She graduated from what is now Hunter College in New York City. She contributed to our knowledge of mosses and was the unofficial curator of mosses at Columbia College. She published 346 scientific papers between 1881 and 1930, an impressive amount for any scientist. She is credited with being the first person to suggest the establishment of the New York Botanical Gardens. In her later years she participated in the founding of the Wild Flower Preservation Society of America, even helping to push through conservation measures in the New York legislature. Fifteen species of plants are named for her.
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