Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1988. “Roscoe Pound and the Seminarium Botanicum at the University of Nebraska, 1888-1889.” Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 16: 185-90.


Copyright 1988 Michael R. Hill


Roscoe Pound (1870-1964) became one of America's leading legal scholars, but few recall his rigorous training in botany. Those who do most often cite his 1898 joint doctoral thesis (The Phytogeography of Nebraska, co-authored with Frederic Clements), but fail to note his first graduate work of a decade earlier. Roscoe Pound's master's thesis, "The Imperfect Fungi of Nebraska," was researched and written during the 1888-1889 academic year. Although the thesis itself is now lost, its content and the circumstances under which it was written can be established by using archival materials. Pound's role in leading the student botanical club (the Seminarium Botanicum, known popularly as the Sem. Bot.) during the 1888-1889 academic year provides key insights into his organizational and scientific abilities. The activities and accomplishments of the Sem. Bot. are discussed. This paper is based on archival materials at the following locations: The Harvard Law School Library, The Nebraska State Historical Society, The University of Iowa, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Wyoming.