"Did the people remember Dr. [Augustine] Henry? Did they know the K'ung-tung (local name of Davidia)? To these and similar questions they pleasantly answered in the affirmative. Would someone guide me to the tree? Certainly!" Recalling E. H. Wilson's search for the dove tree in China in 1899.
Torreya Sargentii China
Alternate Title: Branch showing seeds
Photograph by Huan-yung Chi’en (1895-?) and Hsen Hsu Hu (1894-1979)
November 20, 1925
Hsen-Hsu Hu was born in Xinjian, Jiangxi Province the third child of a government official and his wife. He graduated from high school in 1909 and then took courses at the Metropolitan College of Peking. He was selected in 1912 to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with honors in 1916 with a bachelor’s degree in botany. Before leaving to begin his studies in America, Hu married Rongfen Wang (1893-1926).
Upon returning to China in 1917, Hu began his academic career. He was appointed Professor of Forestry at the Nanjing Teachers College in 1918 and later Professor of Botany when the College became part of National Southeastern University in 1922. Along with teaching, and botanizing in Jiangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces, Hu was busy translating books and articles into Chinese for the use of his students and colleagues.
Hu began to send specimens to the Arnold Arboretum in 1920, a common practice at the time for a botanist to introduce themselves, and in 1923 he came to Harvard to study with John George Jack, matriculating through the Bussey Institution. In 1925, with the acceptance of his dissertation, Synopsis of Chinese Genera of Phanerogams, with Descriptions of Representative Species, Hu became the first Chinese student to receive a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University.
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