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Alvan Wentworth Chapman

Flora of the Southern United States, by Alvan Wentworth Chapman
Born September 28, 1809(1809-09-28)
Southampton, Massachusetts
Died April 6, 1899 (aged 89)
Fields Medicine
Author abbreviation (botany) Chapm.

Alvan Wentworth Chapman (September 28, 1809 – April 6, 1899) was an American physician and botanist who wrote Flora of the Southern United States, the first comprehensive description of US plants in any region beyond the northeastern states.



He was born in Southampton, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children. In 1830, he graduated from Amherst College with a degree in classics. He moved to Georgia and then Florida where he held various teaching positions, and married Mary Ann Hancock in 1839. In the early 1840s, he received a medical education, acquiring his MD in 1846. In 1847, he settled in Apalachicola, Florida, remaining there for the rest of his life working as a physician.

Botanical works

His botanical interest seems to have started when he lived in Georgia, adjacent to the botanically unexplored regions of northern Florida. Working in near isolation, in his spare time, he had a manuscript by 1859, and visited Harvard University for five months, consulting with Asa Gray and arranging for publication, which occurred in 1860. Chapman brought out a second edition in 1884, and a third edition in 1897.


  • He is memorialized in the genus Chapmania.
  • Chapman High School and Chapman Elementary School in Apalachicola were named in his honor.



  • Duane Isely, One hundred and one botanists (Iowa State University Press, 1994), pp. 181-183
  • Raymond B. Becker. John Gorrie, M.D.: Father of Air Conditioning and Mechanical Refrigeration. Carlton Press, 1972. (Contains biographical information about Chapman).
  • Chapman, A.W. Flora of the Southern United States. Ivison, Phinney and Co., New York. 1860. (Available on Google Books).


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

U.S. botanist (1809-1899) (Chapm.)

Apparently there isn't much information about this man.


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