John Merle Coulter
John Merle Coulter served as the Professor of Botany at the University of Chicago from 1896 -1925. Born in Ningpo, China, he started his career as an assistant geologist on the Hayden Survey of the newly created Yellowstone National Park and began then collecting plants. Hayden was so impressed with Coulter's collections that he immediately made him the botanist of the Survey. While studying his collections in Washington, Coulter came into contact with Asa Gray, the first man to hold a professorship of Botany in the United States at the newly formed University of Michigan in 1838. The meeting was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Coulter became Gray's most distinguished pupil and continued Gray's work by writing the sixth edition of the famous Gray's manual.
Professor Chamberlain believed Coulter's greatest influence was not through his books and papers, although the books and papers were numerous and good, but through the large number of students who came to his classes. No other botanist in America ever had so many students who won their way to the highest botanical positions. Many of these students contributed to a fund for the Coulter Fellowship in Botany, which enabled many students to do their research work under the most favorable conditions.