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Abstract Detail

100 years of Baileyan Trends – Wood Evolution, Function and Future

Friedman, William E [1].

Who was Irving Widmer Bailey?

While the symposium "100 years of Baileyan trends - wood evolution, function and future" will focus on Bailey's contributions to the study of wood anatomy, there is much more to his life and scholarly career than secondary xylem. Born in New Hampshire, much of Bailey's childhood was lived in Peru, where his father oversaw the construction of the Harvard Astronomical Observatory outside of Arequipa. This experience led to life-long passions for archeology and natural history, as well as a love of the outdoors. Harvard educated, Bailey was inspired by Gifford Pinchot to pursue a career in forestry, and subsequently earned a Master's degree from Harvard in 1909. Bailey would spend the rest of his career as a member of the faculty at Harvard, first in the Bussey Institution (adjacent to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston) and later in Cambridge. During the First World War, Bailey's knowledge of wood structural properties was put to use at the Bureau of Aircraft Production at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Bailey's early association with Edmund Sinnott led to important highly creative scholarship on paleoclimatological history (based on analyses of the environmental correlates of leaf margin morphology), as well as ground-breaking insights into the origins of herbaceousness among angiosperms. Bailey also published a number of papers on myrmecophytes, studied the pollination biology of Marcgravia, tackled the question of the "primitive" morphology of the angiosperm flower, and in the last phase of his career, examined anatomical and evolutionary patterns in the Cactaceae through a series of studies of the "leaf-bearing" members (Pereskia et al.). Administratively, Bailey authored a 1945 report to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard which recommended the consolidation of the botanical sciences to Cambridge - thus paving the way for the transfer of the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium and much of its renowned library from the grounds of the Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. This report, now referred to as the "Bailey Plan," led to more than 20 years of extreme controversy and litigation that ended officially with a split vote (3-2) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1966 that allowed the consolidation plan to stand. Throughout this period, Bailey felt the sting of the controversy. Beyond his significant scholarly achievements and influence on the course of the plant sciences at Harvard, Bailey was known for homemade beach plum jelly that he gave away to friends on special occasions.

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1 - Harvard University, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 1300 Centre Street, Boston, MA, 02131, USA

Irwin Widmer Bailey
Wood anatomy
Harvard University botany
Arnold Arboretum
beach plum jelly.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C06, 100 years of Baileyan Trends - Wood Evolution, Function and Future
Location: 106/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: C06001
Abstract ID:818
Candidate for Awards:None

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