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Ernst C. Abbe papers

Identifier: ua-00070

Scope and Content

The collection is arranged into the following series: Research and Travel, Professional Activities, and Correspondence and Instruction. The bulk of the collection consists of research related materials, such as diaries, lists of specimen collections, data, reports, and related correspondence. Professional activities highlight Abbe's involvement with University of Minnesota committees, such as the Committee on General Education, as well as his work outside the University, including the American Philosophical Society and the National Research Council. Correspondence is in alphabetical order by author and spans almost 50 years, with the bulk from the 1940s-1960s. Instruction materials include botany lecture and lab materials.

Materials that related to Abbe's work as chair of the Department of Botany were removed from his personal papers and added to the Department of Botany records.


  • 1924-1996

Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

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 Sketch of Ernst C. Abbe (1905-2000)

Ernst C. Abbe, B.S. (1928), M.S. (1930), Cornell University; M.A. (1931), Ph.D. (1934), Harvard University. Professor and dean of botany at the University of Minnesota (1934-1974). Expert in the fields of morphology, cytology, genetics, and phytogeography.

Ernst Cleveland Abbe was born on August, 21 1905 in Washington, D.C. He earned his B.S. in 1928 and an M.S. in 1930 from Cornell University, and an M.A. in 1931 and Ph.D. in 1934 from Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard, Abbe joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota as an instructor in botany. He remained in the botany department for over 40 years, heading the department from 1944-1947 and again in 1962-1967. Abbe retired as professor emeritus in 1974.

Abbe was a renowned scholar in the fields of morphology, cytology, genetics and phytogeography. He, and his wife Lucy, a professor of biology at Macalester College, conducted a number of joint research expeditions, including the North Shore of Minnesota, Hudson Bay, Borneo, Malaysia and Southeast Asia. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and at the Linnaean Society of London. In addition, Abbe was active in Sigma Xi and the Minnesota Academy of Science, serving as its vice president (1951-1952) and president (1952-1953). Ernst C. Abbe died on March 15, 2000.


11.25 Cubic Feet (9 boxes; 34 slide boxes; 2 card indexes)


Collection contains the papers of Ernst C. Abbe, professor emeritus of botany at the University of Minnesota.

Related Materials in University Archives

Department of Botany records

Ernst C. Abbe papers, 1924-1996
Karen Spilman
February 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area