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Summary Article: Hooker, William Jackson
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English botanist and director of Kew Gardens. When he took over Kew Gardens they were only 11 acres, but he increased them to 300 acres, made them a national garden and opened them to the public for the first time. In 1804 he discovered a new moss and also illustrated botanist Dawson Turner's book Historica fucorum. Knighted 1836.

Hooker was born in Norwich and studied estate management at Starston Hall. In 1804, he discovered a new moss which he asked a fellow botanical enthusiast to identify for him and as a result of this meeting, he was introduced to Dawson Turner who employed Hooker to illustrate his Historica fucorum. He eventually married Turner's daughter Maria in 1815 and bought part of the family brewery in Halesworth. However, he spent little time there, choosing to devote himself almost entirely to his botanical studies.

In 1806, he was made a fellow of the Linnaean Society. In 1809, Joseph Banks arranged for him to be the botanist on a diplomatic mission to Iceland, but all his specimens were destroyed by a fire on the journey home. He was the Regius professor of botany at Glasgow University from 1820 and was made director of Kew Gardens in 1841. While holding the post of professor at Glasgow, he was renowned for not attending or delivering a single lecture, although his career did not seem to suffer for it. He organized several expeditions to the Western Highlands and improved the city's botanical gardens.

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