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Arboretum News
Volume 10 (1961)

No. 2 (June 1961)

Vol. 10, No. 2 Madison, Wisconsin - June, 1961 
 John T. Curtis, Professor of Botany and Chairman of The University of Wisconsin
Arboretum Committee, died in Madison on June 7, after a long illness, at
the age of 47. 
 Professor Curtis was born in Waukesha, Wis., graduated from Carroll College
in that city, and completed his graduate work in botany at The University
of Wisconsin. He was appointed as instructor in Botany in 1937 and rose rapidly
— allowing for time spent in Haiti during World War IT—attaining
the rank of full professor in 1951. His speciality was ecology, a field in
which he became widely known. In 1959 he piblished his book "The Vegetation
of Wisconsin", the summation of much of his work and that of his colleagues
and students over a twentyyear period. Professor Curtis' many professional
achievements and honors will be presented in detail elsewhere. It is our
purpose in this brief article to confine our attention mainly to his outstanding
and continuing services to the Arboretum for the past twenty-five years.
 From his arrival on the Madison campus in 1934, shortly after the establishment
of the Arboretum, Professor Curtis maintained an intense and unflagging interest
in its affairs. He was appointed to the Arboretum Committee in 1939 and had
served continuously since. He filled the post of Arboretum Research Coordinator
with distinction and dedication for a number of years, and in 1959, when
A. F. Gallistel retired as Chairman of the Arboretum Committee, Professor
Curtis was the natural choice as his successor. 
 Somewhat aloof and austere in mannerwith those whom he did not know well,
Professor Curtis nonetheless possessed great organizing ability, persuasiveness
in presenting his views, and a great deal of farsighted shrewdness. His knack
of getting at the essentials of any problem was outstanding, a talent which
will be sorely missed in future operations of the Arboretum which, it seems
certain, can only grow more complex as the years pass. 
 Professor Curtis was a person of marked versatility and he employed his
abilities unstintingly in giving direction to the development of the various
plant communities in the Arboretum, and in furthering the prosecution of
research on the area. Despite the fact that he was an exceedingly busy individual
he was a person upon whom this writer, as Editor of the Arboretum News, could
always depend for numerous suggestions and articles which have appeared in
almost every number of the News in recent years. His latest project in this
connection was a series of articles on the native woody plants of the Arboretum,
two of which have been printed as supplements to the Arboretum News. 

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