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Albert Francis Blakeslee Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00039

Scope and Contents

The Albert Francis Blakeslee Papers contain biographical material on Blakeslee and his career both before and at Smith College; correspondence with fellow botanists; manuscripts notes of various publications; and family photographs, professional photographs, and conference participant photographs. The publications span his career and consist of numerous articles and short publications written by Blakeslee from 1913 through 1953 on an assortment of scientific topics with a focus on botany, as well as manuscripts of seminars and talks given by him. His talks include information and manuscripts from talks given by Blakeslee at the Botanical Society of America and a talk given to Smith College faculty on his trip to India. There is also information on his presidency with the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and his presidency of the Smith College Board of Trustees of Biological Abstracts.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1904 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Albert Francis Blakeslee was born on November 9, 1874, in Geneseo, New York, 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 there 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.


1.313 linear feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



Professor of Botany and Director of the Smith College Genetics Experiment Station. Contains publications and manuscripts of seminars and talks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Albert Francis Blakeslee Papers were donated over a period of time to the Smith College Archives from a variety of sources.

Related Materials

Materials relating to the operation of the Smith College Genetics Experiment Station are found in the records of the Office of the President.

Processing Information

Processed by Gayla B. Spaulding.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.

Finding aid to Albert Francis Blakeslee Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Gayla B. Spaulding and Daniel Michelson.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca39 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-10-31: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063