Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RAVENEL, Henry William, botanist, born in St. John's parish, Berkeley, South Carolina, 19 May, 1814; died in Aiken, South Carolina, 17 July, 1887. He was graduated at South Carolina college in 1832, and settled in St. Johns, where he became a planter. In 1853 he removed to Aiken, South Carolina, and there he spent the remainder of his life. As a young man he evinced a fondness for natural history, and he pursued studies in botany with enthusiasm throughout his long life. He not only studied critically the phaenogams of South Carolina, but also extended his researches among the mosses, lichens, algae, and fungi. Mr. Ravenel discovered a large number of new species of cryptogams, besides a few new phaenogams. With the exception of the Reverend Moses A. Curtis, he was the only American that knew specifically the fungi of the United States, and it is doubtful whether any other botanist has ever covered so wide a range of plants. In 1869 he was appointed botanist of the government commission that was sent to Texas to investigate the cattle-disease, and at the time of his death he was botanist to the department of agriculture of South Carolina. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by the University of North Carolina in 1886, and he was a member of various scientific societies in the United States and Europe. His name is perpetuated in the genus Ravenelia of the Uredinew, a genus so peculiar in its character that it is not probable that it will ever be reduced to a synonym, also by many species of crypto-gains that have been named in his honor as their discoverer. Mr. Ravenel was agricultural editor of the "Weekly News and Courier," and, in addition to his botanical papers, he published "Fungi Caroliniani Exsiccati" (5 vols., Charleston, 1853-'60), and, with Mordecai C. Cooke, of London, "Fungi Americani Exsiccati " (8 vols., 1878-'82).
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