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P. D. Strausbaugh


Botanist Perry Daniel Strausbaugh (March 21, 1886-May 3, 1965) graduated with honors from Wooster (Ohio) College in 1913. In 1920, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. While a student, he supported himself by teaching at primary and secondary schools. He taught at Wooster College from 1913 to 1923. In 1923, Strausbaugh became head of the department of botany at West Virginia University. He retired in 1948.

Strausbaugh’s first challenge at WVU was to reestablish the university herbarium, which he considered essential to the study of botany. WVU’s plant collection had been put into storage in 1892. Strausbaugh and his colleagues spent the summer of 1924 collecting, mounting, and filing the nucleus of a new collection.

In 1926, Strausbaugh initiated a summer field course (perhaps the first of its kind) called the botanical expedition. These summer-long excursions, renamed biological expeditions two years later when zoological studies were added, took students all around the state on an extended camping and collecting trip. Students studied plant and animal life and collected specimens for the university’s herbarium and zoological collections. The expeditions continued until 1952.

Strausbaugh’s most lasting legacy is the book, Flora of West Virginia, co-authored with his former student, Earl Core, and published in four parts from 1952 to 1964.


  1. Strausbaugh, P. D. & Earl L. Core. Flora of West Virginia. Morgantown: 1964, Second edition, 4 vols. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1970-77.