William Henry Harvey

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Harvey, William Henry, M.D., a distinguished botanist, was born at Limerick, 5th February 1811. His attention was turned to flowers by his nurse when quite a child, and he early developed a passionate love for the study of nature. He was educated at Ballitore school, and his youth was passed in business pursuits in Limerick. From 1835 to 1841 he held the position of Colonial Treasurer at the Cape, where he had ample opportunities of studying the flora of South Africa, and he soon acquired a European reputation as a careful and laborious student. Shortly after his return he was appointed Professor of Botany in the University of Dublin. He devoted himself specially to algae, and in pursuit of this department of botany visited the United States, and in 1853 undertook a voyage round the world for the purpose of collecting specimens.

His Seaside Book, his Thesaurus Capensis, Mora Capensis, and Phycologia Britannica, embellished with illustrations from his pencil, are amongst the best known of his numerous works. The Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge contain some elaborate treatises by him on American algae. He belonged to many of the learned societies of Europe. Originally a member of the Society of Friends, he joined the Established Church. He was the intimate friend of Dr. Hooker. Dr. Harvey died of consumption, 15th May 1866, aged 55, at Torquay, where he was buried by his special desire. He was eminently remarkable for the spirituality, playful sweetness, and amiability of his disposition. Besides his botanical works he was the author of some poems published in his youth, and of Charles and Josiah, or Friendly Conversations between a Churchman and a Quaker, published in Dublin in 1862.

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

159. Harvey, William Henry, M.D., Memoirs. London, 1869.

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