• Sir William Jackson Hooker

    (1785-1865)

    Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew and father of Joseph Dalton Hooker. Born in Norwich, England, in 1785. His father, Joseph Hooker of Exeter, devoted much of his time to the study of German literature and the cultivation of curious plants.

    William Hooker was educated at the high school of Norwich, and later at Starston Hall where he learned estate management. His godfather, William Jackson, left him a considerable fortune, allowing the young man to pursue his interest in botany and enabled him to travel and to take up as a recreation the study of natural history, especially ornithology and entomology. 

    When Hooker discovered a new moss, Buxbaumia aphylla, subsequently confirmed by the botanist Dawson Turner as a new species, his career as a botanist began. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society at the age of twenty-one, he was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks, as well as many other prominent naturalists.

    In the summer of 1809, Banks sponsored Hooker in an expedition to Iceland, all expenses paid, and even offered the young man his own largely unpublished notes from his own expedition in 1722, as almost all of Hooker's collections and notes had been destroyed in a shipboard fire from which he had barely escaped with his life. He would later turn down an invitation from Banks to travel to Java, which probably saved his life, as the island was rife sickness and fevers that often proved fatal. 

    In 1810-1811 he accompanied Sir Robert Brownrigg to Ceylon, but the disturbed state of the island led to the abandonment of the projected expedition. In 1814 he spent nine months in botanic al expositions excursions in France, Switzerland and northern Italy, and in the following year he married Maria Dawson Turner, the eldest daughter of Dawson Turner, banker, of Great Yarmouth. 
    Settling at Halesworth, Suffolk, he devoted himself to the formation of his herbarium, which became of world-wide renown among botanists. In 1816 the British Jungermanniae,his first scientific work, was published. 

    William Hooker was able to obtain the Chair of Botany at Glasgow University in 1820. During the twenty-one years of his tenure he revitalised the botany department as well as the city's botanical gardens. Although he was immensely popular as a professor, William Hooker found that his income was not sufficient to support his growing family. 

    He worked with the Glasgow botanist and lithographer Thomas Hopkirk to establish the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow and to lay out and develop the Glasgow Botanic Gardens .

    He was made a knight of Hanover in 1836 and in 1841 Hooker was appointed as Director of Kew. Over the years Hooker was able to expand the garden by acquiring many of the surrounding royal grounds, as well as initiate the construction of several glasshouses, including the famous Palm House, and organize the garden's beds in a more logical and scientific manner. He was also largely responsible for opening a greater portion of the garden for public viewing. He maintained his position as director until his death in 1865, at which time his son, Sir Joseph Hooker, took over as Director. 

    References:

    Wikipedia Bio

    The Plant Exporers

    Publictions:

    Botanical Illustrations (1822)
    Exotic Flora, indicating such of the specimens as are deserving cultivation (3 vols., 1822-1827)
    Account of Sabine's Arctic Plants (1824)
    Catalogue of Plants in the Glasgow Botanic Garden (1825)
    the Botany of Parry's Third Voyage (1826)
    The Botanical Magazine (38 vols,, 1827-1865)
    Icones Filicum, in concert with Dr R. K. Greville (2 vols., 1829-1831)
    British Flora, of which several editions appeared, undertaken with Dr G. A. W. Arnott, &c. (1830)
    British Flora Cryptogamia (1833)
    Characters of Genera from the British Flora (1830)
    Flora Boreali-Americana (2 vols., 1840), being the botany of British North America collected in Sir John Franklin's voyage
    The Journal of Botany (4 vols., 1830-1842)
    Companion to the Botanical Magazine (2 vols., 1835-1836)
    Icones plantarum (10 vols., 1837-1854)
    the Botany of Beechey's Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits (with Dr Arnott, 1841)
    the Genera Fiticum (1842)
    The London Journal of Botany (7 vols., 1842-1848)
    Notes on the Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of the Erebus and Terror (1843)
    Species filicum (5 vols., 1846-1864), 
    A Century of Orchideae (1846)
    Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany (9 vols., 1849-1857)
    Niger Flora (1849)
    Victoria Regia (1851)
    Museums of Economic Botany at Kew (1855)
    Filices exoticae (1857-1859)
    The British Ferns (1861-1862)
    A Century of Ferns (1854)
    A Second Century of Ferns (1860-1861)