Aaron J. Sharp Collection
This collection houses the papers of University of Tennessee botany professor Aaron “Jack” Sharp, dated 1895-2006 (bulk 1928-1998). Among his collection are botany course materials; botany journals and articles; field journals containing collected international and regional flora; personal and professional correspondence and papers; and photographs and slides.
Series I: Teaching Material, 1930-1974, undated – This series comprises primarily of course materials used in Dr. Sharp’s classes, including newspaper clippings, notes, flora keys, blank examinations and quizzes, and various articles. This series also includes UTK-related correspondence from UTK Dean L. R. Hesler, Dr. J. G. Carlson, and Superintendent of Buildings David M. Nicholas. Series I is also composed of material related to UTK’s Department of Botany. Included is a document regarding the graduate study program and staff, packaging slips Dr. Sharp accumulated from his many collection trips, and three books from the University of Tennessee Record Extension Series.
Series II: Publications, 1920-2006, undated – Series II contains publications, journals, articles, reprints, keys for flora, and other information resources used in Dr. Sharp’s research. This series also includes maps Dr. Sharp used during his many collecting trips to Central Asia, India, and Mexico. Dr. Sharp collected several botany-related journals and publications, including The Living Wilderness and Rhodora: Journal of the New England Botanical Club. Also present in this series are reprints regarding Appalachian flora and fungi, and newspaper clippings featuring Dr. Sharp’s colleagues, praise for his many publications, and Dr. Sharp himself.
Series III: Research Material, 1934-1985, undated – Series III includes Dr. Sharp’s publications, journals, and notes. It contains Smoky Mountain and Latin American flora material. Most notable in this series are Dr. Sharp’s personal notes, including handwritten journals of his collecting trips in Latin America (1944-1945), Mexico (1950-1969), and Hokkaido, Japan (1971).
Series IV: Professional Service and Personal Papers, 1930-1998, undated – Series IV documents Dr. Sharp's personal life and professional services. It comprises of personal, professional, and other correspondence, with the personal correspondence written to and from Dr. Sharp being one of the main features in this series. It also contains papers chronicling Dr. Sharp's professional services, including documents from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Also included in this series are pieces of biological information about Dr. Sharp, as well as his transcripts, report cards, and obituary.
Series V: Visual Material, 1930-1992, undated – This series houses photographic material, slides, and a lantern slide projector that Dr. Sharp used in the classroom. His slides and photographs feature Smoky Mountain plants, wildlife, and charts.
Series VI: Oversized Material, 1895-1994 September 12, undated -- Series VI contains oversized materials of various documents, including charts, maps, newspaper articles, and other publications.
- 1895-2006, undated [bulk 1928-1998]
- Majority of material found within 1928 - 1998
The material in this collection is in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.
12 Linear Feet
The Aaron J. Sharp Collection houses the papers of University of Tennessee botany professor Aaron “Jack” Sharp, dated 1895-2006 (bulk 1928-1998). Dr. Sharp, a leading international authority on moss, also studied regional and international wildflowers, resulting in co-authoring the book Great Smoky Mountain Wildflowers, first published in 1961. Among his collection are botany course materials; botany journals and articles; field journals containing collected international and regional flora; personal and professional correspondence and papers; and photographs and slides.
Dr. Aaron J. Sharp was born on July 29, 1904 on his grandparents’ (Sharp) farm near Plain City, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1927, received his master's at the University of Oklahoma in 1929, and his Ph.D in 1938 from Ohio State University.
He began his career as a botany instructor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1929. He retired from teaching as a distinguished service professor in 1974 . From 1951-1961, he served as the head of the Department of Botany at the University of Tennessee. During his long academic career, Dr. Sharp became the president of the Sullivant Moss Society (1935), president of the Tennessee Academy of Science, the president of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (1961), and the president of the Botanical Society of America. He also founded the UT Arboretum Society.
His career was wreathed in many prestigious awards including the Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in Mexico and Guatemala (1944-1946), Meritous Teaching Award by the Association of Southeastern Biologists (1972), the Merit Award by the Botanical Society of American, and the Order of the Rising Sun (1991) from Japan.
Dr. Sharp was a world traveller and has collected many specimens from Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Japan, India, Formosa, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tanzania, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska. He has also collected and studied plant specimens from a multitude of locations within the continental United States.
Dr. Sharp produced over 200 publications, including articles regarding bryophytes, fungi, pteridophytes, and other vascular plants. His most popular publication, which he co-authored, is titled Great Smoky Mountains Wildflowers (1961) from the University of Tennessee Press. He and his co-author refused any royalties from the publication in order to keep its price low.
Dr. Sharp passed away on November 16, 1997 at the Fort Sanders Regional Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife Evelyn Sharp (née Clebsch) and his four children.
This collection comprises of 13 boxes and is divided into the following series:
- Series I: Teaching Material, 1930-1974, undated
- Series II: Publications, 1920-2006, undated
- Series III: Research Material, 1934-1985, undated
- Series IV: Professional Service and Personal Papers, 1930-1998, undated
- Series V: Visual Material, 1930-1992, undated
- Series VI: Oversized Material, 1977-1952 February 20, undated
This collection was previously listed as AR.0507, MS.1569, MS.2097, MS.2442, and MS.3145.
Aaron J. Sharp and Will P. Sharp donated this collection to Special Collections.