|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 330 May 25, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Editor's Note: The following obituary is a slightly edited version of a letter to the editor of the quarterly journal Biodiversity 5(2), April-June 2004, published by the Tropical Conservancy, and currently in press. Information about the journal can be found at http://www.tc-biodiversity.org/
It is with great sadness to have to report that in March, ecologist, environmental ethicist and writer, Stan Rowe, 85, suffered a major stroke. He died peacefully on April 6th, 2004. His passing is an indescribable loss to his family and many friends across Canada and around the Earth. Stan was born on June 11, 1918 in the rural hamlet of Hardisty in southern Alberta. He had a happy childhood in a prairie landscape later described in one of his many writings (Growing up in Granum). He was educated at the Universities of Manitoba and Nebraska, and worked as a research forester with Forestry Canada for nineteen years, specializing in silviculture and ecological site classification. In 1967 he took up the post of Professor of Plant Ecology at the University of Saskatchewan where he is fondly remembered. Upon Stan's death, the University flew its flags at half mast for a week.
Following retirement from academic work, Stan moved to New Denver, British Columbia. He had lived there in the 1940s when, as a conscientious objector, he was assigned the task of teaching the children of the interned Japanese. After retirement he devoted himself to writing in the emerging field of environmental ethics. He used his superb literary skills and extensive ecological and philosophical knowledge to create a unique body of literature about the deeper values of the living Earth, its ecosystems and organisms.
Stan authored the widely used book Forest Regions of Canada (1959, Queen's Printer, Ottawa). His collection of articles from the 1980s were published in Home Place: Essays in Ecology (NeWest Books, Edmonton, 1990; reissued 2002). At the time of his death, a second book (to be titled Earth Alive!) was nearing completion. As well, he authored numerous articles, reviews, book chapters and was a celebrated public speaker on ecosystems and human ecology. Many of his inspirational ecological and philosophical essays, are posted at http://www.ecospherics.net/
In all his writings he strove to explain humanity's natural place in the larger reality. His writings are a living legacy to the Earth and to future generations of humans searching for answers to the philosophical meaning of life of the Earth and their (mainly unsensed) responsibilities and duties to restoring and maintaining a livable planet.
His writings demonstrate the insightfulness and breadth of his thinking about the ecocentric (Earth-centered) valuation perspective. Among his celebrated writings, here are a few titles that reflect the breadth and depth of Stan's contributions: What on Earth is Environment? Ecosphere Thinking, The Ecology of Cities, Wilderness as Home Place, The Living Earth and Its Ethical Priority, An Earth-Based Ethic for Humanity, Ethical Ecosphere, Ecocentrism: The Chord that Harmonizes Humans and the Earth, This is your Mother Calling, Ethics and the Sea and many others.
As well, Stan leaves behind a "quadrilogy" of creative and beautiful science films in video format, each 26 minutes in length, created by and available from Waterhen Film Productions, Regina. These are educational films for high school and adult audiences. In these, Stan narrates the story of the ecology of the Earth and describes the meaning of the ecocentric valuation perspective. Quote from program prologue: "There is a place in the universe unlike any other....a modest blue-and-white planet circling a very lonely star. It's the only place we know of - with oceans of liquid water, and an atmosphere rich in oxygen. It's the only place we know of - which has created the magical essence called life. Of 20 million life forms, a species called man has grown so powerful that it threatens the creativity of the planet. That species is now searching for a new understanding of its relationship with Earth....its only HOME PLACE."
Stan was the co-author of A Manifesto for Earth published in January/March, 2004 of the quarterly journal Biodiversity published by The Tropical Conservancy. He had been extremely pleased to have seen the Manifesto in print only two days before his stroke. The article was the culmination of a two-year project that I was fortunate to have worked on with him. At 3,100 words, it is unique among Charters, Proclamations and the like in that it describes a thoroughly ecocentric worldview [see http://www.ecospherics.net/pages/EarthManifesto.html ]. Several magazines/ journals have indicated their intent to reprint it.
Beyond his formidable intellect, Stan was a kind, wise, cheerful and gently witty person... an inspiring teacher to students and his many friends. He is survived by his love Katherine, his two children Andrea with granddaughter Emily (Chelsea, Quebec), John with grandsons Christopher and Michael (North Carolina), and his former wife Julia (Saskatoon). Stan's presence among us will be sorely missed. His powerful legacy of important writings - emphasizing the importance of humanity's outer shared reality shall forever be with us - helping to guide people along a path toward greater international understanding, cooperation, stability and peace, all of which he recognized to be so dependent on the sustaining vitality and health of the Earth's Ecosphere.
Among Stan's many quotable quotes, he made this observation about himself:
"Not a misanthrope, but a defender of Earth against the excesses of anthropes."
Much is written to document and conserve biotic diversity, but it is also useful to look retrospectively at human- caused losses of that diversity. Doing so allows us to understand the degree to which human activity is impacting native plant populations. Such documentation should influence decision- making in our use of the land and natural resources so as to avoid the continued loss of ever greater portions of our natural heritage.
A long history of intensive human activity in Spokane County, Washington State, has greatly impacted many local ecosystems. The landscapes of the county are among the most botanically diverse in Washington. I quickly learned this 10 years ago when I started documenting the county's native flora. However, all too often, I have been unable to relocate populations represented by records from earlier botanists. Many of the most important early collection localities throughout the county are now indelibly altered by development, grazing and invasions of nonnative species.
This note is intended to bring attention to the likely eventual loss of many more of the county's ecosystems and native species if development and other human activities aren't better planned.
Spokane County encompasses substantial diversity of habitats and climate. The driest portions are dominated by various bunchgrasses and forbs, as well as Artemisia rigida, Artemisia tridentata and Rosa spp. Pinus ponderosa savanna and forest covers large portions of the county at low to middle elevations. With increasing elevation, this gives way firstly to mixed Pseudotsuga-Abies grandis forest, then wet mixed Tsuga heterophylla-Thuja plicata forest and finally subalpine forest and grassland at the highest elevations. Wetlands are particularly numerous and diverse on exposed basalt bedrock in southwest portions of the county. Special habitats include deep loess of the Palouse Prairie, rich-soil forests on the eastern and northern margins of the Palouse, along rapids of the Spokane River, in old cedar groves and on sand slopes along the Spokane River.
The extirpated flora of Spokane County Extirpated species are listed with complete label information. Location data are in quotation marks and are verbatim. These records represent the only known occurrences from the county. I would be very grateful to anyone for information on any extant populations of these plants in the county.
To date, I have documented over 1,100 native vascular plant taxa from Spokane County. Of these, 53 (4.8%) appear to be extirpated. Some of these extirpations represent the loss of these species from Washington (i.e., Eryngium articulatum, Acorus americanus, Ipomopsis congesta and Tauschia tenuissima).
The loss of some of these natives may be due to the ruderal, ephemeral nature of their populations (i.e., Corydalis aurea, Dracocephalum parviflorum and Hackelia floribunda). However, most of the remainder either grew in habitats that have been eliminated throughout the county, or they required high-quality habitat and were poorly suited to the changes brought upon the landscapes where they once grew.
Many of these extirpations are clearly due to complete loss of habitat. Examples include the conversion of grasslands to agriculture (in the case of Saxifraga ferruginea) and to the development and the spread of urban and suburban Spokane (i.e., Festuca subuliflora, Hierochloe odorata, Mimulus pulsiferae, Minuartia pusilla, Orthocarpus luteus, Salix sitchensis, Thlaspi montanum and Thysanocarpus curvipes). Many of the extirpated wetland species have probably lost habitat to the spread of highly invasive forms of Phalaris arundinacea, which has spread as nearly solid stands around most wetlands. This includes Newman Lake where it likely caused the loss of Acorus americanus, Arnica chamissonis and Carex echinata, and Philleo Lake where Najas flexilis, Schoenoplectus subterminalis and Vaillisneria americana once grew.
Other weeds clearly have resulted in the loss of native plant populations, and are likely to have contributed to many of the extirpations listed here. Bromus tectorum, Centaurea spp., Elymus repens, Hypericum perforatum and Sisymbrium altissimum are among the most aggressive dryland weeds in the county, especially in areas under heavy grazing pressure. These weeds have also been extremely problematic in areas having sandy soils, especially in the valley of the Spokane River. Dryland plants that might have been displaced by weeds include Astragalus adsurgens, Athysanus pusillus, Botrychium simplex, Balsamorhiza rosea and Linanthus liniflorus.
Certain localities in the county appear to have been the sites of particularly large numbers of extirpations. Foremost among these is the Spangle/Waverly/Latah Creek area. This was home to relatives of Wilhelm Suksdorf, one of the greatest pioneer botanists of the West, and it served as one of his favorite collecting localities over several years. While eighteen documented extirpations involved populations at this site, several very rare species continue to grow in the few natural areas in the vicinity. These sites, including one of the last remaining lowland camas meadows in Washington, are a very high conservation priority.
The Spangle site is on the eastern margins of the Channeled Scablands, a unique landscape of shallow, rocky soils and exposed bedrock that was scoured by immense glacial floods roughly 15,000-12,000 years BP (Bretz, 1969). The Scablands are, in general, a region of great biological diversity: nearly half of the 1,100 native taxa of Spokane County have been recorded within the channels of these floods. Large portions of the Spokane County Scablands have been under heavy grazing use, resulting in the displacement of native plants by nonnative invasives, and other portions are currently being subdivided. Any natural areas remaining in the Scablands should be considered for preserve status and livestock should be removed permanently. Conservation measures should be taken soon in the Scabland as well as in other high-quality habitats in the county, otherwise this extirpated flora is likely to continually grow.
While processing DAO herbarium backlog material collected in the 1950s, we came across a set of dried specimens with printed labels intended for distribution as examples of the type collection of Physostegia virginiana var. ledinghamii Boivin in Nat. Canad. 93: 574. 1966. HOLOTYPE: Saskatchewan, Swift Current District, Cabri, 15 milles au nord, platiŠre sablonneuse de la Saskatchewan du Sud, 28 juillet 1952, Bernard Boivin and J.F. Alex 9978 (DAO). These exsiccata included 185 specimens (all isotypes). They are of interest as a population sample that can be analyzed with regard to the distinctiveness of the taxon.
Physostegia virginiana var. ledinghamii was elevated to species rank by Cantino in 1981. It is thought to be a tetraploid derivative of a hybrid between P. parviflora and P. virginiana. The key characteristics that separate all three taxa were presented by Cantino (1981) on the basis of sample sizes of at least 30 specimens, from a wide distribution ranging from Manitoba, western Ontario, the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Some of the characters suggested are qualitative and difficult to apply.
Other characters overlap between P. ledinghamii and either one of the putative parents. The most useful distinguishing characteristic of the hybrid noted by Cantino was the length of the longest nonglandular trichome on the raceme axis but this is difficult to measure. Floral length is useful for distinguishing P. parviflora from P. ledinghamii but the distinction between P. ledinghamii and P. virginiana is more difficult. Based on Cantino's key and descriptions, the number of leafy nodes below the inflorescence appears to be the most useful character. Physostegia virginiana var. virginiana has 19-33 leafy nodes below the inflorescence whereas both P. ledinghamii and P. parviflora have 9-16.
There is no overlap in this character but regardless of how useful it is, the separation of P. virginiana and P. ledinghamii is not likely to be problematic because they appear not to overlap geographically, P. ledinghamii being more western and northern (Cantino, 1981). Thus, based on the recent monographic work, the major identification problem exists in separating P. ledinghamii from P. parviflora. The latter has flowers 9 - 16 mm long while P. ledinghamii has flowers 14 - 23 mm long (Cantino, 1981).
Since the distinction of Physostegia ledinghamii and P. parviflora is based on only about 30 specimens of P. ledinghamii, each being a single plant from a single population, the opportunity to examine floral length in a large population sample represented by the type collection provides useful additional information on variation, and the separation of the two taxa. Floral length was measured in each of 185 plants from an exsiccata collection. The longest intact flower between the third and seventh from the top was measured, and the mean, standard deviation and standard error were calculated in order to determine variability in floral length.
The mean floral length in the sample was 18.3mm ± 1.09 (S.D.) and ± 0.08 (S.E.). The minimum floral length recorded was 15 mm, and the maximum floral length was 21 mm. When compared to Cantino's figure 2 (1981), Physostegia ledinghamii in the type collection had a narrower range of variation. In our large plant collection there were 31 specimens (17 %) between 15 and 17 mm and 154 specimens (83 %) from 18 to 21 mm. Cantino found a range of flower length from 14-23 mm, with only 7 specimens (25 %) between 14 and 17 mm, 15 specimens (54 %) from 18-20 mm, and 6 specimens (21 %) from 21-23 mm. Our population mean and range is well within the limits of total P. ledinghamii variation from a wide geographic range. In contrast, P. parviflora has a more narrow floral length range (12-16mm), with a peak at 14mm. Thus when the floral length in the type population sample is compared to the floral length of P. parviflora, a clear bimodal pattern results, supporting the separation of P. ledinghamii.
As a result of vegetative reproduction by rhizomes all plants in a population may be identical (Cantino, 1982). Furthermore plants may spread by rhizome fragments which could result in widely separate populations being identical. However, the flowers of Physostegia taxa are extensively visited by insects and generally produce seed as a result of both self and cross pollination. Thus populations are not necessarily expected to be genetically uniform. Regardless of the extent to which the variation in the type collection is phenotypic or genotypic, the recognition of P. ledinghamii as a distinct taxon is supported.
Boivin did not explain his choice of the name "ledinghamii" in the original description. The epithet commemorates G. F. Ledingham (b. 1917), plant taxonomist and phytogeographer working mainly in Saskatchewan. Ledingham established the University of Regina's herbarium in 1945 which is now called the G.F. Ledingham Herbarium. During the time he served as curator, he collected over 50,000 specimens of vascular plants, as well as mosses and lichens and provided very extensive information on the flora of the province. He was elected as an honourary member of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club, and has received awards from Parks Canada, Environment Canada and the Canadian Nature Federation. As well, he was the recipient of a Canada 125 Commemorative Medal, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and the Harkin Conservation Award. Most of these awards related to his work involving the protection of natural areas. Ledingham collected many of the plants that became a basis for Boivin's work on the plants of the prairie provinces. For more information on Boivin see Cayouette and Cody (1989).
Isotypes of Physostegia ledinghamii are available on exchange from DAO - contact the collections manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is gratifying to see the venerable wall-chart phenomenon [see R. Schmid, Wall charts (Wandtafeln)--remembrance of things past, Taxon 39: 471-472, 1990] still alive and well at Good Nature Publishing. These attractively and very well done wall charts, or "posters" as the publisher prefers to call them, treat, in titular order, 34, 28, 20, 32, 22, 20, 32, 32, and 34 taxa. Each taxon has a common and Latin name and a representation of habit and vegetative and reproductive features. All charts except the grass one have the taxa linked by number to a central image showing habits. The California oaks and grasses have distribution maps. The chart for the curiously titled Subtropical trees of California treats strictly alien taxa. Lee's charts are illustrated with color pencil, Emmons's with watercolor, both printed on high-quality recycled paper. The laminated charts have two 7-mm grommets for hanging (also helpful would be two more grommets at the lower corners to pin flat the charts). There are also charts on various critters (see the website). Wall charts have been and always will be, even in the Internet age, truly excellent teaching aids. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC ----------
Philip A. Munz's (1892-1974) A California flora appeared in 1959, with offshoots in 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964 as four popular works treating, respectively, spring, desert, mountain, and shore wildflowers. In the four decades since then the University of California Press has shamelessly milked this cash cow, repeatedly reissuing the four guides with new covers and at increased prices (initially $1.95, finally $12.95), with nary a nomenclatural update or replacement of the worst of the exceptionally poor vintage 1950s or early 1960s color photos.
Finally, we have two of the four books, on mountain (California) and shore (Pacific Coast) wildflowers, in thorough revisions by Phyllis M. Faber & Dianne Lake, with new editions of the spring and desert wildflower books promised for 2004. All four books have or will have informative introductions by Robert Ornduff (1932-2000) on the relevant plant communities. The color photography is substantially upgraded, with more photos (see details in the heading comparing the new and old editions), but Jeanne R. Janish's excellent drawings are retained. The mountain and shore books treat, respectively, 257 and 268 taxa of pteridophytes and angiosperms, plus also conifers in the latter book. These welcome updates are superb and will receive broad and extended use. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC ----------
Two recently published field guides to Pacific North American seaweeds, although designed primarily to provide aids to identification by beachcombers, should intrigue phycologists who may be curious about what aspects of their esoteric profession are considered worthy of being shared with the general public.
Druehl's Pacific seaweeds: This little book bears the distinctive stamp of someone who discovered seaweeds fortuitously, fell madly in love with them, and is living joyfully in their midst.
Druehl's writing is enthusiastic, humorous, and replete with interesting personal anecdotes, which conventional editors would smugly blue-pencil. Druehl has dedicated this guide to Robert Francis Scagel, his major professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of an earlier guide (Guide to common seaweeds of British Columbia, 1967, series: British Columbia Provincial Museum handbook, no. 27). Whereas Scagel's guide covered only British Columbia, Druehl has extended the range southward to Point Conception, California. He treats 134 species, including two seagrasses, which represent about one-fifth of the marine flora of this cold-temperate region.
To facilitate identification of these species, they are first categorized by color (green, brown, and red) and then grouped on the basis of the form of the plant. For example, green cylinders would lead the reader to Enteromorpha, brown cylinders to Scytosiphon, Melanosiphon, Analipus, Saundersella, and Desmarestia (pro parte), and red cylinders to Halosaccion and Nemalion. Within each form-group the genera and species are differentiated by line drawings (many drawn by Ernani G. Me¤ez for Scagel's 1967 guide), brief descriptions using relatively simple terms, and habitat notes. Most genera are represented by color photos, which are helpful but not always convincing. There are no dichotomous keys except for the species of Laminaria (a genus close to Druehl's heart). Most generic names are accompanied by an alleged common name, but in the absence of widely accepted common names for the majority of seaweeds, Druehl has resorted to invention. Ulothrix, a filamentous green alga identifiable only by microscopic examination, will be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is commonly known as "Mermaid's tresses".
There is much more to Druehl's guide than aids to identification. There are brief sections, comprising 13 pages, on the definition of seaweeds, their structure and reproduction, life histories, the taxonomic hierarchy, beach etiquette and safety, and how to make herbarium specimens. More extensive accounts, comprising 29 pages, are devoted to seaweed ecology (including horizontal and vertical distribution, communities, productivity, and conservation) and seaweed utilization and cultivation. Finally, there are seven pages of seaweed recipes. Clearly, Druehl has poured his heart and soul into this little but disproportionately informative book.
The Mondragons's Seaweeds of the Pacific Coast: Lagging several years behind other geographic areas, the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California, at last has a full- color photographic manual of its common seaweeds. Springing from the excellent intertidal and subtidal photography of Jeff Mondragon, this useful book was crafted by his wife Jennifer.
The introductory material is concise, interesting, and helpful. It covers the morphology, life histories, and habitats of seaweeds as well as their taxonomy, nomenclature, and phylogeny. Brief sections are devoted to the collecting, photographing, and use of seaweeds. For culinary adventurers, there are four pages of seaweed recipes. The "Quick-Key" is in fact a classification based on color and somatic type (filament, crust, blade, etc.) and serves as a key to species only when a particular category has only one member. A very useful feature of the key is the graphic indication of the north-south range for each species, which can differentiate species in the same category provided that the specimen in hand was not collected in an area of overlap.
In the taxonomic portion of the book each of 114 species is illustrated by an in situ colored photo accompanied by a brief description using semi-popular vocabulary. Remarks on field characters, morphology, taxonomy, and nomenclature are given when appropriate. For 16 genera, a photo and description is given without naming a particular species.
The selection of seaweeds is skewed towards the north. Among various seaweeds common in southern California that could have been included are Dictyopteris undulata, Pachydictyon coriaceum, Halidrys dioica, Sargassum agardhii, Gracilaria cunninghamii, G. papenfussii (in fact a Gracilariopsis), Leptocladia binghamiae, Chondria acrorhizophora, C. nidifica, and Laurencia subopposita.
While the species depicted in most photos will be recognizable to the specialist, the novice may find it difficult to match specimens with those photos (fortunately few) that have insufficient contrast between specimen and background or in which the thallus is too congested to clearly show characteristic branching patterns. Speaking in general terms, and not with reference solely to the book at hand, I believe that only the very best of photos would obviate the need for accompanying line drawings, such as have been provided by D.S. Littler & M.M. Littler in their Caribbean reef plants (2000).
Considering that the photos were taken in situ, they are exceptionally fine. I particularly like the picture of Pelagophycus porra (elk kelp), in which Jennifer Mondragon serves as a scale by which to measure the prodigious size of the pneumatocyst.
In view of the obsolescence of the standard reference book for Pacific coast seaweeds (I.A. Abbott & G.J. Hollenberg, Marine algae of California, 1976), the updated names and geographic ranges in the present book are especially important. They have been gleaned from the unpublished book, A guide to the seaweeds of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California, by T.C. DeCew, P.C. Silva & R.A. Rasmussen.
All of the seaweeds seem to be correctly identified with the exception of the alga labeled Laminaria ephemera, which is clearly L. setchellii, and the alga labeled Bossiella sp., which is a form of Calliarthron tuberculosum.
As editor and adviser, Professor Rasmussen (Humboldt State University, Arcata, California) has imparted a scholarly tone to this beautifully formatted book, which serves as a very impor tant interim reference until such a time as Marine algae of California may be revised or rewritten.
An obvious compilatory labor of love, the 547-page heart of the book on over 50,000 alphabetically arranged taxa serves as a nomenclator for everyone and as a plant locator for gardeners in British Columbia and eleven western states. Coded entries for 336 nurseries (I detect an Oregonian bias) suggest sources for popular and exotic species and cultivars. A 65-page section gives up to 17 parameters for 336 nurseries, including website URLs and email addresses. Some nurseries supplied plant lists for the database, whereas others did or could not, for instance, respectively, 43 and 9 nurseries for California. This is a good source to check for new or unusual cultivars, but there will always be omissions, especially for presumably recent cultivars. For instance, "Magnolia 'Lemon Mist'" purchased locally by my girlfriend does not appear, and Googling also is no help here. This book also has a valuable 19-page introductory section on "nomenclatural notes" plus a useful 86-page index of nearly 9000 entries that equates common to Latin names. A CD-ROM version probably would have been even more worthwhile than the printed version. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC -----------
In dealing with aquatic and wetland plants one expects to get one's feet muddy and even wet. This nifty guidebook will compensate for those annoyances. It deals with over 400 species (4 pteridophytes are featured, 5 others incidentally mentioned) and illustrates them with over 300 simple but effective line drawings and over 300 mostly good-quality color photos. Five parts of the book are color coded for pteridophytes, graminoids, non- graminoid monocotyledons, shrubs, and dicotyledonous herbs. Each featured taxon has information for names, structure, habitat and distribution (including outside Canada), ecology and use ("special features"), and related species. There is one key to families and four keys to genera (Potamogeton, Eriophorum, Scirpus, Myriophyllum). The 19-page introduction (see Contents) gives a useful overview. This handy paperback has rounded corners and is reasonably sized (213x140 mm) but would have benefited from a plasticized cover. Missing from the title page is the cover subtitle noting this work is useful in the prairie states adjacent to the Canadian prairie provinces. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC ----------
I was so pleased to see the review of Omer Stewart's book on aboriginal fire. I looked at his manuscript years ago when he was trying to publish it, and I really thought it deserved publication. It is a horrible example of how ones colleagues can suppress serious research and destroy the writer's reputation.
There is a recent biography of Omer (Cannibalism Is an Acquired Taste . by Carol L. Howell - see below), and it deserves reading. Years ago, when the Civil Rights fight was going on, we had a meeting of the Southwestern Association of Museums at Boulder, and Omer proposed that the group pass a resolution that would have bound the museum group to abandon the principles of segregated drinking fountains and rest rooms; he was voted down by the whole Texas-Oklahoma bloc. He also succeeded in forcing a local barber on University Hill to cease to denying haircuts for blacks "because their wiry hair ruined his scissors."
He was unfortunately so caught up with civil rights that it affected his scientific judgment sometimes. I happened to get hold of a few of Barry Fell's books on the ancient visits of Europeans to America, and I became quite supportive of his thesis (I still am), and his right to promulgate it whether it was flawed or not. I was walking by the museum building and caught up with Omer and asked him what his opinion of Fell's work was, and he brushed it off, saying, "Oh, him. He's a racist."
He also was a good administrator. The anthropology department developed under Omer's headship, because he tried his best to advance the faculty.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Omer Stewart is most noted for his career-long study of the Peyote religion. His mentor, A.L. Kroeber, instilled in him an abiding respect for cultural variation. Applying this fundamental principle to his work in the 1930s, Omer was surprised to find himself at odds with many notable colleagues. With characteristic self-confidence, he was undeterred in his effort to document the religion, defend its practice, and push open the door to applied anthropology.
In Cannibalism Is an Acquired Taste, Carol L. Howell weaves together taped interviews with Stewart; excerpts from his letters, notes, and papers; and recollections of family members and others. The result is a fascinating sketch not only of Omer Stewart as a person but also of his contributions to the field of anthropology and the academic and social milieu in which he participated. A must for anthropologists and anyone interested in the art of biography.