Chase, Agnes

Chase, Agnes (b. Mary Agnes Meara)

(1869–1963) botanist, agrostologist; born in Iroquois County, Ill. Her early formal education was limited. After her one-year marriage ended with her husband's untimely death (1889), she worked at various jobs to pay his debts. She began cataloging her own collection of wildflowers in 1897; she worked at the Field Museum of Natural History (1901–03), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1903–39), and the Smithsonian Institution (1939–49). An ardent suffragette, she was twice jailed for her protests (1915, 1918) and forcibly fed. Her long association (1905–36) with Albert S. Hitchcock resulted in their collaborating on several books and eventually led to her updating his work, Manual of the Grasses of the United States (1951). She collected over 12,000 sets of plants, most of them grasses, and published a revised index of grass species (3 vols. 1962).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.