15 September 1889 — 2 July 1987
The University of North Carolina Herbarium at Chapel Hill has cataloged nearly 1700 vascular plant specimens collected by Delzie Demaree. Without doubt many more specimens collected by Demaree will be found as we continue to catalog our collections.
Delzie Demaree was a prolific collector, particularly of plants of the southeastern United States. NCU has many specimens that he collected in Mississippi and Arkansas. In addition to depositing specimens at NCU, he sent specimens to BH, BUT, DS, F , HH, ILL, ISL, KY, L, LA, LAM, LCU, LIL, MIN, MO, NO, NY, OKLA, PH (nearly 7000 specimens), POM SD, STAR, TENN, TEX, TTC, UARK, US, USFS, UVST, VBB, W WS, and WTU.1His personal herbarium of over 50,000 specimens was donated to SMU.2 In 1987 SMU was transferred on permanent loan to BRIT.3 His field notebooks are at MO.4
Delzie Demaree was born to Dora Francis Myers and Jospeh Demaree in Benham, Ripley County, Indiana on 15 September, 1889.6 He attended Danville High School, then served in the U.S. Marine Corps from April 1917 until May 1919.2 According to Ira Wiggins, “His long hikes free of complaints were remarkable, for he had suffered a serious wound to a foot during action in France during World War I, and had been gassed during the same period of military service.2 He earned a B.S. in Botany from Indiana University in 1920, then M.S. in botany from Chicago University in 1921. He completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1932, and the title of his doctoral thesis was “The water relations of Aesculus californica (Spach) Nuttall.
Demaree married Catherine Finch Lane (1896-1961) on 2 October 1920 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana.6 They had three children.2
Demaree held numerous teaching positions 2:
1914 -1915 Common Schools, Benham Indiana
1916 – 1917 High School, Westpoint, Indiana
1922 – 1926 Hendricks College
1924 – 1925 Yale Forestry School (two summers of Dendrology)
1926 – 1930 University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
1934 (one quarter) Texas Tech, Lubbock Texas
1936 – 1946 Monticello Agricultural & Mechanical
1946 – 1953 Arkansas State University at Jonesboro
1953 – 1956 Navajo Nation & Hopi Reservation
1956 – 1958 (three summers) Gulf Coast Research Lab, Ocean Springs, Mississippi and Tulane University
Sida 9(7) published in December 1982 was dedicated Delzie Demaree, and includes remembrances by Ira L. Wiggins (Professor Emeritus, Stanford University), Bob Kral (Vanderbilt University), Mary H. Wathern (Science/Engineering Library, Southern Methodist University), R. B. Channel (Vanderbilt University), Peter Raven (Missouri Botanical Garden), Donna M. E. Ware (College of William & Mary), Barney Lipscomb (Southern Methodist University Herbarium), Donald Stone (Duke University), and Harry J. Lesko (President, Trailways, Inc.). The remembrances include many photographs of Demaree from age 20 to age 84.2
R. B. Channell’s remembrance relates 2:
Dr. Demaree is notorious. He led classes fearlessly through forest, field, marsh, and stream. He was known to stomp a rattlesnake or moccasin in the safety of his laced up, knee high leather boots. He was even known to catch poisonous snakes occasionally with his bare hands while holding them underfoot. He enjoyed an old fashioned coon hunt and could stay out all night, after a hard day of collecting plants, listening to the bark of the hounds in pursuit, their howl when the fleeing animal was treed. On field trips he collected plants by the scores, duplicates of some up to twenty — any kind of plant: big, medium or small; tree, wildflower or weed. He had no use for a vasculum, often ridiculing another’s use of that ungainly contrivance. He collected plants in a cardboard box, held by a belt-like strap, if he did not press the plants on the spot in his rugged, beat-up field press…He discarded newspapers printed with comic strips. He reasoned that to use comics for pressing plants was to tempt an hourly wage earner, the mounter, to stop work and read, or better re-read the comics. Surely Dr. Demaree deserves a share in Trailways and Greyhound by now, for these represent the principal means by which he travelled over the country, often pulling the cord to signal the driver he wanted to get off in the middle of nowhere, wherever he happened to see plants he wanted to collect. After collecting them, he’d simply wait for the next bus.
In fact, Harry, J. Lesko, the President of Trailways, wrote a tribute to Demaree: 2
It is with great pleasure that we at Trailways join with you in extending Dr. Delzie Demaree our very best wishes. During Dr. Demaree’s long and illustrious career he has traveled extensively throughout the United States. We at Trailways feel fortunate to have carried Dr. Demaree more than 200,000 miles on a number of his fact and specimen finding excursions. We trust that Dr. Demaree will continue traveling and enjoying the natural beauty of this country for many years to come. And we hope that when Dr. Demaree plans a trip we can continue to be of service to such a valued and respected individual.
According to William Mahler, Demaree once owned a 1917 Ford which he gave to his sister three weeks later.2 Probably as a result of not having a car, he did not use the mileage from a certain intersection when noting plant locations, but instead gave the name of the nearest U.S. Post Office.
Delzie Demaree died of pneumonia following surgery on a broken hip in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas on 2 July 1987. (Reference 5 lists death place as Bonham, Arkansas; Reference 6 lists it as Bonham, Fannin County, Texas).
An obituary appears on page 6 of the 18 July 1987 issue of the daily newspaper the Jonesboro Sun (printed in Jonesboro, Craighead Arkansas). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium would appreciate receiving a copy of this obituary.
Partial List of Publications
Demaree, Delzie (1931) The water relations of Aesculus californica (Spach) Nuttall. Thesis (Ph.D.), Dept. of Botany, Stanford University, California.
—- (1932) Plant responses to sawdust. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. 51: 125-126.
—- (1932) Submerging experiments with Taxodium. Ecology 13 (3): 258-262.
Cannon, W. A., Delzie Demaree, and Edith A. Purer (1933) Evaporation, transpiration and oxygen consumption by roots. Science 78(2026): 388-389.
Demaree, Delzie (1933) A catalogue of the ligneous flora of Arkansas. INCOMPLETE CITATION.
Kurz, Herman and Delzie Demaree (1934) Cypress buttresses and knees in relation to water and air. Ecology 15(1): 36-41.
Demaree, Delzie (1941) Noteworthy Arkansas plants. I. Proc. Ark. Acad. 1: 17-19.
—- (1943) Arkansas Fern Notes. American Fern Journal 33 (2): 75.
—- (1943) A catalogue of the vascular plants of Arkansas. Taxodium 1(1): 1-88. Monticello, Ark.: Botany Dept., Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College.
Taylor, W. Carl and D. Demaree (1979) Annotated list of the ferns and fern allies of Arkansas. Rhodora 81 (828): 503-548.
Sources used for this web page:
1. Stafleu, Franz A. and Eric A. Mennega (1998) Guide to Taxonomic Literature Supplement v: Da-Di. Konigstein, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books.
2. Mahler, Wm. F. and B. L. Lipscomb (1982) Sida, contributions of botany Volume 9 Number 4 Dedicated to Delzie Demaree 1889 –. Sida 9(4): 269-286.
3. Index Herbariorum, SMU entry. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/ih/herbarium.php?irn=126015 accessed on 20 August 2007.
4. http://www.mobot.org/mobot/molib/part2.pdf accessed on 19 August 2007.
5. Anonymous (1987) Deaths: Delzie Demaree. Taxon 36(4): 802.
6. Family Data Collection, individual records about Delzie Demaree, Ancestry.com accessed on 20 August 2007.