Great Nebraska

Naturalists and Scientists

Edith Clements

Edith Gertrude Schwartz Clements studied German languages at the University of Nebraska and graduated with an A.B. in 1898. Developing her interesting in botany, in 1906 Clements became the first woman to receive her Ph.D. in that subject at the University of Nebraska. Her career included teaching botany, collecting plant specimens, and illustration work. After 1917, Clements worked for Carnegie Institute of Washington, D.C. and taught at the Alpine Laboratory at Pikes Peak, Colorado.

On May 30, 1899, Edith married Frederic Clements, with whom she attended the University of Nebraska, studied, researched, and wrote on botany. Born in Albany, New York, in 1874, Clements grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. She died in California in 1871.

Letters from Germany, 1911

These handwritten letters, written by Edith Clements to her mother, provide wonderful documentation of the First International Phytogeographic Excursion (IPE) in Germany, Switzerland, and England in 1911. Edith, along with her husband, Frederic Clements, traveled with academic colleagues from institutions representing each country. Among those mentioned in the letters are Henry C. and Elizabeth Cowles, Oscar Drude, Paul Graebner, C.A.M. Lindman, Jean Massart, C. H. Ostenfeld, Eduard Rübel, G. Claridge Druce, and Carl Schröter. Edith writes about travel methods, such as trips on the the S.S. Lapland and S.S. Pretoria, food, the places visited and the discoveries made along the way. The letters are from the Nebraska State Historical Society (RG3158AM).