Volunteer Profile: Dr. C. Mary Young

The success of the Connell Memorial Herbarium is due to many people who have donated their time and expertise. However, one person stands out: Mary Young is the herbarium’s most longstanding volunteer. Since 1975 she has spent countless hours in mounting, identifying and archiving plant specimens for the collection.

Born and educated in England, she has a B.Sc in zoology and botany and a PhD from London University. She met her future husband (Dr. Murray Young) in London and after some years, they settled in Fredericton where he taught history at UNB. They raised a family of three children in a beautiful home with a large garden filled with vegetables and native plants.

Mary concentrated on identifying plants in the herbarium’s special collections such as Dr. Taylor’s Arctic Study (1944), Dr. Wein’s Yukon and NWT Study (1972) and several other collections from Nova Scotia and PEI. For more on the challenging work with the Taylor Collection please see the previous Blog, posted June 29, 2016. She played an active role in the establishment of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick (an organization dedicated to the conservation of critical natural areas), serving as secretary, president, and past-president. With her interest in plant distribution and diversity, the conservation of plants was also of great importance. For her dedication to conservation and her role in the Connell Memorial Herbarium, Mary was recognized by an Honorary D.Sc. from UNB in 2016.

As a veteran of the herbarium, Mary knows a lot about its history and she wrote an excellent account in the booklet, “The Connell Memorial Herbarium, University of New Brunswick 1838-1985”. This document is reproduced on the CMH website under About/ History of the CMH.

Her interest in the historical aspect of the collection led her to research and write of our province’s early naturalists and botanists. Her book, “Nature’s Bounty: Four Centuries of Plant Exploration in New Brunswick” was published in 2015 by the UNB Library. The electronic version of this text is freely available from UNB: https://naturesbounty.lib.unb.ca/

Both of these publications have been illustrated with Mary’s botanical sketches and paintings. As an artist, self-taught, she has sharpened her observational skills in botany by drawing the native plants of New Brunswick.

As I write this, Mary still lives in her home surrounded by her lovely garden of perennials and native ferns. Equipped with a microscope, a dissecting kit, plant keys and access to online databases, Mary continues her work on plant identification from her home. She is currently identifying and annotating some sedges from the collection and is grateful for the online digital database and high-resolution images of the collection that help in the identification of New Brunswick plants.

This collection becomes more and more valuable as the data is available to anyone over the internet.”

Mary Young, email communication

Her thoughts on those giving their time as ‘Friends of the Herbarium’ reflect her appreciation for the many people who keep all the data, photos and specimens together:

“I think they are a remarkably dedicated group of people. It does not seem to matter whether it is field work, collecting specimens, or some routine lab job, they do it with alacrity and dedication.”

Mary Young, email communication

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 205 specimens collected by C. Mary Young.


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

Young, C. Mary. Nature’s Bounty: Four Centuries of Plant Exploration in New Brunswick. UNB Libraries, University of New Brunswick, 2015.

C.M. Young (personal communication, November 19, 2022)

Text: Susan Belfry. Illustrations: C. Mary Young. Photo: Roger Smith.

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

Collector’s Stories: George Upham Hay (1843-1913)

George Upham Hay, about 1910, © New Brunswick Museum

George Upham Hay was born in Norton Parish, New Brunswick on June 18th, 1843 to William Hay and Eliza Fahy. Hay’s father started out as a shoemaker and later became a farmer in Norton Parish. Hay went to local schools before becoming an apprentice in the printing trade. He worked alongside his brother for the St. Croix Herald, during a time of tension because of the American Civil War. This press was looted by a mob in December 1861. In the next month, Hay moved to Saint John to attend the Normal School and by 1867 he obtained his first-class teaching licence.

An article by James Fowler in the Stewart’s Quarterly in 1870 was titled, “Plea for the study of natural history,” and this may have peaked Hay’s interest in the subject. In the following year, Hay attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where he took courses in languages and botany. For a few years he worked as a reporter and night editor for the Saint John Daily News. In 1876, he returned to teaching and married Frances Annetta Hartt in Saint John, New Brunswick. By 1880, Hay was one of the leading members of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick. He was chair of its committee on botany for over 33 years, developed an herbarium and compiled catalogues of New Brunswick plants. Hay was also interested in marine algae and fungi. Hay taught until 1897, after which he focused on educational writing. He was president of prominent Canadian organizations: the Natural History Society of New Brunswick (1896-9), the Royal Society of Canada (1903-4), the Botanical Club of Canada (1904-6). He passed away in Saint John, New Brunswick on April 23rd, 1913 from heart failure.

“The Restigouche – with Notes Especially on its Flora” by G.U. Hay.
Bulletin of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick, 1906.

Written Works

He wrote many articles and books concerning botany, plants and history. Hay compiled a series of articles such as “Canadian History Readings,” but he also wrote textbooks of the histories of Canada and New Brunswick for school curriculum. Examples are, A History of New Brunswick: For Use in Public Schools. 1903 and Public School History of Canada, 1908.

As well as land plants, Hay published books on algae, “Marine Algae of New Brunswick,” and “Marine Algae of the Maritime Provinces.”

He wrote articles titled “Notes of a Wild Garden,” and “The Restigouche – with Notes Especially on its Flora.” for the Bulletin of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick and “John Goldie, Botanist” for the Royal Society of Canada.

By Jillian Richard, UNB 2017

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 3 specimens collected by G. U. Hay and the New Brunswick Museum holds approximately 1,460 specimens.


Stephen R. Clayden, “HAY, GEORGE UPHAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 31, 2017. http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hay_george_upham_14E.html.

New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia https://nble.lib.unb.ca/browse/h/george-upham-hay

Collector’s Stories: Loring Woart Bailey (1839-1925)

Specimen collected by L.W. Bailey in Fredericton in 1867.

Loring Woart Bailey (1839-1925)

L. W. Bailey was born in West Point, New York on September 28th, 1839 to Jacob Whitman Bailey and Maria Slaughter. His father was a professor of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy at the United States Military Academy, located in West Point. L.W. Bailey attended school in Maryland and Rhode Island previous to attending Harvard University and later on Brown University. He came to Kings College (UNB), in 1861 to take up the position of professor of chemistry and natural sciences after the death of his predecessor, James Robb. Two years later, he married Laurestine Marie Marshall d’Avray and they had seven children; five sons and two daughters.

While teaching at the university, Bailey took many trips around the province as well as in Maine. His 1864 article “Notes on the geology and botany of New Brunswick,” in the journal, The Canadian Naturalist, contains information from some of his trips as well as the names and location of what he found. When Bailey began teaching at the University of New Brunswick, he was responsible for teaching botany, chemistry, geology, physics, and zoology, but after 1900 he focused more on courses in biology and geology.

He was a very dedicated professor and taught at the University of New Brunswick for 46 years before retiring. After a long life, Bailey passed away at the age of 85. His final resting place is the Forest Hill Cemetery in Fredericton.

L. W. Bailey was not only the author of numerous articles, but textbooks as well. One textbook that he wrote was “Elementary Natural History: An Introduction to the Study of Minerals, Plants, and Animals with Special Reference to New Brunswick.” Clearly, it includes the subjects of minerals, plants, and animals, but it is also designed to cater to those who are not necessarily advanced scholars.

Natural History Textbook by L.W.Bailey, 1887

For further information regarding his life, refer to the book “Loring Woart Bailey: The Story of a Man of Science,” written by Joseph Whitman Bailey or to the Bailey Family collection as well as his own collection at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

    By Jillian Richard, UNB 2017

* The herbarium holds approximately 220 specimens collected by L.W. Bailey.

Collector’s Stories: James Robb (1815-1861)

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James Robb was born in Laurencekirk, Scotland on February 2nd, 1815.  He attended the University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh for medicine.  After graduation, he did not regularly practice medicine but came to Fredericton in 1837 for a position as professor of chemistry and natural history at King’s College (now University of New Brunswick).  He taught anatomy, botany, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, physiology, and zoology. He married Ellen Maria Coster, who was the daughter of the president of the college, on December 17th, 1840.During his time at King’s College Robb made many contributions to the museum he created at the college. He made many collecting trips in the province and was the first person in the province to attempt a systematic botanical collection.  Robb was a professor at the college for only 24 years, and died from pneumonia on April 2nd, 1861 at the age of 46.Further information regarding Robb, including a biography from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, can be found on the UNB Libraries website and within the UNB Libraries as well as on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website.

Written Works

Robb wrote a book called “Agricultural Progress: An Outline of the Course of Improvement in Agriculture Considered as a Business, an Art, and a Science, with Special Reference to New Brunswick.” This book discusses land use, agriculture, land tenure and it is 71 pages long. A copy of this book can be found online on the UNB libraries website.

Robb also delivered many orations to the college council during his time as a professor at the college. Copies of these can be found in the James Robb folder, on the UNB Libraries website, and within the UNB Libraries. There is also a letter of correspondence between Robb and Asa Gray located in the James Robb folder.

By Jillian Richard, UNB 2017

*The Herbarium holds approximately 450 specimens  collected by J. Robb.

Collector’s Stories: James Fowler

James Fowler (1829-1923)

Background Information

James Fowler (originally Fowlie) was born in Bartibog, New Brunswick on July 16th, 1829 to George Fowlie and Jane McKnight. It is unknown when or why James changed his last name from Fowlie to Fowler. He grew up on a farm with a gristmill and a sawmill. His father died when he was only 14 and it would have been expected of him to take over his father’s job, but his mother encouraged him to go to school instead. Following that he took theological studies in Halifax at the Free Church College. After that he taught for a short time before returning home where he was ordained in 1857. He married a woman named Mary Ann McLeod on July 1st, 1858. They had two daughters. He moved around to a few different parishes, and during this time he was also very interested in natural history. He was interested in conchology, geology, meteorology, and particularly in systematic botany. He became the minister at a rural congregation that did not have much to offer so that he could study the flora in that area and he later studied flora from around the province. In 1876, he resigned his pastorate and following that he made the first catalogue of New Brunswick vascular plants and bryophytes. In 1880, 4he left New Brunswick and went to Kingston, Ontario to assume the position of lecturer in natural science, librarian, and curator of the museum at the Queen’s College located there. He taught geology, botany, and zoology. After eleven years at the Queen’s College, he was promoted to professor. In 1894, different courses were created and some were moved to other locations, so Fowler became the first full-time professor of botany. While at Queen’s College, Fowler developed a huge herbarium with approximately 50,000 specimens with 15,000 different species by the time of his retirement in 1907. There are 489 of his specimens located at the University of New Brunswick Herbarium. He passed away in Kingston, Ontario on January 11th, 1923 at the age of 93.

Further information, including a biography from the Canadian Dictionary of Biography, regarding James Fowler can be found in the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website.

Written Works

As previously mentioned, after resigning, Fowler started working on cataloguing New Brunswick’s plants. Fowler published many different lists of plants found in New Brunswick. Three lists pertaining to New Brunswick plants,  a document containing correspondence letters between Asa Gray and Fowler and a book called, “Flora of Saint Andrews,” are held in the herbarium.

* The Herbarium holds approximately 500 specimens collected by J. Fowler.

By Jillian Richards, 2017

Dr. A.R.A.Taylor’s 1944 Arctic Collection

You might think that working in a herbarium, a place crammed full of dead plants, would be a bit dull, but the stories that accompany those plants can be really interesting.  Each collection was made by an explorer and each specimen caught that person’s eye for a reason.  My favourite part of working in the herbarium is solving the puzzles that come up from time to time.  One of our recent accomplishments has been putting together the bits and pieces of information we had about a collection that had been stored in the herbarium for many years.

We had boxes and boxes of pressed arctic specimens, cryptically labelled with abbreviations and dating from 1944.  The labels were mainly scraps of paper with a date, some roman numerals and the initials A.R.A.T.  Some were identified, some were partially identified and some were unknown species.   We knew who A.R.A.T. was: Dr. A.R.A. Taylor had taught biology at UNB from 1946 to 1987.    He had been responsible for “resurrecting” the herbarium from many years in storage in the Old Arts Building when he started here (Young, 1986).   The arctic plants turned out to be part of his personal collection, picked up incidentally during a Geodetic Survey of Canada expedition led by T.H. Manning along the northeast coast of Hudson Bay.  Taylor collected, pressed and dried approximately 800 plants on that trip!

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In 2010 volunteer David Smith started by tallying all of the information he could glean from the scraps of paper.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth Mills and some students began trying to track down more information about the expedition. They eventually found T.H.Manning’s account of the trip published in “Explorations on the East Coast of Hudson Bay” (Manning, T.H. 1947).   From this and some partial maps, we generated an itinerary of their travels and linked that to the site numbers and locale details found on the labels.

Dr. Mary Young has spent the past 5 years resourcefully working her way through the collection, confirming the identities of the specimens, or, in fact, identifying them from scratch.  This was generally not an easy task, given that the specimens were over 68 years old!  Some were in quite rough shape and some had disintegrated entirely.   The specimens were then mounted and databased and filed into our main collection.   Thanks to all of these efforts, this collection has found a home in the Herbarium and will soon be available to researchers around the world, contributing to our ecological knowledge of the arctic.