Collector’s Stories: Katharine M. Connell (1899-1973)

Dr. Katharine M. Connell

Dr. Katharine M. Connell (née Jarvis) was born in Toronto in 1899, one of five children to Edward W. Jarvis and Kate Agnes Harris. Mr. Jarvis worked with the Bank of Montreal and moved his family around Ontario and the Maritimes. In 1921, Katharine received a BA (Chemistry) from UNB and a PhD in 1928, at the University of Michigan.

She married Mr. Connell, a forest ecologist, (Yale, U of T) and eventually they settled near his family home in Woodstock, New Brunswick. They had four children. 1

In 1967, to mark Canada’s Centennial year, Dr. Katharine Connell decided to make a collection of the plants of Carleton County. She collected approximately one thousand plants, which were pressed and mounted with detailed documentation on herbarium sheets.2

Needing some assistance with collecting the plants, Jane Hadley (née Speer) spent two summers helping Dr. Connell collect and press plants.

“We collected plants in the afternoon and then went to her house for pressing. Areas with potential for plants were scouted out beforehand and she would bring a basket and a camera. The entire plant was collected and if she thought it was a rare plant – she would only take photographs. The plants were carefully laid out between newspaper and blotting sheets along with their identification cards and dried in plant presses. We mounted the specimens on the dining room table. She was very intelligent and always learning new things. She was patient, kind and wanted to share her knowledge of plants with others.“ 3

Katharine donated her plant collection to the UNB Herbarium in 1972. She died in 1973 and the UNB Herbarium was renamed the Connell Memorial Herbarium in 1976. A dedication plaque and a photograph of Katharine are located outside Room 17, Bailey Hall, UNB. The plaque inscription reads:

The University of New Brunswick Connell Memorial Herbarium. Dr. Katharine M. Connell, BA, MA, PhD. 1899-1973.

Dr. Connell’s collection of the plants of Carleton County, New Brunswick were housed in this herbarium by her family as a permanent tribute to an outstanding mother, educator and botanist. The University of New Brunswick Herbarium was renamed in her honor on this date October 13, 1976.

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 794 specimens collected by Katharine M. Connell.

By C. Susan Belfry, 2022


1 Verbal communication with Dr. Lucy Dyer (daughter) and Dr. Mark Connell (son), Aug-Sept, 2022.

2. Young, C. Mary. The Connell Memorial Herbarium, 1838-1985. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1986.

3 Verbal communication with Jane Hadley, Sept. 2022


Author: UNB Herbarium

Vascular Plant Collection at University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick

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