Dr. William Carruthers, F.R.S


DR. WILLIAM CARRUTHERS, who died on June 2 at the age of ninety-two years, was a familiar figure in the botanical world in the latter half of the last century. He was born at Moffat, Dumfries, in 1830, and educated at Edinburgh with the view of entering the Presbyterian ministry, but decided in favour of a scientific career. In 1859 he was appointed assistant in the Department of Botany of the British Museum to J. J. Bennett, who had recently succeeded Robert Brown as Keeper of the department. In 1871 Dr. Carruthers followed Bennett in the Keepership, which he held until his retirement in 1895. His tenure of office was marked by a great development of the department. The removal of the natural history collections to the new museum in the Cromwell Road in 1881 afforded a unique opportunity for improvement and expansion; and the arrangement and equipment of the suite of galleries assigned to botany, including the great herbarium and the excellent botanical library, approached through a fine exhibition gallery, are a lasting memorial of Dr. Carruthers's knowledge and skill. The development of the Cryptogamic Herbarium, with the help of Mr. George Murray, and of the special British Herbarium, based on the collection of his chief assistant, Dr. Henry Trimen, the arrangement of the valuable collection of original botanical drawings and manuscripts, the planning of the exhibition galleries, and the initiation of a series of botanical monographs, such as Crombie's Enumeration of the British Lichens and Lister's Monograph of the Mycelozoa, may be recalled as incidents of his tenure. A fuller appreciation of these activities by another colleague, Mr. James Britten, will be found in the Journal of Botany, 1895.


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R., A. Dr. William Carruthers, F.R.S. Nature 109, 787–788 (1922). https://doi.org/10.1038/109787a0

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