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300 Years of Growth

William Stephens (1724/1733)

1728William Stephens replaced Henry Nicholson as the second post holder of the lectureship in Botany but the date of his appointment is unclear (1724 or 1725). Stephens was born in 1696. He was schooled in Dublin and read natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow in 1715. The following year he went to Leiden to study medicine and was awarded his doctorate on 15 July 1718. He returned to Dublin where he was awarded the degrees of both Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine from Trinity in 1724. He was elected to College Fellowship in 1728 – he had already acquired Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1718. Stephens drew up a catalogue of the plants in the College’s Physic Garden in 1726 which ran to over 500 taxa. His catalogue was tabled at a meeting of the Botanical Society of London on 22nd October 1726. In 1727 he published his lecture notes under the title Botanical Elements: Published for the use of the Botany School in the University of Dublin; he stated that he published it 'to avoid the trouble of dictating yearly so many pages to the students of Botany, it being impossible to expect, that they should acquire a distinct and permanent knowledge of the method of botany, by a bare attendance upon one lecture without something farther to assist their memories'. In 1732 the lecturer in Chemistry, William Smyth, died and on 17 February 1733 William Stephens replaced him, thus vacating the Botany position. William Stephens died in 1761.



E. C. Nelson (1982) The influence of Leiden on botany in Dublin in the early eighteenth century. Huntia, 4, 133-146.



Last updated 24 February 2011 by