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Winona Hazel Welch papers

Identifier: MSD-1923-002

Collection Statement

This collection contains bound volumes, printed materials, biographical sketches, clippings, letters, a list of publications, applications, travel diaries, eight scrap books, ratings, letters from botanists in alphabetical order and programs. Some names of classmates at DePauw were noted in the description of the photographs in the album as well as some other subjects.


  • 1896 - 1990

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Copyright interests for this collection are held by DePauw University.

Biographical Sketch

Winona H. Welch was the first major student of Truman G. Yuncker, former chairman of the botany and bacteriology department. A native of Jasper County, she joined the DePauw University faculty in 1930 and succeeded Yuncker as chairman of the botany and bacteriology department in 1956. She taught general botany, ecology, morphology, anatomy, mycology, plant pathology, landscaping, spring flora and methods of teaching biology in high schools.

For her research she was acknowledged as a world authority on two families of mosses – the Fontinalaceae (water mosses) and Hookeriaceae (a tropical family) – Welch spearheaded the assembly of a 40,000 specimen collection of mosses and liverworts which she referred to as her "life’s savings." She was the author of two books, Mosses of Indiana and Monograph of the Fontinalaceae as well as numerous scientific articles. Although she remained interested in the "higher plants" throughout her career, she liked to say that she began to specialize in mosses and liverworts because she felt sorry for them as virtually no one else was studying them when she started her research.

She traveled to every state in the United States and all over Canada and Europe, to Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Mexico, Australia, and South Seas and the West Indies to complete her mosses and liverworts collection. That collection, known as the Yuncker Herbarium at DePauw university, was transferred to the New York Botanical Garden at her request in 1987. In her honor, the Botanical Garden devoted a special issue of its scientific journal, Brittonia, to chronicling her work.

She received her master’s degree from the University of Illinois and her Ph. D. from Indiana University. While at Illinois, the forces against a woman making a scientific career at the time were made clear to her when she applied for a teaching position at a university in Ohio. The reply informed her that not only was the university only looking for a man, but specifically "a man with a mustache."

Welch was struck speechless when she was named head of the botany and bacteriology department, and when DePauw conferred an honorary degree upon her in 1982, she "broke out in pimples, turned cold, and finally cried," according to Jeanne Goode’s biography in the Brittonia Festschrift.

In 1948-49, she served a the first woman president of the Indiana Academy of Science. She was a member and former national president of Sigma Delta Epsilon scientific organization.

Welch was a member of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society and former national president. She was also a member of the Botanical Society of America, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, American Bryological Society, Torrey Botanical Club and honorary life member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science Fellows.

She belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Alpha Lambda Delta and Mortar Board honor societies. As DePauw professor emerita of botany, Welsh continued her herbarium work until her eyesight failed her. Dr. Welch, who died on January 18, 1990 at the age of 93 at Putnam County Hospital, had resided at Asbury Towers in Greencastle since 1964.


4.88 Cubic Feet (13 document cases)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Audio Tapes - #51, #169, #360 Photograph album - DC 1691 (flat box) Photographs - DPU Photos Reprints - DC 434

Ashlyn Archer
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism Repository

Roy O. West Library
405 S. Indiana St.
Greencastle Indiana 46135 United States