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Volney Morgan Spalding
The Michigan Alumnus 20-21


Volney Morgan Spalding was born January 29, 1849, in East Bloom
field, New York. In 1864 his family took up residence in Ann Arbor. After
 finishing his preliminary training in the Ann Arbor High School he entered
 the University of Michigan in 1869 and received the degree of A. B. with 
the class of 1873. After three years of experience as principal of the high
 schools of Battle Creek and Flint, he became a member of the faculty of 
the University and remained till 1904, for the last eighteen years of the
 period Professor of Botany. At intervals he had studied in Harvard, Cornell
 and the University of Pennsylvania, and for two years in Germany. He 
received the degree of Ph. D. from the University of Leipzig in 1894. In
1904, his health being seriously impaired, Mr. Spalding resigned to engage in
 research in the Desert Botanical Laboratory at Tucson, Arizona. From this 
work he retired in 1909. The remaining years of his life were spent in a 
sanitarium at Loma Linda, California, where he gradually became physically
 more and more helpless. He died November 12, 1918, a few weeks short 
of seventy years of age. 

He was the author of a textbook, "Guide to the Study of Common 
Plants, and Introduction to Botany;" a Monograph on the White Pine: 
Biological Relations of Desert Shrubs; Distribution and Movements of 
Desert Plants; and various papers in scientific journals.

One of his classmates says of Mr. Spalding: "We had no finer student
 and no man in our class whose level headedness and admirable qualities of
 character and whose wholesome influence over others were more recognized. 
 He was so thoroughly genuine without pretense and so sincere and lovable 
in personality that his worth was recognized with a sort of reverence as
 well as affection."

Of Mr. Spalding as a teacher one of his pupils says: "To the industrious, capable student Spalding was a friend as well as a teacher. His even 
temper, genial disposition, live interest in what the student felt and did and '
said; his unbounded enthusiasm in his chosen science of botany; his full 
appreciation of the vast importance of the science to the well being of all
 mankind, all those were ever apparent and simply compelled the students 
to love him. Small wonder that they worked, not for him, but with him, and small wonder that it was claimed at Washington and elsewhere
 that Spalding had given this country a larger number of good, even eminent
 working botanists than any other teacher of this subject." An eloquent 
testimonial is to be found in the New Science Building in the bronze tablet 
presented by a hundred admiring pupils, many of whom have attained posi
tions of high distinction. 

Mr. Spalding was no recluse, burying himself in the recesses of his 
laboratory. In all the progress of the University he manifested an intelligent 
and abiding interest. With the improvement of physical and moral conditions in the city he was deeply concerned and gave largely of both time
 and money. But probably his outlook was broadest along the lines of coun
try-wide conservation. A pupil says of him: "In his native state he out
lined a rational forest policy and emphasized the best use of the large areas 
of cut over lands as early as 1875, at a time when the northern press decried
 such teaching as a dangerous heresy and menace to development. As an 
advocate of forestry he assisted in the early efforts of the United States 
Forestry Division, helped start the timber investigations, and personally con
ducted experiments and wrote the Monograph on the White Pine, a monument to his industry and thoroughness in science. As soon as conditions
 permitted Spalding inaugurated forestry education at Michigan, foreseeing
 clearly that men trained in the subject were the first requirement for real
 progress in forestry in our country; and it is a satisfaction that he lived to
 see more than two hundred carrying his faith and spreading the good work 
throughout this good country, and even far beyond."