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SIE JOSEPH HOOKEE. (See Frontispiece.)


botanists, traveller?,

and Kewites, whose official connection with Kew extended over forty years—the friend and co-worker of Darwin from 1839 till his death— is a man of whom we may all feel proud. His portrait, taken when he was in his prime, will be valued by all, and his kindly expressions with regard to our Guild will be heard of with pride and pleasure. He was appointed Assistant Director in May 1855, and succeeded his father as Director in 1865. If Sir William laid the foundations of modern Kew, it may be said of Sir Joseph that he developed it to its present magnificent proportions. H e retired from the Directorship in November 1885. As Director he was a strict disciplinarian, methodical to a fault, and with a love of order which he used to say he had caught from the Navy. Always ready to make allowances, liberal in help with kindly counsel and advice to the earnest worker, but unmerciful to the careless and slipshod, he influenced enormously the career of many who came in contact with him. H e could " enthuse " beginners and rouse interest in work which before had seemed dreary and uninviting. A walk in the Gardens with Sir Joseph was always a great treat ; he seemed to know every plant and everything about it. The magnitude and value of his work can be gauged by his correspondence with Darwin, as shown in the ' Life and Letters of Charles D a r w i n ' ; and the character of the man is seen in Darwin's estimate of him. The ' Genera Plantarum,' at which he and Bentham worked for twenty years, his ' Student's Elora of the British Isles,' ' Elora of Tasmania,' ' Flora of New Zealand,' ' Himalayan Bhododendrons,' and ' The Botanical Magazine' are some of the most noteworthy of his many botanical works, whilst his ' Himalayan Journals' is admitted to be the best book of travels ever written. H e now lives at Sunningdale, Berks, and comes up to Kew four days a week, where he works like a nigger at his gigantic undertakings the ' Elora of British India ' and the ' Index Kewensis.' H e is still a strong man and straight as a lifeguardsman, notwithstanding his age—77 years. Darwin, in his letters to Sir Joseph, frequently twitted him on his modesty and indifference to fame and often advised him not to work so hard. Certainly hard work has agreed with him, and the work he has done is such that his fame will live, whatever his indifference to it may be. Sir Joseph Hooker and Kew are almost synonymous.


Profile for Kew Guild Journal

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