Charles E. Bessey papers
Scope and Contents
The papers of Charles E. Bessey are comprised of correspondence, publications and articles, and a workbook. The correspondence consists of letters written to Bessey, and letterpress books of letters Bessey wrote. The correspondence is largely professional in nature. The workbook contains notes and observations of experiments, inventory of a museum and herbarium, inventory of equipment in the botanical department, an outline, and a letter. In addition, there is a Systemic Botany notebook. The publications consist of an article about Bessey, a scientific article about germ plasm, and an 1885 realtors brief. The collection also contains articles written by Bessey on botany topics, other topics of interest to him, and reviews of books and articles.
- 1869 - 1932
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Charles E. Bessey was born May 21, 1845 in Milton, Ohio. He grew up on the family farm until his father’s death in 1863. He then taught carpentry and surveying. In 1869, he received a B.S. from Michigan Agricultural College and an honorary M.S. in 1872. In 1879 he received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and in 1898 a LLD from Grinnell College.
Bessey was an instructor of botany at the Iowa Agricultural College (now called Iowa State University) from 1870-1873. From 1874 to 1877 he was a professor of botany, zoology, and entomology. He became professor of botany in 1878 and held that position until 1884. While at ISU he established the first botanical laboratory for undergraduate study in the United States. In addition, he began an herbarium. In 1882, he became the Vice President of the College and that same year became acting President. In 1884, Bessey left ISU to become the first Dean of Agriculture at the University of Nebraska. He held that position until 1915. In addition he served as acting President from 1888 to 191 and 1909. From 1909 to 1915 he was the Dean of Deans. Bessey also became Scientist of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture.
He was married to Lucy Athearn on December 25, 1873 and they had three children. Edward and Carl Bessey became electricians. Ernst Bessey became a botanist and worked for the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C.
Bessey died on February 25, 1915 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
0.8 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
Copyright: Michigan State University.
Property Rights: Michigan State University.
- Charles E. Bessey Papers
- 4 Published And Cataloged
- S. Roberts
- July 2003
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.