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Alice Lounsberry and Ellis Rowan explore Caesar's Head, South Carolina. From Southern Wildflowers and Trees.

Alice Lounsberry (6 November 1873 – 21 November 1949, both in New York City) was an American botanist and author active in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Some sources give her birth year as 1872.) She worked closely with the Australian botanical artist Ellis Rowan, publishing three books with her as illustrator.


Lounsberry was the daughter of James Smith Lounsberry and Sarah Woodruff (Burrows) Lounsberry. She was educated at Mrs. Sylvanus Reed's School, New York City (Leonard, 1914). Lounsberry came to visit Ellis Rowan when Rowan was hospitalized with influenza in Washington, D.C., circa 1896-1897 (Samuel 1961). Lounsberry then proposed that the artist illustrate her upcoming book on wildflowers. Rowan agreed, changing plans to return to Europe.

Over a period of two or more years, the two traveled over the Southeastern United States in search of native plants. The first year, they traveled to Florida, exploring the St. Johns River, among other sites. They then visited the Southern Appalachian region, including Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. The next year they returned to that region, working at the herbarium of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Presumably this is where Lounsberry became acquainted with Chauncey Beadle.

Lounsberry and Rowan did not work on another book after Southern Wildflowers and Trees was published in 1901. Rowan went on to tour the western United States, and returned to Australia circa 1904–1905. Lounsberry wrote several more works on botany and gardening, but none seemed to enjoy the popularity of her works with Rowan, based on their abundance on the used book market, circa 2006.

Abies fraseri by Ellis Rowan 1901
Frasier Fir, from Southern Wildflowers and Trees

Published works by Alice Lounsberry include:

  • A Guide to the Wild Flowers (1899), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Nathaniel Lord Britton. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.
  • A Guide to the Trees (1900), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Nathaniel Lord Britton. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.
  • Southern Wild Flowers and Trees (1901), illustrations by Ellis Rowan, introduction by Chauncey Beadle. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the May 30, 1901, issue of The Nation.)
  • The Wildflower Book for Young People (1906). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the March 26, 1908 issue of The Nation.)
  • Gardens Near the Sea (1910). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. (Reviewed in the December 8, 1910 issue of The Nation.)
  • Frank and Bessie's Forester (1912). New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company.

In addition, an Alice Lounsberry, apparently the same person as the botanist, was the author of a historical biography: Sir William Phips, Treasure Fisherman and Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1941), published in New York by C. Scribner's and sons. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography calls this work "a curious mixture of research and imagination, largely uncritical".

See also

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