(30 September 1927 – 8 April 2008)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged approximately 40 specimens of Eriogonum that Sister Bellmer annotated in the mid-1960’s. In 1969 she published “Distribution, variation and chromosome number in the Appalachian shale barren endemic Eriogonum allenii Watson” in Biological Studies #132. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. This was also the title of her Ph.D. thesis completed in 1968.1
I have yet to find any specimens collected by Dr. Bellmer. Trinity College in Washington, D. C., where she spent most of her professional career, did not have an herbarium.
Dr. Bellmer died on 8 April 2008 in Emmitsburg, Maryland at the age of 80. She is buried in the Sisters of Notre Dame Cemetery, Ellicott City, Maryland. Memorial contributions can be made to the Notre Dame Development Program, P.O. Box 157, Stevenson MD 21153.2
ELIZABETH H. BELLMER
(Sister Elizabeth Henry Bellmer, Sister of Notre Dame)
Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A
1959 B.A. Trinity College, Washington, D. C. (Biology major, Chemistry minor)
1962 M.S. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (Zoology major; Botany minor) Thesis: “The time of embryonic fusion of the malleus and incus of the guinea pig”
1968 Ph.D. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (Botany major; Ecology & Zoology minors) Thesis: “Distribution, variation, and chromosome number in the Appalachian shale barren endemic Eriogonum allenii Watson”
1948-1952, 1953-1955: grade school teacher at SS. Joachim and Anne Parish School, Queens Village, New York
1952-1953: grade school teacher at Our Lady of Victory Parish School, Southern Pines, North Carolina
1955-1957: high school biology teacher at St. Maria Goretti High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1959-1961: Laboratory instructor, Biology Dept., Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
1963-1965: Lecturer, Biology Dept., Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
1970-1984: Assistant Professor, Biology Dept., Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
1984-1994: Professor, Biology Dept., Trinity College, Washington, D.C. (Chair 1971-72; 1978-80;1982-90)
1995 – present: Professor Emerita, Trinity University, Washington, D.C.
1962-1963; 1963-1964: National Science Foundation Cooperative Graduate Fellowship, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
1982: American Philosophical Society, Penrose Fund, #9293, research in England on f19th centure Catholic attitudes towards Darwinism, notabley on the papers of John Henry Cardinal Newman in Birmingham.
Professional Training Grants:
1960: NSF Summer Institute in radiation biology for high school & college teachers, Florida State University, Tallahassee
1968: NSF History of biology summer institute for college teachers, Ohio State University, Columbus
1972: NSF Summer institute in field biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins (Pingree Park Campus)
1991, 1993, 1995: National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for School Teachers ” The Origin of Species: The Victorian Milieu of Science and Religion” co-director with Dr. Susan H. Farnsworth, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa
July 1974 – June 1975: Sabbatical Leave. Visiting Associate Professor of Botany, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. “Reaction of various Christian denominations, and of leading Roman Catholics, in 19th century England to Darwinism”
Summer 1982: American Philosophical Society Research Grant, England. “19th century Roman Catholic attitudes toward Darwinism: papers of John Henry Newman at the Oratory, Birmingham”
June – December, 1988: Sabbatical leave, England. “19th century attituted towards Darwinism, principally those of Gladstone” (research conducted in St. Deiniol’s Library, Hawarden, Wales; Bodleian Library, Oxford; British Museum, London; Colindale Newspaper Library, London)
January 1994-January 1995. Terminal sabbatical, Wales & England. “Gladstone’s ‘colour-sense’ and Mivart’s life”
1975. “The reaction of the Catholic Church to Darwinism in 19th century England” Tenth Annual History of Science Meeting of the Ohio Academy of Science, Columbus, Ohio (March 8, 1975).
1975. “Mivart’s Genesis of Species and Darwinism” Midwest Junto of the History of Science Society, 18th Annual Meeting, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (April 10-12, 1975).
1975. “… And That’s the Way It Was: A Glimpse into the History of Science” Trinity College Sigma Xi Bicentennial Program on SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, Part I — The History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science, Trinity College, Washington, D.C. (October 8, 1975).
1975. “Agassiz, Gray, and Huxley: Reaction to Darwinism” Trinity Scholar Lecture, Trinity College, Washington, D.C. (December 2, 1975).
1982. “St. George Jackson Mivart, Darwin’s Supporter/Opponent” Catholic Universty of America Graduate Seminar, (Spring, 1982).
1984. “John Henry Newman and Darwinism” Seventh Annual Mini-Symposium of the Washington Area Consortium of Universities. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (Spring 1984).
1985. “Mivart and Natural Selection” Eigth Annual Mini-Symposium of the Washington Area Consortium of Universities. University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (Spring 1985).
1986. “Mivart and Darwinism” Faculty Colloquium, Trinity College, Washington, D. C. (Spring 1986).
1987. “Comments on Darwinism in the Letters of John Henry Newman” Faculty Colloquium, Trinity College, Washington, D. C. (Spring 1987).
1989. “Gladstone, Homer, and Darwin: the Colour-Sense” Biology Seminar, Trinity College, Washington, D.C. (February 1989).
1992. “The Darwinian Debate in Victorian England” Guest lecturer in Interdepartmental 381, Victorian Studies, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
1993. “Gladstone, Homer, and Evolution: Gladstone’s Colour Sense ” Annual Meeting, Southern Conference on British Studies, Orlando, Florida (November 1993).
1995. “The Historical Context of Darwin’s Ideas” with Dr. Susan H. Farnsworth. One-day Symposium at Trinity College for area school teachers, sponsored by the Washington, D.C. Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (June 1995).
Bellmer, Elizabeth Henry (1963) The time of embryonic fusion of the malleus and incus of the guinea pig. American Midland Naturalist 69: 426-434.
Bellmer, Elizabeth Henry (1969). Distribution, variation and chromosome number in the Appalachian shale barren endemic Eriogonum allenii Watson. Biological Studies #132. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
1999. The statesman and the opthalmologist: Gladstone and Magnus on the evolution of human colour vision, one small episode of the 19th century Darwinian debate. Annals of Science 56: 25-45.
- Resume, Elizabeth H. Bellmer. Archives, Trinity University, Washington, D. C.
- Obituary “Elizabeth Bellmer” The Washington Post. https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/washingtonpost/name/elizabeth-bellmer-obituary?id=5613615 accessed on 11 May 2022.
Special thanks to Mary Hayes, S.N.D., Archivist and Professor of History, Trinity University, Washington, D.C. for providing the photograph and the resume of Dr. Bellmer.