This Week in History
A Versatile Researcher
For the week of Monday February 18, 2008
On February 19, 1864, William Francis Ganong was born in Carleton (now West Saint John), New Brunswick. He is recognized as one of the province’s most distinguished scholars, and he conducted extensive and significant research in such diverse fields as botany, linguistics, history and cartography.
In 1894, he began his 38-year career as a botany professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, until his retirement in 1932. He also became the director of the college’s Botanical Garden.
From a very young age Ganong was an avid explorer of New Brunswick’s rivers and coastal areas. He was also interested in studying the province’s fauna and flora. His great love for New Brunswick led him to explore its little–known areas, generally by canoe. At times he set out to carry out his research alone, but at other times he was joined by a number of researchers conducting research in their respective fields. Ganong spent all of his summers exploring and mapping various regions of his native province.
Ganong lived in the United States for most of his life, but died at his summer home in Saint John, New Brunswick, on September 7, 1941. William Francis Ganong was designated a National Historic Person in 1945. Nicolas Denys and Samuel de Champlain were also designated National Historic Persons of Canada.
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