Thomas Taylor (1820-1910)
Student's Hand-Book Of Mushrooms Of America Edible And Poisonous
Washington, A. R. Taylor, 1897-98
Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany
Thomas Taylor is credited with the introduction of plant pathology into federal agricultural research.
Born in Pertshire, Scotland, Taylor was interested and educated in a wide variety of subjects. He studied physics and chemistry at Glasgow University, art and drawing at the British School of design, and medicine at Georgetown University. His background in botany was largely self-taught.
Taylor was appointed to be the first Microscopist to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1871. There he was responsible for the first USDA publications on microscopic plant pathogens. One of Taylor's particular interests included pathogenic fungi. He published several descriptions of edible and poisonous mushrooms, with recipes. His Handbook of Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms was published in 1897.
Taylor was not particularly popular with his colleagues, and much of his work was disregarded due to his informal training in botany. Though his work in phytopathology was criticized for being small in scale, Taylor pursued his interests earnestly.