Joseph William Blankinship
By Tulli Kerstetter
One of the earliest full-time professional botanists to make his home in Montana was J.W. (Joseph William) Blankinship. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he was instrumental in developing a fully staffed and equipped research center in the northwest as botanist for the Montana Experiment Station and first curator of the Montana State University herbarium in Bozeman. J.W. Blankinship personally collected more than 10,000 specimens for the college herbarium and was responsible for convincing other individuals to donate their private herbaria in order to "secure these collections of the pioneer botanists of Montana as a permanent record of the botanical discovery in this state." In addition to Montana, Blankinship's collecting career was spent making careful studies of the floras of California, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts, with several more or less extended excursions into Canada and the southern states. A rather catholic collector, he had no particular emphasis other than obtaining comprehensive collections of a state or region. His contributions as a plant hunter include collections distributed throughout the world and taxa which bear his name. Yet due to some fateful decisions he made during his professional life, coupled with tragic events beyond his control, J.W. Blankinship remains to this day one of the more enigmatic of our early botanists.
J. W. was born to Hiram and Amanda Goodin Blankinship of Glasgow, Illinois, on February 23, 1862, the only male and second oldest of five offspring who survived infancy. Throughout his adult life, he used his initials J.W. and never Joseph or Joe as his moniker, because he had "never yet seen anyone with that name who was not ashamed of it. There is nothing respectable about it, and the bearers always come to some bad end." A year after his birth, the family moved to Missouri, where his father was appointed postmaster at Willard, just outside of Springfield. He would periodically return to the state throughout his life and retained the old home plot until his death.
In 1881, at the age of 19, young Joseph enrolled at Drury College, a Christian school in nearby Springfield, and was initially placed in college-preparatory classes. Eight years later, at 27, he graduated valedictorian of his class with a BA in classical and scientific studies. The years spent at Drury mark the beginning of his botanizing career, with his earliest collections dating back to 1888.
Following graduation from Drury, J.W. traveled to southeastern Montana where he accepted his first teaching appointment and made his first collections of Montana flora. Here, at Custer Station near the Big Horn River, "in the old Unitarian Mission," he taught Native American boys from the Crow Reservation. Judging by the number of specimens he collected at this time, he botanized extensively up and down the Big Horn River, Big Horn Mountains, and the Little Big Horn. However, teaching at the Crow Reservation seems to have been merely a brief respite from academia for he stayed only the one summer before heading to Berkeley, California, as a graduate student in 1890.
The Department of Botany at Berkeley was in its formative stages during the years 1890 to 1892, according to Willis Jepson. Jepson first met Blankinship at this time and later described him as a student "very poor in money, independent in spirit and determined in his ideas, so that he seemed a bit eccentric. He could not toady or conform." Jepson felt these traits put J.W. in conflict with Professor Edward Lee Greene, "who liked to have from students a becoming deference... especially when they expressed ideas differing from his." Conflicts notwithstanding, the eccentric student must have discussed with the demanding professor his Montana collections, for it was from a specimen J.W. collected near Custer Station that Greene described a new Oenothera in 1891. The original plant, now at Montana State University, contains the following notation written by Blankinship: "It was from seeds of this plant that Greene grew his Oenothera depressa" (= O. biennis).
While at Berkeley Blankinship botanized from San Jose north to Humboldt County. He also traveled to the Farallon Islands off the coast of northern California with another graduate student, a two-day trip which resulted in an 1892 article entitled "On the Natural History of the Farallon Islands." When not botanizing or attending classes, J.W. worked for Eugene Hilgard at the local agricultural experiment station. According to Jepson, Blankinship "hit it off well" with Dr. Hilgard, and the two maintained a lifelong friendship.
According to J.W., he failed to complete the necessary course work to obtain a graduate degree due to changes in curriculum requirements and left Berkeley after two years to accept a teaching position at Hesperian College. Since this small school in Woodland, California, closed its doors in 1893, he was on their payroll just a year as botany instructor before heading east to attend Harvard. During the year in Woodland, J.W. botanized from Yolo County north and west into Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt counties and collected the type specimen for Ranunculus canus Benth. var. blankinshipii Robinson (= R. canus).
The years spent at Harvard were busy ones for Blankinship. Specializing in systematic and cryptogamic botany, he received his second BA in 1894 and an MA in 1896. He completed his PhD in 1898 with a dissertation titled "On Isolation as a Criterion of Species" and co-authored an article with C.B. Davenport which was based in part on his dissertation. He married Claire Farris of Springfield, Missouri, in 1895, and worked his way through school by initially doing odd jobs and later as an assistant at the Botanical Museum under Dr. Goodale. Early field work encompassed eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and the Quebec area, with his collections in Massachusetts forming the basis of a 1903 publication entitled "The Plant Formations of Eastern Massachusetts." J.W. also made excursions south into Virginia and neighboring states with Rudolph Blaschka in search of specimens for models of the famous Blaschka glass flowers on display at Harvard. And, apparently not wishing to overlook any region in which to botanize, he also traversed Missouri, Arkansas, "Indian Territory," Oklahoma, and Kansas. As a result of his five years at Harvard, J.W. became acquainted with many notable botanists with whom he remained in communication during later years. These included M.L. Fernald, W.G. Farlow, B.L. Robinson, and R.L. Goodale.
After completion of his doctorate, Blankinship was offered employment as professor of botany at Montana State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts (now Montana State University-Bozeman) and botanist for the Montana Experiment Station. According to M.A. Howe of Columbia University, Per Axel Rydberg had also applied for this position. In July of 1898, the Blankinship family, which now included a young daughter by the name of Marian, departed the east coast for Bozeman, Montana. A year later, their second daughter was born. Ever the botanist, J.W. wrote to a Harvard friend, "Mrs. B ... asks you to suggest some 'just lovely' names for a new girl not yet labelled [sic]." The infant was thereafter "labeled" as Ruth.
With the founding of Montana State College in Bozeman and the University of Montana in Missoula, the era of resident botanists began. Land grant colleges were created by an act of Congress in 1862 to emphasize teaching fields relating to agriculture and the mechanical arts, while the goal of the experiment station -- financed by the federal government -- was to aid and promote agricultural industries in the state.
During the seven years he was employed by the college, Blankinship claims to have been over all of Montana that could be reached by railway passes which he cajoled from all of the local railroads. In one eighteen-month period he logged "8267 miles by rail and 1046 by other conveyance." Continually on the lookout for new specimens, he was always offering to trade time spent in plant identification for duplicates to add to the herbarium or to dispatch to other herbaria as exchanges. He was good friends with J.E. Kirkwood (the formal founder of the University of Montana herbarium) and identified many of Kirkwood's collections.
Blankinship's first two years in Bozeman were spent botanizing almost exclusively in southwestern Montana, Yellowstone National Park, and neighboring Idaho. Immediately prior to J.W.'s residency in Montana, Rydberg (with C.L. Shear in 1895, J.H. Flodman in 1896, and E.A. Bessey in 1897) had collected prodigiously in the same locales for what later became his Catalogue of the Flora of Montana and the Yellowstone National Park, published in 1900. According to Blankinship, Rydberg's publication at that time was "the only complete enumeration of [Montana] species ever attempted." Blankinship's own collections during the next few years would result in modification and expansion of this catalog.
In 1900, J.W. botanized across the entire northern half of the state along the Great Northern Railway, collecting specimens "of that nearly unknown region." While in the northeastern part of the state, he visited the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation for research "of the various plants utilized by the Sioux for food, medicine, and other purposes and those regarded by them as poisonous." A year later, in search of weedy and poisonous plants, he confined his field work largely to central and northern Montana, with a foray into Alberta, Canada, and a revisit to the Crow Reservation in the southeastern part of the state where he once taught school. This field work was to culminate in two bulletins pertaining to weedy and poisonous plants as well as providing material for an ethnobotanical study of native uses of plants. While botanizing in northwestern Montana along the Clark Fork River in what is now Sanders County, he collected the type specimen of Impatiens ecalcarata (Balsaminaceae) "[f]ound in abundance along the damp shady margin of a small stream about half a mile east of Plains" (Fig. 1).
Although ethnobotany is not usually listed as one of Dr. Blankinship's specialties, his philosophy regarding the necessity of such investigations was clear: "It is the more important that this information concerning the useful properties of our native plants be now secured, as the people who were driven by stress to seek out and utilize these properties are rapidly passing from the stage of human activity, and with them will perish all this valuable information, learned with such difficulty..." J.W.'s ethnobotanical interests materialized into "Native Economic Plants of Montana," a bulletin listing roughly 160 native plants of the state utilized by the Indians, early explorers, trappers and settlers.
By the end of 1902 Professor Blankinship had been involved in a flurry of botanical explorations which covered parts of Idaho and nearly the whole state of Montana. While wandering the mountains of southwestern Montana in August, he obtained what later became two new varieties. At an altitude of 10,000 feet in the Tobacco Root Range, he collected the type of Eriogonum ovalifolium Nutt. var. depressum (Polygonaceae), growing "in dense, caespitose, hemispherical clusters on dry decomposed rocks." J.W. later described this taxon as "[d]oubtfully more than an alpine variety of the species, as connecting forms seem frequent in collections, and the characters are alike except in size." The second variety, Saxifraga caespitosa L. var. minima (Saxifragaceae), was also collected at 10,000 feet but on Mt. Hyalite in the Gallatin Range. This plant is on the same herbarium sheet at Montana State University with what later became the type collected by R.S. Williams in 1897 from Singleshot Mountain in northwestern Montana. Whether because of insufficient herbarium funds or personal habit brought about by years of hardship, Blankinship often glued specimens of four or five different collections onto a single sheet. Since the type specimen is annotated only as "Saxifraga caespitosa L." and not in Williams' handwriting, Williams may not have identified this specimen by the time he donated his collection to the herbarium.
The specimens J.W. collected during these botanizing years formed the basis of his "Supplement to the Flora of Montana: Additions and Corrections," published in 1905. This small volume of 76 pages contains 384 taxa previously unknown to Montana at the time; 83 corrections, mainly to Rydberg's Catalogue of the Flora of Montana and the Yellowstone Park; and proposed 29 new species and varieties. Of these 29, the aforementioned Impatiens, Eriogonum and Saxifraga survive today as valid taxa. J.W. also seems to have dabbled in the arts, for he drew five of the six sketches of new taxa that accompanied the publication, including that of Impatiens ecalcarata (see Fig. 1).
After five years at the college, Dr. Blankinship took a leave of absence and once again headed to Harvard, taking along most of the college herbarium's 25,000 specimens in order to verify their identifications and prepare documents for publication. "It is hoped," he wrote at the time, "from the material now on hand and from the field work of the ensuing season, it may be possible to map out and characterize most of [the] different biological zones of the state and to indicate in general their economic possibilities." Prior to his departure, he collected in Idaho and Utah as well as the whole state of Montana, though to a less extensive degree than prior years. His arrival back in Bozeman in 1904 seems to mark the end of his prolific plant hunting, for his forays around the state were confined to the immediate vicinity of the college with a single trip to what is now Glacier Park.
While at Harvard, J.W. prepared the final draft of "A Century of Botanical Exploration in Montana, 1805-1905: Collectors, Herbaria, and Bibliography." His purpose in publishing this document was to indicate individuals and the routes they pursued as an aid in determination of type localities, to specify where collections were located, and to list all works dealing wholly or largely with Montana flora. In his introduction, Blankinship notes that only since 1880 have a large part of the Montana specimens remained in Montana -- a note of pride for his efforts at maintaining a collection of the state's flora at its source. The word "Montana," by the way, was not applied to any of the early collected material until 1864. Ewan and Ewan list this publication as an invaluable historical summary of botanical exploration in Montana upon which they relied extensively for their 1981 biographical dictionary of Rocky Mountain naturalists.
Of interest to the layman was another publication in 1905, co-authored with Hester Henshall, entitled "Common Names of Montana Plants," in which scientific names are correlated with local Montana usage. This work resulted from an interest in developing botanical awareness in amateurs by gathering together material not included in textbooks of the period. Unlike most botanists, Blankinship admired nonscientific names because they portrayed the "genius of the people" by describing how plants "furnish food for this or that animal, or have an unfortunate habit of lying in wait and poisoning some unsuspecting herbivore," along with "their good qualities ... as well as their various and peculiar habits of growth or seed-dissemination."
In addition to his publications, Blankinship was also preparing collections of Montana flora for display in expositions around the country. A collection he prepared for education and scientific exhibits at the 1905 Portland Exposition won a gold medal, along with a silver medal for his grass collection at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. He also prepared a set of about 700 flowering plants for Columbia Gardens -- "showcase of the Rockies" -- in Butte. Claire Blankinship claimed that Montana's Senator W.A. Clark built the herbarium specifically for this collection. Columbia Gardens was dismantled in 1973 to make room for an open pit mine, and the whereabouts of that plant collection remains a mystery.
Although J.W. collected far fewer cryptogams than angiosperms during his residency in Montana, he had obtained "a number of mosses and hepatics, the algae, a few lichens and a considerable number of the leaf fungi -- more than 200 species." He was also instrumental in obtaining four major private collections of fungi for the herbarium, specifically with regard to plant disease work. These collections may have provided the basis upon which the professor established himself as a consulting plant pathologist after leaving the college. Alas, the collections which he painstakingly amassed for the college herbarium are no longer in existence, having been used as teaching specimens and ultimately destroyed.
Blankinship's ties with the college and experiment station were severed in July of 1905. According to J.W., he left because "With me it was a question of whether I would give my work entirely to economic botany, as they wanted me to, or to quit the work." However, a couple of other situations may also have contributed to his departure. V.K. Chesnut of the Montana Experiment Station wrote in 1906 that, "Blankinship has lost his job here. Was let out six months ago because no one could get along well with him." In addition, rumors circulated many years later during his residency in Lake County, California, that he had been forced to resign because of an assignation with a student. That 1905 was not a good year for J.W. was further evidenced by the death of his youngest daughter Ruth at the age of five from "rheumatism of the heart."
Beginning in 1906, Blankinship began what in hindsight seems a controversial career for a dedicated plant collector and ethnobotanist: consulting plant pathologist for mining and smelting industries. His first case involved a Montana lawsuit filed by farmers of the Deer Lodge Valley under the name of farmer Fred J. Bliss against Anaconda Copper for livestock and crop losses due to smelter smoke. On behalf of the farmers was Marcus E. Jones, who Anaconda's attorneys labeled a "self-appointed smelter annihilator" because he had offered his services against smelter owners in many legal cases. Blankinship's 838 pages of testimony contradicted that of Jones, who, according to J.W., mistook some spots on vegetation for smoke damage when in fact the spots had been caused by fungi. To illustrate, Blankinship brought his microscope with him, and at several times during the proceedings had all the attorneys, the Special Master (there was no judge) and Marcus Jones taking turns viewing each specimen. According to the Butte Inter-Mountain for October 16, 1906, "The witness put in samples of various plants from Belgrade, Bozeman, and other localities remote from the Deer Lodge Valley and compared them with plants from the Bliss ranch and pointed out that the same sort of injury to plants on the ranch attributed to smoke occurred to plants where there was no smoke." During his testimony, Blankinship was described as "a fast talker, and the stenographers had to gallop to keep up with him," as he discussed all of the thousand or so plants he examined, each with scientific names "as long as a hoe handle." Outside of the area immediately around the smelter, the professor maintained that fungi were ten times more damaging to plants than smelter smoke.
Blankinship did not deny that damage to vegetation could be attributed to smelter activities within a quarter mile radius of the smelter. He testified that he thought he was the first to describe what he called the "drying-up disease" immediately surrounding the smelter, i.e., an "abnormal drying" that may have resulted from flue particles which had infiltrated the soil "possibly by precipitates from the smelter" rather than from airborne particles such as arsenic.
Blankinship concluded that he could find no evidence of internal injury sufficient to reduce yield, and that spot damage from smelter smoke "was not sufficient to cause the plants to make reparative growth." No expert contradicted his testimony as to the particular damage he found on the 13 volumes of specimens he collected and examined throughout the valley, and the "excellent way in which they were prepared." Even Professor Jones had complimented him for the quality of his presentation, though not for the opinions he rendered.
After 14 months of testimony and 237 witnesses, Special Master Crane rendered his verdict in favor of the defendant Anaconda. Crane wrote that, although there was some evidence of arsenic damage and diminished land values, there would be more damage if the smelter were to be closed, and mining halted. Farmers' land would then depreciate "greatly in excess of the damage they would sustain by reason of the continuance of the smelter."
Gordon Bakken, in a recent historical study of this case, believes Bliss vs. Anaconda was an early example of the use of expert defense testimony and shrewd cross examination to discredit opposing viewpoints. "What the farmers' attorneys had failed to do was connect experts with expert cross examination, to go beyond the trappings of 19th century litigation." He cites specifically the example of Marcus Jones versus chemist F.W. Traphagen of the Colorado School of Mines, where Jones' unorthodox self-schooled methodology was "so completely exploded by Traphagen" and others with more traditional approaches and eastern college educations that it was of no value to the Special Master when he issued his findings. According to Bakken, the case became one of "how changing styles of litigation could sweep the challenge to air pollution aside for half a century."
J.W. seems to have been involved thereafter in mining interests for a number of years. As late as 1927, he still listed himself in American Men of Science as a consulting plant pathologist, by which time he was 65 years old. However, no publications are known to have resulted from these associations, although in a letter to his sister Laura in 1909 he stated he was writing a paper on smoke injury to plants.
Blankinship was to remain in Bozeman for the duration of his testimony in the Anaconda smoke case, which ran through October of 1906. The family then moved back to Missouri, where he acquired the position of herbarium assistant at Missouri Botanical Garden for one year before sailing for Germany. During the time he was employed by the Garden, he made a systematic survey of herbarium material collected in Texas by Ferdinand Lindheimer, which resulted in "Plantae Lindheimerianae Part III," published in 1907 by the Garden.
J.W. was 45 years old when he and his family sailed for Germany for the expressed purpose of "polishing up in botany; plant-diseases with Sraner, histological methods with Schmendener, and systematic botany and methods with Engler" so as to achieve "a university position after I return." A 1907 letter of passage, which acted in a similar capacity to today's passport, lists J.W. as 5'8" tall, with bluish-gray eyes, a prominent nose, brown-gray hair, fair complexion, and a medium long face -- a dapper trim man of 135 pounds.
Upon their return from Germany, the Blankinships once again settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where they remained until a house in Berkeley, California, was purchased in 1912. Apparently he did not achieve his stated goal of a university position, because he still listed his employment after he moved to Berkeley as scientific expert for Anaconda Copper Mining Company "and others," spending most of the year traveling in that job capacity. He was still collecting plants, apparently, but admittedly had "fallen away sadly in botany in recent years."
In September of 1923, their home in Berkeley was completely destroyed in a wildfire that raced through the northern part of the city. With its destruction went "the work of a lifetime -- herbarium, library, all records, manuscripts, and the many other things needed for scientific work." Three years later, after 31 years of marriage, his wife Claire instituted divorce proceedings. It is unknown whether the fire precipitated the divorce or merely exacerbated an already strained relationship brought about by rumors of his prior amorous adventures. All that is known is that Claire later admitted to a neighbor that she had "many times regretted the divorce," but at the time, "was young and so hurt."
After the divorce, J.W. moved to Mt. Konocti in Lake County, California, where he lived as a hermit, collecting plants and attending to his walnut orchard. Helen Rickabaugh of Lakeport, California, remembered botanizing up on Mt. Konocti as a young woman, conversing with "Dr. B.," and wondering "why a man of his education and intellect would be living in that miserable little shack." He was by then "an old man with a long grey beard." During this part of his life, "Dr. B." was remembered by townsfolk as the little "wizened old man" who walked five miles into town once a week.
In 1934, he entered the Masonic Home in Decoto (now Union City), California, where he died four years later on July 2nd, at the age of 76. According to newspaper accounts, death resulted from a paralytic stroke. He was survived by his ex-wife Claire, who died in the 1950's, and his married daughter Marian Hoobler. Recent attempts by Blankinship's relatives to trace Marian's whereabouts since 1949 have been unsuccessful.
In addition to his life as a botanist, Joseph William Blankinship was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, an amateur genealogist with memberships in the genealogical societies of California and Utah, an early member of the Society for Economic Botany, elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1902, and a founding member of the Montana Academy of Sciences. A product of generations of pioneer stock -- his ancestry dated back to the Revolutionary War -- he was most likely stoic to the point of stubbornness, acerbic in his approach, and probably agnostic, if not an atheist -- personality traits which seem to have won him few friends in academia. Willis Jepson felt that Blankinship "doubtless lived and did his work under [the] heavy handicap" of poverty and hardship. J.W. told Jepson of troubles with his wife before the divorce, but "fully exonerated himself in his own eyes" -- undoubtedly the type of behavior Jepson alluded to when he stated, "If Blankinship's life had been less surrounded by hardships and adversity -- burdens and handicaps which warped his mental outlook -- botany would I think have profited more from his labors." Yet Jepson seems to have had a fondness for Blankinship, and it was he who alerted the scientific community of Blankinship's death in a 1940 issue of Science.
At least 26 herbaria are known to contain specimens identified and collected by Blankinship, including 10 outside of the U.S. and 5 which list him as one of their important collectors: North Coast Counties (NCC), Montana State University (MONT), University of Montana (MONTU), Rocky Mountain (RM), and the University of Washington at Seattle (WTU). According to Jepson, many of Blankinship's collections of spermatophytes in the upper Sacramento Valley were cited in his Flora of California. Blankinship's name has also been attached to new species, particularly in Montana and California. These include Aragallus blankinshipii A. Nels., Carex blankinshipii Fern., Lupinus blankinshipii Heller, and Ranunculus canus Benth. var. blankinshipii Robinson, all currently synonymized.
Blankinship's inability to achieve a university position in California after his return from Germany may have been in part due to his years of work as a mining protagonist, for he certainly had sufficient academic training and considerable practical experience to his credit. He was, however, at the time of his permanent residency in California 50 years of age and had not published any major botanical treatises such as monographs or revisions which would have aided him in obtaining a professorship or distinguished his name beyond that of plant collector. Unfortunately, his work in progress at the time of the Berkeley fire in 1923 will never be known nor, likewise, will most of his correspondence with other botanists during the later years of his life. Gone too are his personal notes regarding his collections which often flesh out the personality and intent of the collector.
What letters are extant from his early career in Montana reveal an acerbic wit, such as when he wrote of what he termed the "Neo-American-Greene-Britton school for nomenclatural gymnastics," where the "...the continual shifting of the material embraced under many polymorphic species and the shuffling with nomenclature on which most American botanists are now crazy, will render for some time to come this question of the critical determination of species an open one and we must do the best we can till authoritative specialists work out each critical group and exterminate the smaller fry now nibbling at everything in sight." In addition, the introductions he wrote to all of his publications portray a complex man possessing humility, grace, childish delight, and a deep appreciation for the work of others, traits he apparently did not readily reveal in person. Fittingly, then, his own words concerning common names for plants may serve as his epitaph, reflecting more about the collector than the collected:
[We] can trace in these names the love of beauty and grace, the boundless admiration and the deepest appreciation of the human heart for the purity, simplicity and elegance of these gentle flowers of Nature, so lavishly displayed before us, to charm our minds and hearts away from the ceaseless toil and the evil passions of this social edifice we have built about us -- to give us rest and inspire us with higher, purer and nobler aims than those we now attempt.
Blankinship, J.W. 1898. On isolation as a criterion of species. PhD dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
______________. 1901. Weeds of Montana. Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 30:1-70.
______________. 1902. Shade trees and ornamental vines of Montana. Annual Report of the Montana Farmer's Institutes 1:202-210.
______________. 1902. Poisonous plants of Montana. Proceedings of the 5th Annual Session of the Pacific Northwest Woolgrower's Association 5:49-54.
______________. 1903. The loco and some other poisonous plants of Montana. Bulletin of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 45:73-104.
______________. 1903. The plant formations of eastern Massachusetts. Rhodora 5:124-137.
______________. 1905. A century of botanical exploration in Montana, 1805-1905: collectors, herbaria and bibliography. Montana Agricultural College Science Studies, Botany 1:1-31.
______________. 1905. Supplement to the flora of Montana: additions and corrections. Montana Agricultural College Science Studies, Botany, 1:33-109.
______________. 1905. Native economic plants of Montana. Montana Agricultural College Experiment Station Bulletin 56:1-36.
______________. 1907. Plantae Lindheimerianae, part III. Botanical Garden Report 18:123-223.
______________. 1908. Mitteilungen über die blutungskrankheit und gelbsucht bei pappeln. Zs. Pflanzenkrankh 18:26-28.
_____________ and H.F. Henshall. 1905. Common names of Montana plants. Montana Agricultural College Science Studies, Botany 1:113-139.
_____________ and C.A. Keeler. 1892. On the natural history of the Farallon Islands. Zoe 3(2):144-173.
Davenport, C.B. and J.W. Blankinship. 1898. A precise criterion of species. Science 7:685-695.
Allen, C.C. April 4, 1991. Unpublished letter to William J. Bonner.
Bakken, G.M. 1991. Was there arsenic in the air? Anaconda vs the farmers of Deer Lodge Valley. Montana: The Magazine of Western History 41(3):30-41.
Biographical sketch of J.W. Blankinship. Unpublished document. Renne Library Archives. Montana State University.
Blankinship, C.F. June 15, 1944. Unpublished letter to Professor W.L. Jepson.
Blankinship, J.W. April 29, 1896. Unpublished postcard to Dr. B.L. Robinson. Gray Herbarium Administrative Correspondence, Harvard University.
______________. January 13, 1900. Unpublished letter to Miss Day. Gray Herbarium Administrative Correspondence, Harvard University.
______________. May 23, 1901 Unpublished letter to Samuel Fortier. Renne Library Archives. Montana State University.
______________. June 27, 1901. Unpublished letter to Mr. Watson. Renne Library Archives. Montana State University.
______________. 1901. Report of botanical department. Eighth Annual Report of the State Board of Education 8:40-42.
______________. February 24, 1902. Unpublished letter to Dr. Farlow. Farlow Letters, vol. 103. Harvard University.
______________. May 27, 1902. Letter to President James Reid. Unpublished material. Renne Library Archives. Montana State University.
______________. June 3, 1902. Unpublished letter to Dr. Robinson. Gray Herbarium Administrative Correspondence, Harvard University.
______________. 1903. Botanical department. Annual Report of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 9:68-79.
______________. December 1, 1904. Unpublished letter to Professor Umbach. Renne Library Archives. Montana State University.
______________. 1904. Botanical department. Annual Report of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 10:64-68.
______________. 1905. Botanical department. Annual Report of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 11:219-224.
______________. January 8, 1906. Unpublished letter to Professor Jepson. Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
______________. February 13, 1909. Unpublished letter to Laura Blankinship Bonner.
Bonner, William Joseph. December 22, 1995. Telephone interview.
___________________. June 19, 1991. Unpublished letter to Dale and Arlene Hoobler.
Butte Inter-Mountain. October 16, 1906.
_________________. May 22, 1907.
_________________. May 24, 1907.
Chesnut, V.K. January 14, 1906. Unpublished letter to Jepson. Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
Farris, G.J. and A.G. Emerson. 1992. J.W. Blankinship, field botanist and plant pathologist. Fremontia 20(4):23-25.
__________ and __________. 1991. J.W. Blankinship, field botanist and plant pathologist. Unpublished material.
Holmgren, P.K., N.H. Holmgren, and L.C. Barnett, eds. 1990. Index Herbariorum Part I: The Herbaria of the World. 8th Edition. Bronx, NY: NY Botanical Garden.
Howe, M.A. September 13, 1898. Unpublished letter to Jepson. Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
Jepson, W.L. 1943. California botanical explorers. Notes on the botanists of California and western America. Vol. 3. Unpublished manuscript. Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
Lackschewitz, K. H. 1989. History of plant collectors in western Montana and of the university of Montana herbarium history. Unpublished material.
Lanjouw, J., and F.A. Staflen. 1954. Index Herbariorum. Part II. Collectors A-D. Regnum Veg. 2:1-174. Utrecht:International Bureau for Plant Taxonomy and Nomenclature.
Lenz, L. 1986. Marcus E. Jones: Western Geologist, Mining Engineer & Botanist. Claremont: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
MacMillan, D. 1973. A history of the struggle to abate air pollution from copper smelters of the far west 1885-1933. PhD thesis, University of Montana.
Quibell, Chuck. December 1995. Telephone interview.
Quivik, Fred. December 1995. Telephone interview.
Recent Deaths. 1940. Science 92:306.
Report of the Director. 1907. Missouri Botanical Garden Eighteenth Annual Report 18:22.
Report of the Director. 1908. Missouri Botanical Garden Nineteenth Annual Report 19:19-22.
Republican Courier. August 1, 1905.
Rickabaugh, H. October 15, 1992. Unpublished letter to Glenn Farris.
Rumely, J.H. 1993. A brief history of the Montana state university herbarium. Unpublished document.
United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 1907. No. 1738. Fred J. Bliss, Appellant vs. The Washoe Copper Company (a Corporation) and the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (a Corporation), Appellees. Transcript of Record.