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


The project to make the W. S. Clark and D. P. Penhallow specimens from the University of Massachusetts Herbarium available on-line was the joint effort of Lita D’Acunto and Karen B. Searcy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and David Boufford, Harvard University Herbaria. Specimens were scanned at 600 DPI using the flatbed scanner in the Biology Computer Resource Center. Four image sizes were created: thumbnail, portrait, full, and original. For most purposes, the full size image should give good resolution. The high resolution, original images, are very large and take a long time to download. The silhouette at the bottom of the page is from the William Smith Clark Memorial at the University of Massachusetts. For more information please contact Tristram Seidler, Curator University of Massachusetts, Amherst Herbarium (MASS) tseidler@bio.umass.edu.

We thank Steven D. Brewer and Tom Hoogendyk, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for help in developing the website. We also thank Steve Brewer for his enthusiasm and support throughout the project. Robert Cox and the staff of the University of Massachusetts Special Collection and University Archives helped find material relating to Clark’s year in Sapporo. We also thank the Harvard University Herbaria for access to their collections to look for specimens collected in Japan by W. S. Clark and D. P. Penhallow between 1876 and 1877.