Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Cleland mss., 1911-1946, are the papers of Ralph Erskine Cleland, 1892-1971, botanist. They consist chiefly of correspondence with prominent scientists on Oenothera, evening primrose.

In the summer of 1918, Cleland assisted Bradley Moore Davis in research on Oenothera by investigating the behavior of the chromosomes which resulted in a startling discovery. Some of the chromosomes in the Oenothera behaved in the normal manner while others regularly arranged themselves end to end in a circle, adjacent chromosomes going into different reproductive cells. Although such chromosomal behavior had been sporadically noted no one had recognized that it occurred regularly for some chromosomes of some organisms. He felt that his discovery might be the clue to understanding the already known erratic pattern of heredity in Oenothera and thereby converting one of the apparent discrepancies with the chromosome theory into one of its strongest supports. Furthermore, his discovery might explain the sudden large hereditary variations which occurred in Oenothera and had been the main basis of the theory of mutation proposed in 1901 by the Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries as an alternative to Darwin'g theory of evolution. Cleland demonstrated the causes and the effects of the circles of chromosomes on patterns of heredity and on the origin of large hereditary variations. He used what he had discovered to reconstruct the evolutionary history of Oenothera. A comprehensive study of Oenotheras of North America and to a lesser degree of Central and South America culminated in his history of Oenothera. Shortly before his death the manuscript entitled "Oenothera, Cytogenetics and Evolution" was sent to the publisher.

The bulk of the correspondence deals with research on Oenothera; some letters, however, relate to the persecution of Jews in Germany in 1938; the Paraguayan War, 1865-1870; the botany departments at the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota; economic conditions in the United States, 1934; discrimination against women; scientific research during World War II; roses; rubber plants; and bougainvillaea.

Among the correspondents in the collection are Le Roy Abrams, Charles Elmer Allen, Edgar Anderson, William Andrew Archer, George Francis Atkinson, Ernest Brown Babcock, Irving Widmer Bailey, Leonard Barron, Harley Harris Bartlett, Erwin Baur, Karl I. Belar, John Belling, Anna Dorothy Bergner, Albert Francis Blakeslee, Frieda Cobb Blanchard, Kristine [Elisabeth Heuch] Bonnevie, George Albert Boulenger, Royal Alexander Brink, John Isaac Briquet, Sam Buchet, John Theodore Buchholz, Leonas Lancelot Burlingame, Gary Nathan Calkins, Wendell Holmes Camp, David Guthrie Catchside, Charles Joseph Chamberlain, Arthur Houston Chivers, Jens Christian Clausen, Frederic Edward Clements, Leon Jacob Cole, Robert Harold Compton, Edwin Grant Conklin, Orator Fuller Cook, Helen Virginia Crouse, Cyril Dean Darlington, Charles Benedict Davenport, Bradley Moore Davis, Charles Clemons Deam, Milislav Demerec, Philip Dowell, Edward Murray East, Alica Eastwood, Ralph Emerson, Sterling Emerson, Eileen Erlanson, David Fairchild, Merritt Lyndon Fernald, K. Fujii, Francois Gagnepain, Lulu Odell Gaiser, Fernando Galan, Reginald Ruggles Gates, Richard Benedict Goldschmidt, Jesse More Greenman, Victor Gregoire, Harvey Monroe Hall, Bayard Louis Hammond, Frank Blair Hanson, Robert Almer Harper, Robert William Hegner, William Botting Hemsley, John William Heslop-Harrison, Sir Arthur William Hill, Charles Leonard Huskins, John Theron Illick, Edward Charles Jeffrey, Herbert Spencer Jennings, Donald Alexander Johansen, Lewis Ralph Jones, G.D. Karpechenko, Berwind Peterson Kaufmann, David Daniels Keck, Arthur Pierson Kelley, Vernon Lyman Kellogg, James Peter Kelly, Hitoshi Kihara, Bessie League, Ernst Lehmann, Clarence Cook Little, William Harding Longley, Johannes Paulus Lotsy, Anne M. Lutz, Barbara McClintock, Clarence Erwin McClung, Edwin Carleton MacDowell, John Muirhead MacFarlane, Takeshige Maeda, Pierre Martens, I. Modilewski, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Philip Alexander Munz, Michael S. Navashin, Bernhard Rudolf Nebel, Nils Heribert Nilsson, Friedrich Oehlkers, Henry Fairfield Osborn, George James Peirce, W. Poddubnaja-Arnoldi, Loren George Polhamus, Lowell Fitz Randolph, Otto Renner, Benjamin Lincoln Robinson, John Robinson, Otto Rosenberg, C.F. Rudolff, Mary Anna Russell, Gerhard Sander, Sophie A. Satina, Karl Sax, I. Schwemmle, Paul Bigelow Sears, William Seifriz, Lester Whyland Sharp, Charles Albert Shull, George Harrison Shull, Helmi Siebs, Edmund Ware Sinnott, Gilbert Morgan Smith, Wendell Meredith Stanley, Curt Stern, Cloyd (Bumely) Stifler, Theodoor Jan Stomps, Arlow Burdette Stout, George Linius Streeter, Horace Wesley Stunkard, Alfred Henry Sturtevant, Margaret Sumwalt, Nils E. Svedlius, William Randolph Taylor, Walter Palmer Thompson, Georg Friedrich Leopold Tischler, W.E. Tisdale, Samuel Mills Tracy, Rodney Howard True, Hsu- chuan Tuan, Hugo De Vries, Thomas Elliot Weier, Frederick Ernest Weiss, Friedrich August Ferdinand Christian Went, Richard Wettstein, Ritter von Westerheim, Edgar Theodore Wherry, Thomas Wallace Whitaker, Elizabeth Lloyd White, Phineas Wescott Whiting, Mary Wilhelmine Williams, Edmund Beecher Wilson, Ewa WiĆ¾niewska, Frank Woolnough, Elaine Margaret Young.

Collection size: 507 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.