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Betty Bartholomew


Botanist Elizabeth Ann ‘‘Betty’’ Bartholomew (June 14, 1912-March 14, 1985) was born in Wheeling. Much of her formal training was under naturalists P. D. Strausbaugh and Earl Core while she completed a study on the flora of Wirt County. In 1936, she earned a teacher’s certificate and an A.B. in botany from West Virginia University, followed by a master’s degree in 1947. Bartholomew began working for the university’s botany department in 1938 and spent nearly 40 years there, retiring as WVU herbarium curator in 1977. She was instrumental in building the dried plant collection at WVU from 30,000 to 140,000 specimens, and she initiated a 2,000-plant seed collection.

Bartholomew led a simple life devoted to botanical studies, spending long hours on Flora of West Virginia, the monumental book by Strausbaugh, Core, and their associates. She died in Morgantown. The Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society is named in her honor.

Written by William N. Grafton