Records include some correspondence belonging to Mary Agnes Chase, which was forwarded to Swallen; Ernest R. Sohn, associate curator of Botany, 1956; and Thomas R. Soderstrom, curator of Grasses, 1964-1965. Correspondents include U.S. and foreign botanists; agricultural experiment stations; field botanists; state geological surveys; foresters; curators of herbaria; wildlife technicians; collectors of botanical specimens; grass companies; government officials; colleagues; and scientific societies. Correspondence concerns the examination, identification, and determination of botanical specimens, especially grasses and corn; exchanges of specimen collections; loans of specimens; requests for and shipment of botanical collections; nomenclature; agrostology investigations; studies of grasses, especially Swallen' s work on grasses for Julian Alfred Steyermark's Flora Guatemala; requests for photographs pertaining to publications; photographs of flora sent to Swallen by collections in the field; editing articles and requests to review papers; manuscripts; reports; requests for recommendations for job openings; recommendations and evaluations of colleagues for job positions; elections of officers to scientific societies; and requests for Swallen to seek election to office in scientific societies.
These records are the official files of Jason Richard Swallen while he was employed by the Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, 1936-1946, and the Department of Botany, United States National Museum, 1946-1964. Jason Richard Swallen (1903- ) was born in Alliance, Ohio. He received his A.B. from Ohio Wesleyan in 1924, and his M.S. from Kansas State College in 1925. Swallen accepted the position of junior botanist with the Bureau of Plant Industry in 1925 and became an assistant botanist in 1931 and an associate botanist in 1936 with the Bureau.
Swallen joined the United States National Museum in 1946 when he became associate curator, Division of Plants. Then the Division was reorganized into the Department of Botany in 1947, Swallen became curator of the Division of Grasses. In 1950, Swallen became head curator of the Department, and in 1964, chairman of the Department. At the same time he continued to maintain his title as curator of the Division of Grasses. Swallen resigned his positions in 1964 and became a research scientist with the Department of Botany. His ties with the Museum and the Department were severed during the following year.
Swallen's botanical interest was in the field of agrostology, particularly the taxonomy of grasses of South America.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 227, United States National Museum. Department of Botany, Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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