August 15, 1796 - March 10, 1873
Election Year: 1863
Scientific Discipline: Plant Biology
Membership Type: Member
A charter member of the National Academy of Sciences, botanist John Torrey made contributions to the cataloging of flora in the mid-Atlantic region and the American West and was among the first botanists to catalog plants on a modern scientific basis, using the natural system developed in Europe by A. L. de Jussieu. He wrote extensively on orchids and sedges. Trained as a doctor, Torrey left the practice of medicine for a career in academia, teaching at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now Columbia University Medical School). Torrey served as New York State botanist and was a founder of the New York Lyceum of Natural History.