William S. Clark and David P. Penhallow - Collections from Sapporo Japan 1876-1877

The University of Massachusetts Herbarium (MASS) has eighty vascular plant specimens collected in Sapporo between 1876 and 1877. Sixty-six of the specimens were collected personally by William S. Clark, and fourteen were collected by David P. Penhallow. The specimens have been scanned, and the images are available in "Specimen Images" on this website. The nomenclature was reviewed and the specimens annotated by Dr. David Boufford, a Senior Research Scientist at Harvard University and a specialist in Japanese flora.

William Smith Clark, third president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (later the University of Massachusetts) helped establish Sapporo Agricultural College (SAC), now Hokkaido University. He was President of SAC between August 1876 and mid-April 1877, during which time he taught classes and worked on the new College’s curriculum. In traveling to Japan he was accompanied by David P. Penhallow and William Wheeler, and later was joined by William Penn Brooks. Clark left a lasting legacy in Japan.

Clark had a strong interest in botany and in collecting. He sent seeds of Japanese plants home to Amherst, MA, and to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. On field trips to the countryside around Sapporo with students and colleagues, Clark collected and dried botanical specimens. At least 166 plant specimens were collected by Clark and his colleagues and brought back to the United States, where they were identified by Asa Gray a well known botanist at Harvard University. He also collected 43 species of lichens that were identified by lichen expert Edward Tuckerman of Amherst College. Prior to returning the specimens to Sapporo Agricultural College in 1878, lists of the plants and lichens were made by Atherton Clark, William S. Clark’s oldest son. Duplicates of a few specimens were retained by Asa Gray, and now are in the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University.

Clark’s specimens can be identified by printed labels at the top that say, “HERB. MASS. AG’L. EXP. STATION”, and “Sapporo, Japan 1876-7, Clark” at the bottom. Some of the labels were fading beyond readability, and so they have been enhanced electronically. The specimens collected in Japan by David P. Penhallow were mounted and labeled in Amherst by Atherton Clark.

Authored by Karen B. Searcy and Lita D'Acunto May 2009