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Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award

The Society annually presents this Award in memory of Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew’s untiring service to the public, to plant systematics, and to this organization.

This award is presented to individuals who have also distinguished themselves in professional and public service that advances our knowledge and appreciation of the world of plants and their scientific, cultural, and aesthetic values, and/or exceptional service to the society.


Award Recipient

Dr. Zack E. Murrell
Zack E. Murrell

Appalachian State University

This year’s recipient, Dr. Zack E. Murrell, is professor of Biology at Appalachian State University and is currently department chair for Biology. During his years at ASU, he has taught many students and directed numerous graduate students. He has organized and led field trips in the southern Appalachian region and is curator of the ASU herbarium (abbreviation BOON). His research interests include the systematics of Cornus, Spirea, and Hexastylis. Relative to floristics, he has completed research on high peaks in the southern Appalachians. Dr. Murrell has at least 24 peer reviewed publications in a variety of journals, including Castanea.

A supporting letter included the comment that early in his career he “earned the reputation for being bright, hard-working, and undeterred by obstacles, …” A second letter stated that Dr. Murrell’s “professional and personal life has been dedicated to the study of plant life around the southern Appalachian Mountains, to educate people of all ages, and far-reaching service.”

Relative to service, Dr. Murrell has been active in both SABS and the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB). For SABS, Zack served on the symposium committee and organized a symposium as part of an ASB meeting in 1999 on the speciation and biogeography of southeastern endemics. This was published with his editorial assistance in an issue of Castanea (volume 66, issues 1–2). This is just one of 11 symposia that he has organized for ASB meetings. Zack also served on the field trip committee and organized a joint trip with the New England Botanical Club to Valle Cruces, North Carolina. He served as president of SABS from 2002–2003. Dr. Murrell’s service to ASB is also extensive, including service as president.

Possibly Dr. Murrell’s greatest contribution to botany has been in organizing herbaria of the southeast to work together. A major accomplishment was in developing National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to establish and enhance the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, better known as SERNEC. This now includes a consortium of over 200 herbaria in 14 states that share botanical ideas and plant collection information. Included as part of SERNEC has been the establishment of a website with an embedded database of herbarium specimen scans to allow botanists to search collections of the region. He was one of the founding individuals in the Society of Herbarium Curators (SHC).

In summary, a letter of support stated: “a genuine trail blazer … positive outlook and talent in managing and motivating people.” So, it is with great honor that the Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award for 2021 is presented to Dr. Zack Murrell.

—Charles N. Horn,
Biology Program, Newberry College,
Chair, Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award Committee

Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew

Elizabeth Bartholomew Award
Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew (1912-1985) served as the Secretary of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club from 1946 until 1981. Her life was devoted to plants, and she transferred her interest in plants and nature to students of all ages and walks of life.

Nominate a Candidate for the Bartholomew Award

Requirements and Information
  1. Nominations must be submitted by Feb 1st.
  2. Current Members of SABS Executive Council or the Bartholomew Award Committee are not eligible.
  3. This award will not be presented posthumously or jointly.
  4. Use the form below to nominate a colleague now so you don’t forget before Feb 1st!

Elizabeth Anne Bartholomew Award Committee

Ron Lance

Ron Lance

North American Land Trust

Dr. Wendy Zomlefer

Wendy Zomlefer

University of Georgia

Zack Murrell

Appalachian State University

Learn more about the Bartholomew Award

  • 2021 — Zack Murrell
  • 2020 — Wendy Zomlefer
  • 2019 — Mike Held
  • 2018 — no award given
  • 2017 — Conley McMullen
  • 2016 — Lytton Musselman
  • 2015 — Patricia Cox
  • 2014 — Thomas Wentworth
  • 2013 — Stewart Ware
  • 2012 — Audrey Mellichamp
  • 2011 — Charles N. Horn
  • 2010 —  Don Windler
  • 2009 – Charlie Williams
  • 2008 – Michael J. Baranski
  • 2007 – Angus K. Gholson, Jr.
  • 2006 – Joe E. Winstead
  • 2005 – Gary Dillard
  • 2004 – W. Eugene Wofford
  • 2003 – no award
  • 2002 – William H. Martin
  • 2001 – R. Dale Thomas
  • 2000 – C. Ritchie Bell
  • 1999 – Dan Evans
  • 1998 – J. Dan Pittillo
  • 1997 – Donna M. E. Ware
  • 1996 – John M. Herr, Jr.
  • 1995 – James F. Matthews
  • 1994 – James W. Hardin
  • 1993 – Roy B. Clarkson
  • 1992 – Edward E. C. Clebsch
  • 1991 – Albert E. Radford
  • 1990 – Wilbur H. Duncan
  • 1989 – Aaron J. Sharp

She was born June 14, 1912, in Wheeling, West Virginia, the daughter of Henry and Minnie Bartholomew and studied in Wheeling schools, graduating from high school in the spring of 1930. She entered West Virginia University that fall, as a student in education, but interested in natural history. She had been a Girl Scout and had enjoyed fieldwork in summer camp, observing flowers, trees, birds, and other living things.

She graduated from the University in 1934 but continued as a master’s candidate, winning by 1936 a teacher’s certificate and a master’s degree in botany. After a year or two as a part-time teacher, she returned to the University botany department in 1938 as secretary, and, in one capacity or another, has been there ever since.

During these more than four decades she never sought prestige for herself nor increased financial remuneration. Although serving at first as departmental secretary, then as herbarium curator, never teaching a formal course, she was intensely interested in students and their welfare. And students apparently found her ears and heart often more open and more sympathetic to their problems than were their own advisers. Returning alumni frequently visited her before seeing the head of the department or their former teachers.

It was during these early years that, without additional remuneration, she assumed the extra task of maintaining the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club’s mailing lists and seeing to it that the journals got in the mail. Presidents and treasurers of the Club came and went-the secretary seemed to go on forever. In a way it was a thankless job, because the members expected it was going to be done-without it the Club would soon have expired.

It is, therefore, highly appropriate that at last we take time to express our appreciation for her work and it is also, perhaps, appropriate that I serve as spokesman for the Club, because, for most of these years, I was editor of the journal, and, for many of the years, Chairman of the department that employed her. It is a great pleasure to offer these words of tribute.

She has now, inevitably, passed the age of retirement and draws a pension rather than a salary, but continues her work with the Club the same as before without additional remuneration. So dependent, really, is the Club’s membership upon her work, that it is frightening to speculate what will happen when she is finally unable to do it.

These membership routines have, however, been only a relatively small portion of her activities. She has for years served in somewhat the same capacity for the West Virginia Academy of Science with respect to its own membership list and the mailing of its own journal. Academy members owe her the same debt of gratitude for the unpaid work she does for them, also.

Although caring for the University’s collection of dried plants for many years, she always maintained a greater interest in living things, and was an inspirational leader for young people in field trips, much sought throughout the State of West Virginia (and in other States, too) as a natural history guide. She never wrote a book and very few technical papers but she lives in the hearts of hundreds of people who have worked with her, and have known her as Betty.

I have tried to express my appreciation to her through the years, personally and informally, and it gives me great pleasure at this time to be saying the same things more formally and speaking for hundreds of people. We are grateful for all you have done for us, Betty, and we wish you well for years to come. You have left footprints in the sands of time that will never be erased.

~Earl L. Core
Reprinted from Castanea 41(1): 1-3 (1981)