Plates of Fungi

Paintings by J. Augustus Knapp Commissioned by Curtis Gates Lloyd

Curtis Gates Lloyd (1859-1926)
Pharmacist, Botanist and Mycologist

Curtis was born in Florence, Kentucky in 1859. Later his family moved to Crittenden, Kentucky, where for a short time in the early 1870s Curtis Gates worked in the Crittenden Drug Store; he soon followed his brothers into the pharmacy trade. As boys, however, the Lloyd brothers spent long hours exploring the woods of Northern Kentucky, developing an intense interest in natural history, especially botany. John Uri Lloyd once gave Curtis Gates an 1875 edition of Wood's Class-Book of Botany, which he later described was a strong influence in his study of botany.

Lloyd moved to Cincinnati in the late 1870s and, like John Uri, became a pharmacist's apprentice. While learning the trade and working to earn his certificate, Lloyd pursued his study of plants as time allowed, and began to systematically assemble a personal herbarium. He held various positions as a salesman with a wholesaler druggist and bookkeeper and manager at Standard Publishing- all the while continuing to augment his herbarium. When John Uri and Nelson Ashley Lloyd became sole owners of  Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists, they brought Curtis Gates into the business. He was to specialize in locating and describing plants with potential medicinal properties. His life took a sharp turn when Lloyd met A. P. Morgan, a local mycologist, in 1887. Morgan introduced him to the field of mycology, which at the time was just beginning to develop into a specialized branch of botany. Lloyd's interest was immediate and his intense scientific enthusiasm was ever after focused on mycology. His herbarium continued to grow, but now in the area of mycology.

During the early 1900's, Curtis Gates Lloyd was generously excused by his brothers from most of his duties with the firm of Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists. He was then able to devote the majority of his time and energy to the scientific study of mushrooms. Lloyd established offices in Paris and at Kew Gardens in London. There he studied the existing works on mycology as well as specimens, and began publishing his own findings in two serialized formats titled Mycological Notes , of which there were 75 numbers, and Puff Ball Letters, of which there were 69. Lloyd also published his findings in several monograph publications and in the Mycological Series of the Bulletin of the Lloyd Library and Museum of Botany, Pharmacy and Materia Medica. All his writings were eventually gathered together and bound into seven volumes titled Mycological Writings of C. G. Lloyd . He was also a prolific correspondent. The Curtis Gates Lloyd Papers in the archives of the Lloyd Library contain over 20 boxes of mycological correspondence.

He quickly attained a prominent and fractious role as a leading authority in the field. Lloyd fought against using personal names in the identification of fungi, and attacked many of the mycologists of his day for attaching their names to anything they might find. Some experts have cited Lloyd and W. A. Murrill as the two outstanding founders of the study of mycology, describing Lloyd's work as conservative, lucid and inclusive. Although he was opposed to using personal names for identification of mushrooms several genuses bear Lloyd's name such as Lloydella G. Bresadola (1901), Lloydellopsis Z. Pouzar (1959), Lloydia C. H. Chow (1935), and Sinolloydia C. H. Chow (1936).

Lloyd died in 1926 of diabetes. According to his wishes, his body was cremated and the ashes spread on property in Crittenden that he had donated and named the Lloyd Library Botanical Park. Most of his wealth had already been placed in endowment for the Lloyd Library and Museum.

The mycological section of Lloyd's Herbarium was donated to the Smithsonian Institution after his death according to his wishes. The remainder of the herbarium was placed at the University of Cincinnati. Lloyd's papers in the library archives represent a partial paper trail of the accumulation of the herbarium, especially the mycological collection.


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