Ethel Z. Bailey

(1889 - 1983)

Ethel Zoe Bailey, the younger daughter of Liberty Hyde Bailey, had a long and distinguished career in botany and horticulture.  For that, she received the George Robert White Medal in 1967 from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Smith College Medal in 1970. 

Ethel Z. Bailey was born on November 17, 1889 in Ithaca, New York. She attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, graduating in 1911 with an A. B. in Zoology. Shortly thereafter, she began working with her father, L. H. Bailey,  at Cornell University as a collaborator and editor. Miss Bailey assisted with some of the botanical references her father wrote, such as the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture and the Manual of Cultivated Plants.  In addition, she co-authored Hortus and Hortus Second.

Miss Bailey accompanied her father on plant collecting trips to several Latin American countries, as well as China and Japan.  She was the Bailey Hortorium's first Herbarium Curator from 1935 until 1957, when she retired from Cornell University.  She continued to volunteer on a daily basis at the Hortorium, until her death in 1983.  Still driving herself to and from work, Miss Bailey had reached the auspicious age of 93.  Driving had always been an important part of Miss Bailey's life.  She was the first woman in Ithaca to receive a chauffeur's (driver's) license.

In addition to her many duties working for her father and the Hortorium, Miss Bailey maintained a collection of seed and nursery catalogues received from all over the world.   She used this collection to retrieve information on cultivated plant material and recorded it on 3 x 5 index cards.  This "master index" was the basis for several of the reference works written by her father.  The catalogue collection was later named in her honor.

For further information, please see:

Bates, D. M. 1989. Ethel Zoe Bailey, 1889-1983. Baileya 23(1) pp.1-4.

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