(b. 2 October 1907 – 18 November 2001)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 20 vascular plant specimens and 11 bryophyte specimens collected by Rebecca Ward Reynolds. Of those found to date, all were collected between 1928 and 1931 and are signed “Rebecca Ward”. It seems likely that she was taking a class on bryophytes during 1929 as her moss collections are limited to that year. All her specimens at NCU were collected within North Carolina, but range from Orange, Pender, Wilkes, Moore, and Yadkin Counties. Co-collectors included Velma Matthews and Andrew Clark Mathews. The University of Kansas Herbarium (KU) and the University of South Carolina Herbarium (USCH) curate vascular plant specimens collected by Ms. Ward, while the Duke University Herbarium (DUKE) curates bryophytes collected by her. It seems that she ceased collecting specimens in the early 1930’s, as a search for specimens collected by “Rebecca Ward” or “Rebecca Reynolds” in both the Atlas of Florida Plants, sernecportal.org, and bryophyteportal.org revealed no matches. 1,2,3
Martha Rebecca Ward, who always went by “Rebecca M. Ward,” was born on 2 October 1907 in Burgaw, the county seat of Pender County, North Carolina. Her father, Algernon Daniel Ward (1871-1942), was a farmer, and her mother, Mary Catherine Ward (1881-1984), was a homemaker. In addition to Rebecca, the family included children Alfred Charles Ward (1910-1935) and Mary Williams Ward (1916-2011).4, 5
Rebecca Ward earned her A.B. from the North Carolina College for Women (which became University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1963) in 1928. According to the 1928 edition of the College yearbook, the Pine Needles, Ms. Ward was a member of the Spanish Club, Botany Club, Chemistry Club, Education Club, Young Voters Club, Hockey Team, Soccer Squad, Track Team, Gymnastics Squad, and served as a Fire Lieutenant.4, 6
Ms. Ward continued her education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Dr. William Chambers Coker. The title of her Masters thesis was “Seed development in Hibiscus esculentus “. 7
On 8 June 1937 Rebecca Ward married Joshua Paul Reynolds (1906-1991) in Ward’s Corner, Columbia Township, Pender County, North Carolina.10 Reynolds graduated from Guilford College in 1928 and earned his Masters degree at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1929 with his thesis, “Origin of the germ cells in some Beaufort sponges”.11, 12 It seems that Rebecca expanded her research interests to include animals, as in 1933 she published “Fusion between lymph balls of a regular sea urchin (Lytechinus) and a Sand Dollar (Mellita)” in the Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. a result of a position at the Biological Laboratory of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries at Beaufort, North Carolina.13
Paul Reynolds completed his doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins in 1934 with his thesis, “Sex determination in a bisexual strain of Sciara coprophila.” In 1940 Rebecca and Paul Reynolds were living in Birmingham, Alabama; Paul was teaching at Birmingham-Southern College but the census does not list a profession for Rebecca.8, 9
In 1949 Paul Reynolds joined the Zoology faculty of Florida State University.14 According to the obituary of her younger sister, Mary W. Ward Shanor, “Mary moved to Tallahassee, Florida, in 1956 and found a house a block from her older sister Rebecca Reynolds, who was raising her family with two sons, Bill and Paul Jr., who were close in age to Charles and Paul.”15 In 1961 the family was still living in Tallahassee, as Paul’s membership in the American Society of Zoologist’s membership roll lists his affiliation as “Florida State University” and his research interest as developmental biology.16 At some point between 1961 and 1964 Paul Reynolds joined the faculty of University of Florida in Gainesville, as in 1964 it is noted that “Professor and Dean of Arts and Sciences Joshua Paul Reynolds [has] accepted the position of Dean of the Faculty at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.”17
In the autumn of 1965 a University of North Carolina at Wilmington publication notes, “Dr. J. Paul Reynolds, dean of the faculty at Wilmington College, traveled to Guilford College, Greensboro, Friday, Oct 22, to give the Founder’s Day Convocation address. A new member of the Guilford College Board of Trustees, Dr. Reynolds spoke on “A Challenge to the Educated.” This is the second time that Dr. Reynolds has been asked to give the Founder’s Day Convocation address at Guilford. He spoke in 1948 on the “Problems in Human Genetics Research.”… Dr. Reynolds graduated from Guilford College in 1928 and taught there until 1931. “Our family as been closely associated with the College since it was founded in 1837,” Dr. Reynolds said. “Guilford is the oldest co-educational institution in the South, and two of the first students to attend were a great aunt and a great uncle of mine.”11
Rebecca Ward Reynolds died on 18 November, 2001, at age 94 in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is buried in Centre Friends Meeting Cemetery, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina along with her parents, brother, and husband.5
Ward, Rebecca (1930) Seed development in Hibiscus esculentus. M. A. Thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Advisor: William Chambers Coker, Ph.D.)
Ward, Rebecca (1933) Fusion between lymph balls of a regular sear urchin (Lytechinus) and a Sand Dollar (Mellita). Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 48(2): 270-272.
- Data Portal. 2021. http//:sernecportal.org/index.php. Accessed on August 28.
- Wunderlin, R. P., B. F. Hansen, A. R. Franck, and F. B. Essig. 2021. Atlas of Florida Plants (http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/). [S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), USF Water Institute.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa.
- CNABH Portal. 2021. http//:bryophyteportal.org/portal/index.php. Accessed on August 28.
- personal communication, email from Nicole Wallace, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Alumni Records to McCormick, 8 October 2020.
- Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/210451095/martha-rebecca-reynolds : accessed 28 August 2021), memorial page for Martha Rebecca Ward Reynolds (2 Oct 1907–18 Nov 2001), Find a Grave Memorial ID 210451095, citing Centre Friends Meeting Cemetery, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Coco15 (contributor 48679220) .
- “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: University of North Carolina; Year: 1928. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
- [Bill Burk list of theses]
- J. Paul Reynolds. 1938. Sex determination in a “bisexual” strain of Sciara coprophila. Genetics 23 (2): 203-220.
- Year: 1940; Census Place: Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama; Roll: m-t0627-00091; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 68-11. 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. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
- 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.
- The Seahawk IX (3): 1. Wilmington College, 5 November 1965. “Dr Reynolds Speaks at Guilford College”.
- J. Paul Reynolds. 1929. Origin of the germ cells in some Beaufort sponges. Thesis (M.S.)–University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Ward, Rebecca. 1933. Fusion between lymph balls of a regular sea urchin (Lytechinus) and a sand dollar (Mellita). Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 48 (2): 270-272. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24332639
- Thistle, Anne B. Before 1950, FSU Biological Science. Departmental History Project, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University. https://www.bio.fsu.edu/history/pre1950.html accessed on 28 August 2021.
- Mary Williams Ward Shanor. Tallahassee Democrat; Tallahassee, Fla. 22 September 2011.
- “American Society of Zoologists Membership Lists.” American Zoologist, vol. 1, no. 4, 1961, pp. 497–539. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3881238. Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.
- Anonymous. 10 July 2009. 1964 in the FSU Biological Science History project. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University. https://www.bio.fsu.edu/history/1964.html accessed on 28 August 2021.