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John W. Moore papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ua47

Scope and Content

The collection contains the professional papers of Dr. John W. Moore, a professor of Botany at the University of Minnesota. Included in this collection are letters from Dr. Moore as part of the University of Minnesota’s plant identification program, syllabi, lecture notes, and exams for courses Dr. Moore attended during his education, and those he taught at the University of Minnesota. Other material includes research notes regarding flowering plants, ferns and trees in Minnesota, as well as his doctoral research notes on the native plants found in Raiatea and Tahiti.


  • 1902-1968


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Note

John W. Moore was born in Jud, North Dakota on June 23, 1901. (1) He completed his bachelor of science degree at Brookings, South Dakota in June of 1924, where he excelled in botany, chemistry, and geology. He then completed his Masters degree in botany, with a minor in entomology, at the University of Minnesota in June of 1926. In 1927, Moore worked as an Assistant Botanist at the University of Minnesota (2) while attaining his Ph.D. in Botany, with a minor in Geology, and researched the native plants found in Tahiti, Raiatea and the Society Islands. During this time, Moore provided additional research work near Nephi in the San Juan country of Utah, under the direction of Dr. J. Arthur Harris, Head of the Botany Department. (1) After achieving his Ph.D. in March of 1933, Moore was promoted to Herbarium Assistant of Botany in 1935, (3) to Junior Botanist in 1938 (4) and finally Associate Botanist in 1939. (5)

As an expert in the field of taxonomic botany, Moore was frequently requested to review the manuscripts of other scholars for accuracy and validation. Dr. Moore worked with these scholars not only to verify their information, but also to identify plants provided to him for their manuscripts.

While teaching botany at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Moore also regularly corresponded with the public regarding plant identification as this was a service provided by the University of Minnesota’s Herbarium. Members of the public would either describe in detail the plant in question or would send him samples of the plant’s leaves or flowers for Moore to identify, and he would respond with the identification and additional information about the plant, such as if it is native to Minnesota, how to care for it, or how to eradicate it.

Moore was a member of a number of societies including the American Society for Plant Taxonomists, The Minnesota Botanical Society, The National Geographic Society, Gamma Alpha fraternity, The Society of Sigma Xi, and others. He was also a member of the advisory committee for the Pipestone Indian Shrine Association in 1955, to which he was unanimously nominated. This association was “to stimulate interest in the educational activities and encourage scientific investigations and research in the fields of archeology, ethnology, history, geology, botany, zoology, and related subjects, bearing upon the Pipestone National Monument region.”

Moore continued his research and coursework at the University of Minnesota up until his retirement on July 1, 1969. He passed away in 2000. (6)


(1) Biographical File, Moore, John W., Information file collection, University Archives.

(2) University of Minnesota Board of Regents Meeting, October 17, 1927.

(3) University of Minnesota Board of Regents Meeting, August 7, 1935.

(4) University of Minnesota Board of Regents Meeting, May 11, 1938.

(5) University of Minnesota Board of Regents Meeting, June 12, 1940.

(6) University of Minnesota Board of Regents Meeting, September 28, 2000.


5 Cubic Feet (4 record boxes)

Language of Materials




Collection contains correspondence, educational material, research notes and resources created by Dr. John W. Moore in his role as taxonomic botanist and professor at the University of Minnesota.


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: Personal and Professional Material, 1905-1972
    • Subseries 1.1: Graduate and Ph.D. Material, 1915-1936
    • Subseries 1.2: Correspondence, 1930-1972
    • Subseries 1.3: Organizational Correspondence and Material, 1916-1969
    • Subseries 1.4: Departmental Material,1905-1966
  • Series 2: Course Material, 1925-1945
  • Series 3: Plant Taxonomy Material, 1900-1968

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University Archives on December 11, 1992.

Related Materials in the University Archives

Processing Information

Processing completed with funds from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society (2021-2022).

John W. Moore Papers, 1902-1968
Karen Spilman; Janet Reyes
March 2005; September 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • September 2021: Contents list added, notes updated

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area