Great NebraskaNaturalists and Scientists
Introduction to Charles Bessey
Education however, was Bessey’s passion. He was “…one of the greatest teachers this country has ever had. There may be other botanists as famous as Dr. Bessey, but there is no botanist who has had the influence as a teacher that he has had.”  In 1915 Dean of the University of Nebraska’s Agricultural College, and future Chancellor Edgar Albert Burnett remarked upon Bessey’s passing: “The Doctor’s influence for these thirty odd years has been so great that no man can fill his place.”  University of Nebraska Paleontologist Erwin Hinckley Barbour remarked: “He has been working himself to death giving nine lectures a week to the three divisions of one class where three would have done.” 
Bessey’s first student, and eminent lawyer Roscoe Pound, also thought quite highly of his former mentor, reflecting.
Following Bessey’s death, Pound recorded: “The loss to Nebraska is indeed irreparable and it is hard for me to think of putting my head inside the door of Nebraska Hall again with Dr. Bessey gone.”  Another student, Patrick Joseph O’Gara, spoke similarly of Charles Bessey: “No one can feel more deeply the loss of Dr. Bessey from the scientific world than I.” 
From an obscure birth in a small Ohio farm community to world renown and acclaim for scientific achievement, Charles Edwin Bessey, over the span of his life, has become one of Nebraska’s great scientists.
Dean, Herbert J. Webber, letter to Raymond John Pool, Mar. 16, 1915, RJPP, B1F1, ASCUNL. [back]
Edgar Albert Burnett, letter to S.C. Bassett, Mar. 1, 1915, EABP, Letterpress Book, B14F1, ASCUNL. [back]
Erwin Hinckley Barbour, letter to Nathan Roscoe Pound, Frederic Edward and Edith Gertrude Schwartz Clements, ca., Feb. 1915, EHBP, Archives UNSM, F: O’Gara, Patrick Joseph. [back]
Nathan Roscoe Pound, letter to Erwin Hinckley Barbour, Feb. 13, 1915, Erwin H. Barbour, Papers, University of Nebraska State Museum, Folder: O’Gara, Patrick Joseph. [back]
Nathan Roscoe Pound, letter to Erwin Hinckley Barbour, Mar. 3, 1915, EHBP, Archives UNSM, Folder: O’Gara, Patrick Joseph. [back]
Patrick Joseph O’Gara, letter to Erwin Hinckley Barbour, Feb. 15, 1915, EHBP, Archives UNSM, Folder: O’Gara, Patrick Joseph. [back]