About the Collection

The Perry Legacy (1910-1949?)

The herbarium at Acadia began in 1910 as an initial gift from the well-respected New Brunswick educator and naturalist George U. Hay to the first (and recently-appointed) professor of biology at Acadia, Dr. Horace G. Perry. Included in this collection were a few plants collected by Rev. James Fowler of New Brunswick before he went to Queen's University to become only the second professor of Natural History there. These first specimens were collected between 1868 and 1880 and represent some of the oldest in the herbarium.

Subsequently, in these early years, the additions were made chiefly through the work of Dr. Perry and his students. The collection grew to 6,000 which also included a number of ground-breaking specimens from the Gray Herbarium Expeditions to Nova Scotia in 1920 and 1921, led by Merritt Lyndon Fernald, an eminent Harvard University professor and botanist. 

The Roscoe and Banks Legacy (1926-1940)

Of the specimens above the 6000 count, the majority have been added by the work of Dr. Muriel V. Roscoe and her students from 1928-1940 and Dr. H. P. Banks and his students from 1940-1946?.

Dr. Muriel V. Roscoe (B.A’18. Hon ’48) an eminent scholar and educator who influenced successive generations to major scientific accomplishments. Dr. Roscoe taught in the Biology Department at Acadia for 14 years beginning in 1926 and later joined the Botany Department at McGill University where she served as chair for many years.

In 1946 a large collection was being assembled by Mr. David Erskine, who catalogued the flora of Wolfville and vicinity. 

The Smith Legacy (1947-1975)

The Hillsboro, Inverness County native Dr. Ernest C. Smith's tenure at Acadia began in 1947, and in his nearly 30 years of service the number of specimens grew from 20,000 sheets to an impressive 70,000. In 1970 and in recognition of his unparalleled contributions, Acadia University's Board of Governors announced that the department's large collection of plants would be named the E.C. Smith Herbarium.

The Vander Kloet Legacy (1972-2011)

Dr. Sam Vander Kloet began his teaching career in the Biology Department of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in 1972. In addition to his professorial duties, he was also Curator of the E.C. Smith Herbarium and took on the added responsibility and challenge of keeping the small, dilapidated greenhouse in back of Patterson Hall (then home of the Biology Department) in working order. This was where he kept his expanding research collection of living blueberry plants gathered during numerous forays that spanned the globe from Newfoundland to Central America and southeast Asia, and where he conducted his germination and pollination experiments. 

The Newell Legacy (1979-2016)

Ruth Newell and staff led the herbarium into the 21st century, tackling massive projects like the digitization of tens of thousands of specimens for sharing online on a global scale. Along the way, Ruth collected well over a thousand new specimens, many of high conservation value.

Now, the E.C. Smith Herbarium contains over 200,000 specimens, including vascular plants, bryophytes, and fungi. It is the largest herbarium in Atlantic Canada and the first Canadian herbarium to have digital database with scanned images of the collection.