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Blakeslee, Albert Francis

Albert Francis Blakeslee

Albert Francis Blakeslee was born on November 9, 1874, in Geneseo, NY, to Augusta Miranda Hubbard Blakeslee and Francis Durbin Blakeslee, a Methodist minister. Blakeslee attended East Greenwich Academy, and received a BA cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1896. At Wesleyan he received a variety of prizes in academics (mathematics and chemistry), as well as athletics (tennis). He played football, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, he taught for two years at Montpelier Seminary in Vermont, and at East Greenwich Academy. He received an MA and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1900 and 1904, and the Bowdoin Prize for his discovery of sexual fusion in fungi. In 1907 Blakeslee became a professor of botany at Connecticut Agricultural College (now the University of Connecticut) where he began his famous work on Datura (Jimson Weed) and published his book, Trees in Winter in 1913. In 1914-15, he taught the first organized course in genetics in the United States.

In 1915, Blakeslee was appointed to the staff of the Carnegie Station for Experimental Evolution, in Cold Spring Harbor, NY as a resident investigator in genetics. On June 26, 1919 Blakeslee married Margaret Dickson Bridges, Smith College class of 1906. In 1924 the Carnegie Institution sent him as its delegate to the Pan-American Scientific Congress in Peru. In 1929 he became a member of National Academy of Sciences, and from 1931-33 he was member of the Division of Biology and Agriculture of the National Research Council. He served as the director of the Carnegie Station from 1936-41. In 1942 he accepted the position of William Allen Neilson Research Professor of botany at Smith College. The following year he was appointed visiting professor at Smith and became director of the Smith College Genetics Experiment Station, where he conducted his research on Datura, and won prizes from the New York Academy of Sciences, the Palaise de la Decouverte in Paris, and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. In 1948-49 he became a lecturer at Harvard, and a member of the Visiting Committee for Biology and the Bussey Institution in 1952. Blakeslee died in Northampton, MA on November 16, 1954, at the age of 80.

For further information please see: http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/smitharchives/manosca39.html

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