"Margery commented that she was never afraid of snakes during her travels because they made so much noise cutting through the jungle with their machetes that they scared the snakes away."
July 5, 1985
On this day, botanist and Northwestern University professor Margery Claire Carlson died.
In 1916, Margery was the first woman to major in botany at Northwestern.
Later, she earned a Ph.D. in botany and became the first full-time female professor at Northwestern.
During the 1930s, she was featured in many newspapers for her work with orchids.
One popular article from 1936 said that Margery was working on making orchids possible to grow in the "average man's garden."
Two years later, another article shared her unique approach to raising orchids in bottles.
Margery trialed different ways of feeding the orchids, growing them in specific food-based cultures like carrots, beets, tobacco, sugar, or beef extracts.
Margery and her partner Kate Staley went on several expeditions together to South and Central America.
Margery's obituary said the two were used to traveling "by an ox, truck, or airplane through and over dense jungles."
Margery was always on the lookout for orchids and other rare species.
In 1948, she gathered over 4,000 specimens and discovered 15 new plant species on one expedition alone.
Margery commented that she was never afraid of snakes during her travels because they made so much noise cutting through the jungle with their machetes that they scared the snakes away.
Margery was born and raised in Illinois.
Her parents, John and Nellie, helped chart her destiny; they named her after the Marguerite Daisy.