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Botanist Follows Hobbies, Even When After Specimens

Harley Harris Bartlett
The Michigan Alumnus 370

Botanist Follows Hobbies, Even When After Specimens

RIS BARTLETT is Professor 
of Botany and Chairman of the De
partment of Botany, he can't seem 
to resist dabbling in ethnology and 
linguistics as well, with the result 
that he has become an authority in 
three fields instead of one.

His many 
expeditions to tropical lands in
 search of botanical specimens have 
usually resulted in a sideline of val
uable pieces in these allied interests, 
and on one occasion he wrote a book 
on his findings while in the Philip
pines on another mission.

 Bartlett was born at Anaconda, Montana, March 9, 1904, and took 
his college work at Harvard, 1904-
1908, and at the Harvard Graduate
 School of Applied Science, 1908-
1909, receiving an A.B. cum laude 
in chemistry in 1908. He was As
sistant at Gray Herbarium, Harvard, 1905-1907, and Assistant in
 Botany, 1908-1909. The next six
 years he spent as Chemical Biologist 
of the Bureau of Plant Industry in 
the U. S. Department of Agricul

He came to the University as
 acting Assistant Professor of Botany 
in 1915, became Assistant Professor 
in 1917, Associate Professor and Di
rector of the Botanical Gardens in
1919, and Professor in 1921.

It was
 while serving as Botanist of the 
Hollandsche-Amerikaasche Plantage 
Maatschappij at Asaban, Sumatra, 
 in 1918 that he made one of the 
largest collections in the world of
 Batak manuscripts—curious docu
ments on bamboo, bone, and bark. 

In 1926-1927, Professor Bartlett led
 expeditions to Formosa and Suma
tra, and in 1930 into Mexico. The 
following year he went to Guate
mala and Honduras. He has served
 also as Exchange Professor at the 
University of the Philippines, later 
writing Vernacular Literature in the 
Philippines on his findings while 

In 1934, he was appointed
 Chairman of the subcommittee on 
administration and relations with
 other Federal establishments under 
a general Congressional committee
 on reorganization of United States
 Botanic Gardens in Washington. 
 The Michigan Faculty man also is 
a member of the Botanical Society
 of America, having served as Presi
dent in 1927, and has written nu
merous articles for scientific publications, as well as a number of 
books, including The. Michigan Bo
tanical Expedition of 1934. He be
came Chairman of the Department 
of Botany in 1933.