William Codman Sturgis Papers (PP)

Archives, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard
Bronx, New York 10458-5126
Phone: 718-817-8604
URL: http://library.nybg.org/

The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. © 2005

This finding aid was produced in English.

Finding aid produced using NoteTab Pro

Collectors: Sturgis, William Codman, 1862-1942.
Title: William Codman Sturgis Papers (PP)
Dates: 1896-1934
Dates: bulk, 1904-1934
Quantity: 5.5 linear inches; 1 box
Call Phrase: Sturgis (PP)

Biography of William Codman Sturgis

William Codman Sturgis (1862-1942) is best remembered for his collections and studies of the Myxomycetes, especially those of Colorado. He also studied plant pathology, forestry and mycology. Additionally, he had a long career as a lay educator within the Protestant Episcopal Church.

He was born in Boston, Mass. on November 15, 1862. He studied Botany at Harvard College, receiving his A.B. in 1884, A.M. in 1887 and his Ph.D. in 1889. His first position was as assistant in the Cryptogamic Laboratory at Harvard, followed by a position as vegetable pathologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry(1891-1901). It was in Connecticut that he first became interested in the Myxomycetes. This interest was reinforced through a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lister in England. A lifelong correspondence ensued. After Lister’s death, Sturgis continued to correspond with his daughter Gulielma Lister. He received many rare specimens, especially types materials for the many new species proposed by them.

From 1904-1917 he was Dean of the School of Forestry at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO. While in Colorado, Sturgis made extensive collections of Myxomycetes of the area, among which were several forms which he proposed as new species.

He moved to New York City in 1917 to assume the position of Educational Secretary of the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church in New York. He held this position until 1927. From 1929-1931 he was a lecturer at the College of Preachers, Washington D. C. From 1934-1938 he served as warden at St. Martin’s House, Bernardsville, N. J.

Sturgis was married to the former Carolyn Hall. They had four children, Norman, Alanson, Margaret (Mrs. John W. Suter), and Julie. He died at their winter home in New York City on September 29, 1942.

Scope and Content

The collection documents the myomycete collections and professional correspondence of William Codman Sturgis. It contains notebooks, watercolors and correspondence. The collection is arranged into two series.


The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: Notebooks. ca. 1900-1934. Arranged chronologically.
Series 2: Correspondence. 1896-1934. Arranged chronologically.


Access restrictions

This collection is open for research with permission from Mertz Library staff.


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be submitted in writing to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Lister, Arthur, 1830-1908.
Lister, Gulielma, 1860-1949.
New York Botanical Garden Archives.
Sturgis, William Codman, 1862-1942 -- Archives.

Related Material

New York Botanical Garden

RG4--The Robert Hagelstein Collection

Archives of the Episcopal Church, Austin TX

William Codman Sturgis Collection

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Codman Sturgis Papers (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

The William Codman Sturgis Papers was acquired with the purchase of his 3200 myomycete collections by the New York Botanical Garden on April 26, 1938 on the recommendation of Robert Hagelstein, Honorary Curator of Myxomycetes at the New York Botanical Garden. The addition of Sturgis’s 3200 collections, his notes, drawings and correspondence to the Ellis and Hagelstein Myxomycetes established the New York Botanical Garden as the largest such collection in North America and one of the important collections in the world.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Laura Zelasnic, Project Archivist, June 1999, with grant funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities. (NEH-PA 23141-98). Converted to EAD in August 2006 by Kathleene Konkle under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH-PA 50678-04).

Container List


Series 1. Notebooks.

Scope and Content:

Sturgis’s notebooks record his studies of his own collections and those sent to him by others in the field. His notes include research into the literature of the day and detailed watercolor drawings of some specimens.

Folder Title Date
1.1 Notebook 1, Sturgis, Bilgram, Peck ca. 1900
1.2 Notebook 2, Sturgis, Bilgram, Curtis 1904-1915
1.3 Notebook 3, Sturgis, Fullmer, Curtis, Thaxter, Fink, Hagelstein, Stevenson 1915-1926
1.4 Notebook 4, Gilbert, Smith, Sturgis, Hagelstein 1926-1934

Return to the Top of Page

Garden Home   Science Home   Contact Us   Terms of Use 

Series 2. Correspondence.

Scope and Content:

Professional correspondence from Arthur and Gulielma Lister, the foremost myxomycetologists of their era predominate this series. Other correspondents include: Hugo Bilgram, Alleta F. Dean, E. L. Fullmer, Helen M. Gilkey, Robert Hagelstein and Charles Meylan.

Folder Title Date
1.5 Lister, Arthur 1896-1908
1.6 Lister, Guliema 1908-1934
1.7 Correspondence Removed from Notebooks 1914-1934
1.8 Correspondence Removed from Notebooks, Hagelstein 1925-1931

Return to the Top of Page

Garden Home   Science Home   Contact Us   Terms of Use