Arthur G. Vestal Papers, 1899-1964
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Brief Description:

Papers of Arthur Gibson Vestal '11 (1888-1964), professor Botany (1929-57) and Wanda Pfeiffer Vestal (1882-1969), instructor of Botany (1944-45), including correspondence, photographs, course and lecture notes, manuscripts and publications concerning graduate study and botany field trips at the University of Chicago (1906-16), undergraduate life at Illinois (1909-11), expense records of a faculty family at Eastern Illinois (1916-20) and Stanford (1920-29), biology at Stanford (1920-27), botany field work and summer teaching in Colorado and neighboring states (1922-30), California grasslands research, plant community investigation methods and family matters, and photocopies of correspondence related to service as the Ecological Society of America Secretary (1928-42).

The series contains files on botany field trips (1929-60), departmental correspondence (1950-58) and student papers (1925, 1930, 1935-39, 1950-52).

Correspondents include Charles C. Adams, Henry C. Cowles, Max M. Ellis, Henry A. Gleason, Roland M. Harper and A.G. Tansley.

Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at]
Record Series Number: 15/4/24
Created by: Vestal, Arthur Gibson (1888-1964)
Volume: 2.9 cubic feet
Acquired: 3/21/1969; 4/5/74; 6/22/79; 9/23/2014
More information is available at
Arrangement: Chronological.
Biographical Note for Vestal, Arthur Gibson (1888-1964) :

Arthur Gibson Vestal (1888-1964) was professor of botany (1929-57) and professor emeritus (1957-64) at the University of Illinois (UI). He was an influential ecologist, who made significant contributions to the study of plant and animal ecology, phytogeography, and phytosociology.

Vestal was born in LaGrange, Illinois, on September 10, 1888, and grew up in Chicago. He earned a bachelor's degree from UI (1911) and a master's degree from the University of Colorado (1913). In 1915, he obtained a PhD from the University of Chicago with a dissertation titled, "Phytogeography of the Eastern Mountain Front in Colorado." Vestal held teaching positions at the University of Colorado (1911-14), Eastern Illinois State Normal School (1915-20), Stanford University (1920-29), and UI (1929-57). Over the course of his long academic career, he "made valuable contributions toward the development of concepts and statistical methods to be used in describing and classifying plant communities and regional vegetation complexes from a phytosociological point of view" (Martin). He published widely, including his influential 1949 monograph Minimum areas for different vegetations: their determination from species area curves, and made extensive study of the ecologies of Illinois, Colorado, and California.

Vestal married fellow botanist Wanda Pfeiffer Vestal (1882-1969) in 1916, and they had three children. He died on June 5, 1964.


"Trelease Woods," Illinois LAS, accessed April 29, 2020,

"Arthur G. Vestal," The Ecological Society of America's History and Records, accessed April 29, 2020,

W. E. Martin, "Resolution of Respect, Arthur Gibson Vestal," Ecological Society of America, accessed April 29, 2020,

Subject Index
California Grasslands
Eastern Illinois University
Faculty Papers
Field Trips
Plant Communities
Stanford University
Student Life
University of Chicago
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]