfield.”  He agreed that he was, and our friendship began… Phil introduced me to places in Cumberland County that I had never known… I treasure my memories of my friend and teacher.”6

Crutchfield died at age 80 and is buried in New Garden Friends Cemetery in Greensboro, North Carolina.1

PUBLICATIONS: (likely an incomplete list)
Sorrie, Bruce A., Janet Bracey Gray, and Philip J. Crutchfield.  2006.  The vascular flora of the longleaf pine ecosystem of Fort Bragg and Weymouth Woods, North Carolina.  Castanea 71(2):  129-161. 
Leblond, Richard J. and Bruce A. Sorrie.  2002.  Natural area inventory of Cumberland County, NC with animal data provided by Gilbert S. Grant, Jarvis E. Hudson, and Philip J. Crutchfield. Raleigh: Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, N.C. Natural Heritage Program.
Crutchfield, P. J. and M. E. Whitfield.  1987.  General Field Notes:  Anhinga, a breeding confirmation from Cumberland County, NC.  The Chat, Summer 1987:  65-68.
Crutchfield, Philip J.  1978.  On a house sparrow mutant from Fayetteville, N.C.  The Chat, Spring 1978:  35. 

Crutchfield, P. J. 1964.  Taxa collected from Roanoke Island new to the flora of North Carolina.  Castanea 29(3):  129-137. 

Crutchfield, P. 1966. Positive rheotaxis in Goniobasis proxima. Nautilus, 79: 80-86.
1.  Find A Grave memorial # 40238541.  accessed on 29 April 2021.  
2.  Obituary, Philip Jerome Crutchfield.  Fayetteville Observer, 30 July 2009.  accessed on 29 April 2021.
3. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data: Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  accessed on 29 April 2021
4. North Carolina, U.S., Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.  accessedon 29 April 2021.  
5.  Personal communication, Niki Wallace, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Alumni Records to McCormick via email 28 April 2021.
6.  Broadfoot, Hal.  2009.  In Memoriam:  Philip Crutchfield.  The Chat 73(4):  166-167.  accessed on 29 April 2021. 
7.   Anonymous. 1965. Crutchfield to serve as advisor for unique botanical project.  Bulletin of Methodist College Newsletter 6(2):  4.
8.  Personal communication, Gwen Gosney Erickson, Librarian & Archivist, Quaker Archives, Guilford College email to McCormick 2021-04-30.
9.  Kilfoil, Jessica, William R. Burk, and Elizabeth A. Appleton.  2005.  A List of Dissertations and Graduate Theses in Botany
Completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1912–2005.  John N. Couch Biology Library—Botany Section, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.