Robbins, William Jacob
- Paula DePriest
Robbins, William Jacob (22 February 1890–05 October 1978), botanist, physiologist, and institution director, was born in North Platte, Nebraska, the son of Frederick Woods Robbins, a schoolteacher and administrator, and Clara Jeanette Federhof, a journalist. When he was two, his family moved to Muncy, Pennsylvania. Robbins graduated from high school in 1906 and then attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1910 with Phi Beta Kappa honors. After teaching at Lehigh and at the Mining and Mechanical Institute at Freeland, Pennsylvania, for one year, he entered graduate school at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Originally Robbins planned to train as a plant pathologist and a scientific farmer, but he changed the focus of his studies to plant physiology. He worked as an instructor at Cornell from 1912 to 1916; he earned his doctorate there in 1915. On 15 July 1915, Robbins married Christine Faye Chapman, a botanist who later became a scientific biographer. They had three sons, one of whom, Frederick Robbins, won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1954....