Harold C. Bold graduated more than 43 doctorates and numerous masters degree students, in addition to teaching thousands of students botany, biology, and phycology. He came to UT-Austin in 1957 from Vanderbilt University, the same year I arrived, but obviously under quite different circumstances! He was the master teacher, and I was the fledgling freshman.
Harold C. Bold was teaching Botany 320, and I decided to take this course because I was interested in plants. About 3 weeks into the course, Dr. Bold asked if anyone in the class would like to earn some extra money doing some part time work in his lab, like washing glassware, preparing culture media. I held up my hand and landed the job right then and there!
Harold C. Bold was a Charter Member of the Phycological Society of America, and its President in 1955-56. Harold was born in New York City June 16, 1909, his grandparents having emigrated from Germany and Switzerland. His decision to pursue botany happened when he was an undergraduate at Columbia University and was influenced by such professors as Tracy Hazen and R. A. Harper. On earning his Bachelor's degree in 1929 he became an Instructor in Botany at the University of Vermont. Studying the coccoid green alga Chlorococcum, he obtained a Masters degree from Vermont in 1931. He returned to Columbia as a Ph.D. student, carrying out his research on the green alga Protosiphon. On receiving the Ph. D. in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, he sent out more than 100 job enquiries and received back two job offers, including an offer of an Instructorship in Biology from Vanderbilt University (with a starting salary of $1,800 per year as he enjoyed pointing out in later years). Harold felt himself fortunate, accepted the offer and was at Vanderbilt through the 1930's. It was in Nashville that he met and married Mary Douthit, a music student from Sweetwater, Texas. Over the years the Bolds enjoyed playing duets on their pair of Steinway pianos in their home. On Dr. Hazen's retirement, Harold returned to Columbia to become Visiting Lecturer and then Assistant Professor of Botany at Barnard College.
From 1942-45 he entered active service with the U.S. Naval Reserve. After the war he returned to Vanderbilt University, eventually being promoted to Professor.
In 1957 Harold
and Mary moved to Texas where he became Professor of Botany at the University
of Texas in Austin until his official retirement in 1978. During these
years at Texas he was Chair of the Department of Botany (1962-67). He was
always generous with his time, serving in various offices of professional
societies, including President of the Botanical Society of America as well
as Editor of The American Journal of Botany for many years. Over
his career at Vanderbilt and Texas he served as the major advisor to 10
Masters students and 43 Ph.D. students. His major contributions to phycology
include his papers on methods of algal cultivation and the use of such
studies on soil algae. With his students he co-authored a dozen "Phycological
Studies" (published by the University
of Texas) in the period 1960-1974. He also co-authored textbooks on algae
(two editions) and on the "Morphology of
Plants" (5 editions). He was elected to
membership in the National Academy of Sciences. He passed away in December,
1987. Want to learn more?
Click on the thumbnail below which is a photo and note H.C. Bold gave me
(taken in part, from a description of the history of HCB in the Phycological Society of America Archives on the Bold Award)
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