- Marcus B. Simpson
Pursh, Frederick (04 February 1774–11 July 1820), botanist and horticulturist, was born Friedrich Traugott Pursch in Grossenhain, Saxony. The circumstances of his family and parentage have not been traced, although he had at least one brother, Carl August Pursch, who recorded biographical information concerning Friedrich. After completing a public school education in his home town, Pursh moved to Dresden, where he studied horticulture under the court gardener, Johann Heinrich Seidel. Lacking funds to pursue formal scientific training, Pursh obtained a position at Dresden’s Royal Botanic Garden, acquiring valuable experience and skills. In January 1799 he departed for the United States, where he worked briefly as a gardener near Baltimore. In 1802 or 1803 Pursh was placed in charge of “The Woodlands,” the famed botanical garden of William Hamilton near Philadelphia. During his years there Pursh benefited from contact with a number of eminent American botanists, including ...