Alvan Wentworth Chapman

Alvan Wentworth Chapman (September 28, 1809 – April 6, 1899) was an American physician and pioneering botanist in the study of flora of the American south east.[1]:50 He wrote Flora of the Southern United States, the first comprehensive description of US plants in any region beyond the northeastern states.[1] Chapman is a leader in the fields of hierarchy theory, systems theory, and complexity.[2]

Alvan Wentworth Chapman
Alvan Wentworth Chapman.jpg
Alvan Wentworth Chapman, circa 1855
Born(1809-09-28)September 28, 1809
DiedApril 6, 1899(1899-04-06) (aged 89)
Scientific career
Author abbrev. (botany)Chapm.


He was born in Southampton, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children. In 1830, he graduated from Amherst College with a degree in classics. He moved to Georgia and then Florida where he held various teaching positions, and married Mary Ann Hancock in 1839. In the early 1840s, he received a medical education, acquiring his MD in 1846. In 1847, he settled in Apalachicola, Florida, remaining there for the rest of his life working as a physician and botanist, collaborating with Asa Gray.[3]

Botanical worksEdit

His botanical interest seems to have started when he lived in Georgia, adjacent to the botanically unexplored regions of northern Florida. Working in near isolation, in his spare time, he had a manuscript by 1859, and visited Harvard University for five months, consulting with Asa Gray and arranging for publication of his Flora of the Southern States, which occurred in 1860.[1]:50 Chapman brought out a second edition in 1884, and a third edition in 1897.


Chapman Elementary School


  1. ^ a b c Makers of American Botany, Harry Baker Humphrey, Ronald Press Company, Library of Congress Card Number 61-18435
  2. ^   Kelly, Howard A.; Burrage, Walter L., eds. (1920). "Chapman, Alvan Wentworth" . American Medical Biographies. Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company.
  3. ^ Dupree, A. Hunter (1988). Asa Gray, American Botanist, Friend of Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-801-83741-8.
  4. ^ IPNI.  Chapm.


  • Duane Isely, One hundred and one botanists (Iowa State University Press, 1994), pp. 181–183
  • Raymond B. Becker. John Gorrie, M.D.: Father of Air Conditioning and Mechanical Refrigeration. Carlton Press, 1972. (Contains biographical information about Chapman).
  • Chapman, A.W. Flora of the Southern United States. Ivison, Phinney and Co., New York. 1860. (Available on Google Books).

External linksEdit