Elizabeth Gregory Boomhour Kerr

(13 July 1912 – 15 December 2005)


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium has found several dozen specimens of Pycnanthemum that were annotated by Elizabeth Boomhour in the 1940’s. As more of the collection is catalogued no doubt more specimens that she examined will be found.

Other herbaria curating specimens collected by Dr Boomhour include Academy of Natural Sciences (PH), Duke University (DUKE), Indiana University (IND), Louisiana State University (LSU), Marshall University (MUHW), New York Botanical Garden (NY), and University of Georgia (GA).

Elizabeth Gregory Boomhour was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on 13 July 1912 to Anna Dennison Boomhour and J. Gregory Boomhour. She graduated with an A. B. from Meredith College (Raleigh, North Carolina) in 1931.

In 1932 she earned an A.M. from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). The title of her thesis was “A Study of plant distribution in eastern North America from the standpoint of limited and general range.”

She returned to Meredith College as an instructor from 1933 to 1937, and again in 1939 to 1941.

She was a graduate assistant in the Botany Department at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) from 1937-1938, then a graduate fellow at the same institution from 1938 – 1939. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1941, and her thesis was entitled “A taxonomic study of the genus Pycnanthemum.” It for this work that she examined the Pycnanthemum specimens at NCU.

Dr. Boomhour married Thomas Kerr in 1942, and continued to be a financial supporter of Meredith College until her death in 2005.