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2 February 2024 In Memoriam: Lena Artz (1891–1976), a Hidden Figure of 20th-century Southeastern U.S. Botany
Andrea Weeks
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The contributions of Lena Clemmons Artz (1891–1976) to southeastern U.S. botany remain poorly known today. Recently, an archive of her professional papers was discovered in the Lord Fairfax Community College herbarium in Virginia. This publication provides an overview of her biography, botanical education, and scientific research with reference to this archive and other historical documents and serves as a memorial of her professional accomplishments. The majority of her numbered exsiccatae were located, digitized and publicly disseminated via Bionomia to aid biographical research. Artz trained as a botanist in mid-life at the College of William & Mary and the George Washington University, yet her later work occurred without the direct support of a research institution. In total, she wrote 42 publications about the natural history of Virginia, over half of which were produced while she was employed as a high school biology teacher. Ninety percent of her exsiccatae (n=2,245), which were collected between 1922–1971, document the vascular plants of the Massanutten Mountains in the Ridge & Valley physiographic province of northwestern Virginia, where she was raised and to which she retired after her teaching career. Her contributions to southeastern U.S. botany include her detailed documentation of the Virginia flora prior to anthropogenic changes of the 20th and 21st centuries, her foundational papers about the floristics of Central Appalachian shale barrens, and her discovery of the Smokehole Bergamot, Monarda brevis. Curatorial improvements and botanical discoveries made during this investigation highlight the importance of biographical data for advancing collections-based research.

Andrea Weeks "In Memoriam: Lena Artz (1891–1976), a Hidden Figure of 20th-century Southeastern U.S. Botany," Castanea 88(2), 297-311, (2 February 2024).
Received: 4 September 2023; Accepted: 8 January 2024; Published: 2 February 2024
Botanical history
herbarium specimens
hidden figures
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