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Tracy, Joseph Prince (1879-1953) | University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Name: Tracy, Joseph Prince (1879-1953)
Variant Name: Tracy, Joseph P.

Historical Note:

Joseph Prince Tracy, noted northern California botanist, was born on January 11, 1879 in Hydesville, California to Joseph and Harriet Tracy.  In 1890 his family moved to Eureka, California where his father was appointed the Register of Public Lands. Joseph P. Tracy was one of the first students from Eureka to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated in 1903 and studied botany with Dr. Harvey M. Hall, Dr. J. Burtt Davy, Dr. Willis Jepson, and Dr. William Setchell.  Tracy hoped to continue his studies in botany at Berkeley, however due to financial difficulties faced by his family after his father's death he moved back to Eureka in 1904 and was hired by the Belcher Abstract and Title Company as a title examiner. He worked for Belcher until his death in 1953 and was well respected within the community.

He devoted his free time to botanical studies and collected extensively in Humboldt and the surrounding counties, becoming an expert on the local flora. He continued to correspond and collaborate with his colleagues at Berkeley. He collected and sent over 30,000 duplicate plant specimens to the University and Jepson Herbaria, which were distributed to herbaria worldwide.

Tracywas a member of the California Botanical Society, the Save-the-Redwoods League, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geographic Society, and the California Academy of Sciences.

Joseph P. Tracy passed away in Eureka on November 26, 1963. He donated his private herbarium and library to the University of California. His childhood diaries from 1893-1898 have been published by his niece, Harriet Tracy Delong.


Bacigalupi, R. (1954).  Joseph Prince Tracy.  Madrono v.12(6) pp. 190-192.

DeLong, Harriet Tracy (1990). The diaries of Joseph Prince Tracy, Eureka, California, 1893-1898. Eureka Printing Co.

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