About the Book Lloyd Herbert Shinners: By Himself is a biography of a man who has been described as, “one of the strongest and most interesting workers in the entire field of systematic botany in the United States.” Told largely in his own words it is a story of great personal ambition and struggle. From childhood Shinners felt himself different from others and became his own critical and amused observer. Shinners life, 1918 to 1971 spanned a particularly turbulent time in world history and in the history of botany. He was a dedicated student of both. He was the raucous defender of the romantic view of his science against the unstoppable tide of new techniques. His previously unpublished Phylogeny in Five Dimensions is printed here as an example of his philosophy.
The book also relates the story of Shinners’ unending and self-destructive efforts to champion the cause of Botany at SMU, where he was a professor for twenty-five years. Almost single-handedly he developed and maintained its herbarium and systematics library.
This complicated, many-faceted character, this taxonomic genius who believed that nothing worthwhile was achieved without pain, found his satisfaction in working with the complexities of the Texas flora. His achievements in this field, culminating with the publication of his masterwork, Spring Flora of the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Texas, are also part of this book.
Lloyd Herbert Shinners: By Himself