Lichuan City, Hubei, China
Photograph by Stephen Spongberg, United States
Stephen Spongberg began his career at the Arnold Arboretum in 1970, as assistant curator devoted to the Generic Flora of the Southeastern United States Project. In 1976, he was appointed horticultural taxonomist. In 1979, he also undertook the editorship of the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum (now published as part of the Harvard Papers in Botany), a position he held for 12 years.
Recognized for his Asian plant explorations, Dr. Spongberg participated in the Arnold Arboretum expedition to Japan and Korea in 1977. Between August and November of 1980, he took part in the Sino American Botanical Expedition to Western Hubei Province, in the People’s Republic of China.
In 1990, Dr. Spongberg published A Reunion of Trees, which was one of over 40 publications he produced between the years of 1972 and 1996. A Reunion of Trees provided a comprehensive history of the global search for new botanical species, as well as the Arnold Arboretum’s role in prominent discoveries of botanical resources in Asia.
In 1997, Dr. Spongberg was honored by the Royal Horticultural Society with the prestigious Gold Veitch Memorial Medal for his contributions to horticulture. In 1998, Dr. Spongberg retired from the Arboretum and was appointed Curator Emeritus in recognition of his service. Following his retirement, Dr. Spongberg became the director of the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard, a position he held until 2004.
Copyright © 1980, President and Fellows of Harvard College, Arnold Arboretum Archives; all rights reserved.