Egbert Hamilton Walker (1899-1991), botanist, was born in Chicago, Illinois. After receiving his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1922, he spent four years as an instructor at Canton Christian College (Lingnan University) in Canton, China. He received his M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1928, and his Ph.D. in botany from Johns Hopkins University in 1940.
After leaving Wisconsin in 1928, Walker began work in the Division of Plants, United States National Museum, at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1942, he became Assistant Curator to the Division, and in 1947, Associate Curator. When the Division was reorganized into the Department of Botany in 1947, Walker was assigned to the Division of Phanerogams. He retired from the Smithsonian staff in 1959, and from 1959 to 1960 was a consultant with the American Institute of Biological Sciences in Washington, D.C. Walker returned to the Smithsonian staff in 1965 as a Research Associate to the Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History and continued his work there until 1987.
Walker conducted botanical field work specifically in Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, but also in New Zealand, Japan, the Philippine Islands, Hawaii, the Johnston Islands, Guam, Thailand, and Vietnam. He was vice president (1944) and president (1949-1950) of the Botanical Society of Washington and a member of the Botanical Society of Japan.
(1) Correspondence, 1938-1987; (2) Subjects, 1938-1977; (3) Publication material, c. 1952-1965; (4) Research material, c. 1936-1967; (5) Biographical material, 1923-1985
These papers document the career and life of Egbert Hamilton Walker, a Smithsonian Institution botanist whose taxonomic research centered on the Myrsinaceae of East Asia. Types of documentation include correspondence, reports, copies and drafts of manuscripts, bibliographic card files, and autobiographical notes.
The papers of Egbert Hamilton Walker primarily pertain to the research, funding, and preparation for the Flora of Okinawa and the Southern Ryukyu Islands. This publication was the result of over twenty years of research from Walker's time at the Department of Botany, United States National Museum to his time as Research Associate at the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History. Primary correspondents with regards to this publication include Tetsuo Amano, Sumihiko Hatusima, Tetsuo Koyama and Shinjun Tawada. Papers relating to the research, funding, and preparation for A Bibliography of Eastern Asiatic Botany and its supplement are also well represented. Reports on a Servicemen's Collecting Program developed by Walker during World War II, and the Scientific Investigations in the Ryukyu Islands botanical program are also documented in these papers.
Walker's primary correspondents from his early years with the Smithsonian until his retirement include botanists Harley Harris Bartlett of the University of Michigan, Elmer Drew Merrill of Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University, and Joseph Francis Rock.
Walker's autobiographical notes were written around 1978. The appendices to his autobiography pertain to his experiences in China from 1923 to 1926; the Old World Collections in the United States National Herbarium; Walker's field work, publications, and conferences he attended; the Walker family Christmas letters; and the editor of A Bibliography of Eastern Asiatic Botany.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520