Albert Kellogg

 Dr Albert Kellogg
aged 72

One of Albert Kellogg's most important works  consists of beautiful botanical drawings of the West American Oaks (1889), and at the time of his death he had in preparation a similar series covering the West American pines. 

After his death, colleagues published many of his illustrations, and a commentary on the trees was prepared, and this was published in 1889.  Recently a reproduction of this work has become available, which includes an interesting commentary on Kellogg,  and one of the oaks included was named in his honour.  In view of the important contributions he made to this Garden,  part of the commentary and notes on the tree named in his honour is included in this review. 

The history of the preparation and publication of this monograph is short and simple. Dr. Albert Kellogg; had confided to Mr. W. G. W. Harford and to Dr. W. P. Gibbons of Alameda all his papers on Botany. They were incomplete, and there was apparently no hope of their being finished and published. Mr. Justin P. Moore and Mr. Harford asked Professor Davidson whether it was not possible to procure publication of the drawings of the Oaks of California by his appealing to Mr. James M. McDonald for the necessary
means, and to Professor Edward Lee Greene of the University of California for the descriptions of the species.

The  following letter continues the narrative :
ACADEMIC CLUB, San Francisco, California, August 15th, 1888.
James M. McDonald, Esq., Sau Francisco, Cal.:                                           s
Dear Sir—You will remember that for some years before his death, our common friend Dr. Albert Kellogg gave his whole time to making drawings of the Oaks, Pines and other

trees and plants of the Pacific Coast of the United States, and more particularly of those indigenous to this State. Upon the completion of this self-imposed labor he proposed to write descriptions of all the species and thereby fill a scientific and a practical want.    He did not live to see the consummation of this undertaking.

You know how dearly he loved such work, and how thoroughly conscientious he was in its execution. His well trained eye perceived the peculiar characteristics of each species, and the delicate touch of his pen fixed the minutest details of every specimen upon paper.    His drawings have received the warm commendations of critical experts.
It would be a great loss to the diffusion of scientific knowledge and to the practical forestry of the Pacific Coast if Dr. Kellogg's labors should be lost. We have therefore conferred with our good friend Professor Edward Lee Greene of the University of California, and he has cheerfully promised to write a Monograph of the Oaks of this Coast, to be illustrated by Dr. Kellogg's drawings. With him this is a labor of love and a tribute to the memory of his friend.

We know your kindly feeling for Dr. Kellogg and your appreciation of his unselfish labor; and knowing, from years of association, your sympathy with the practical phases of scientific research, we have determined to appeal to you to furnish the money for the publication of this proposed monograph.
We have made no estimates therefor, but if you will entertain our proposition we will obtain detailed estimates for a given number of copies.

Very respectfully and sincerely,


It would be a very pleasant duty to recount the satisfying incidents of the conference which took place. It must suffice to say that Mr. McDonald not only cordially undertook to bear the expenses of publication,'and gave his check for the required amount; but he also asked for estimates for the publication of a similar Monograph of the Coniferae. Professor Greene laid aside the preparation of a botanical work to prepare the text for the Oaks, and promised the text for the Pines.

Albert Kellogg's illustrations of West American Oaks published 1889, shortly after his death


My friendship and my love for Dr. Albert Kellogg go back to the summer of 1867, when I had charge of the first party of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey that went to Alaska to study the geography of its shores, and to gather information of its resources.

Dr. Kellogg was the botanist of that party, and his enthusiasm in this new field warmed all our hearts towards him. We lived in the same contracted temporary deck cabin for four or five months under many trials and inconveniences, and the sweetness of his character was as prevadiug and refreshing as the beauty and fragrance of the flowers he gathered.

He was completely absorbed in his duties; he knew no cessation to the labor of collection and preservation; his genial nature attracted assistance from every one, and all learned to admire and to love him.
With all his gentleness he was firm in his convictions of the right and of the truth, and was ever alert to speak earnestly and convincingly in their defense.

On this trip Dr. Kellogg's collection embraced triplicate specimens of nearly five hundred species of plants of which, by authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, I presented one to the Smithsonian Institution, one to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and our to the California Academy of Sciences.

This opening of our friendship led to mutual confidence and esteem, and to my admiration for the unselfishness, the devotion and the ceaseless labor of his life. There was a oneness in his purposes that I have not known surpassed; his whole soul was breathed into plants and flowers; he loved them as if they might have consciousness. He saw in them the design and goodness of a Supreme Being who was all loving kindness.
Dr. Kellogg's singleness of purpose is well exemplified in his connection with the California Academy of Sciences. In 1853 he was one of the original seven founders of that society, when Gibbons, and Trask, and Ayer assisted in giving it a reputable standing in the scientific world by their original investigations. He worked for it and believed in its success when the number of members could have been counted on one's fingers, and when the means of supporting such an institution and publishing its results came wholly from their professional earnings.

These men and their fellows were all enthusiastically devoted to research in this new field of the Pacific ; they were almost beyond the reach of the scientific world and without its literature, but they shirked no labor and no obligation. The story of their struggles and tribulations is almost pathetic; in the early golden days it was heroic. Dr. Kellogg did his full quota of work among workers, and bore his share of the trials; he never lost hope, he inspired others with his enthusiasm, he quieted dissension; he was confident there would spread among our people a desire for that scientific knowledge which is the foundation of the practical. Beyond the wild rush for wealth and the unsettledness of that period he foresaw the growth of schools, colleges, universities and societies for every branch of scientific research. He had a cheering word for every effort, he assisted each young aspirant, he gave his time lavishly to investigation and to that diffusion of knowledge which is for the betterment of the people.

It was the unselfish and successful work of Kellogg and his colleagues through twenty years that educted the first munificent gift of James Lick, and the second still greater one. It was his devotion that subsequently elicited the noble gift of Charles Crocker for the endowment of original research. In fact, the California Academy of Sciences owes its present standing in science and wealth to the labors of Dr. Kellogg and his fellow workers.

As Dr. Kellogg's years gradually increased, the field of investigation before him seemed to expand a hundred fold, and again his singleness of purpose asserted itself. He forsook his profession to devote his life to botany; he forgot where the raiment, the sustenance and the house protection were to come from. He faithfully believed that his other-self, Harford—just as devoted and as needful as himself—would see that he was clothed, fed and protected. For the rest, his time was no longer his own ; he gave it unreservedly for the benefit of his fellow men. His pencil and bis pen were never afterwards out of his hands while daylight lasted. In the moments of recreation at eventide, or upon the Sabbath, his love for children prompted him to tell the story of the flowers and the beauty and majesty of the trees.

He was the embodiment of modesty in manhood. His heart was as gentle, as sweet, and as innocent as a woman's. His speech was clean and refined; always for the right, for the needy, for the struggling. He was startled at an attack upon religious purity, and then his words rose swiftly in force and directness. His soul revolted against chicanery, intrigue and the petty meannesses of the trickster, the backbiter, and the prevaricator; and his condemnation was unhesitating and piercing. He shrank from the charlatan and the sham; to him they were an unnatural growth in morals and in science.    His sense of justice and purity was so inborn that he instinctively knew the presence of the offender. His moral life charmed the young and innocent, and was an example to the best.

Through nearly twenty years of intercourse and companionship; in conference and in discussion, I recall no instance of his uttering an unjust thought, or casting an undeserved reflection: if he erred in judgment it was when he thought some one might have been condemned harshly or upon insufficient evidence. He wished that all men and women were good, and he believed there was some germ of goodness in each, although it might unfortunately be latent. To his death bed he carried the good will of his large heart towards the just, and hopeful pity towards the unjust.

I am not competent to speak of the value of Dr. Kellogg's scientific botanical descriptions and studies; that is left to authority; but I have no doubt of the excellence, and truthfulness of his illustrations. I have watched his work and have criticized its minute accuracy; it was the very faithfulness of detail with the taste of an artist. But he never took the artist's freedom for broad effects, so the botanist may rely upon the scrupulous exactness of every minute line and dot. He could not do otherwise; it would have been the unpardonable sin to have overlooked a fibre or have introduced a bud. His work is truth.\

Camp Colonna, Los Angeles Base Line, November 29th, 1888.

INTRODUCTORY to the West American Oaks
The Oaks, for which as a genus of trees and shrubs, botanists continue to use the classical Latin name Quercus, are all easily recognized by that particular kind of nut-like fruit which they bear, and which is called, in our language, an acorn.

Every one knows that a certain kind of rounded or egg-shaped or cylindrically elongated thin-shelled nut, the base of which is seated in a scaly or tubercled cup of circular outline, is an acorn; and whatever tree or bush which produces acorns is an Oak.

For the present purpose, no more technical or minute diagnosis of the genus is demanded.
At least three hundred kinds of Oak are now known to botanists. About fifty of these are indigenous to North America north of Mexico. The two hundred and fifty others are distributed between the Mexican region of North America and the northern hemisphere of the Old World; and no single species is common to the Old World and the New.

The fifty North American species are about equally divided between the eastern and the western sides of the continent; and there is no Oak common to Atlantic and Pacific America.

The greater part of the species belonging to the Pacific states and territories were more or less fully illustrated by Dr. Kellogg's pencil. The twenty-four different drawings of his herein published represent all the more important species of the extensive commonwealth of California particularly, as well as several others the interest in which is mainly phytographical; and the editing of these plates has resulted in a virtual monograph of the Pacific North American Oaks. Descriptions of three or four new species or varieties have been interpolated at suitable places in the text of the plates, and some account of the other unfigured species is given at the end; so that the volume may be found to contain about all which, up to this date, is known of our West American Oaks.

The work is nevertheless in important respects only tentative. The plates alone, as far as they go, are of lasting value. The engraver has been scrupulously faithful to the drawings; and no artist was ever more strictly and conscientiously true to nature than Dr. Kellogg.    Most of the Oaks which he drew have long been well known by name and by synonym, as the Bibliography will show. The identification of the species, under the current nomenclature has not been a difficult task ; but the actual limits of many of them in nature, cannot yet be said to have been at all well established. The territory which they inhabit is vast indeed. Leaving out of the reckoning Utah and Nevada, Montana and Idaho as territory upon which oaks form but a very insignificant part of the vegetation, and are wholly absent from most parts of their area; New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington have together an area of more than six hundred and fifty thousand square miles, upon all parts of which area oaks are more or less abundant. The wide domains of the Scandinavian Kingdom, the whole German Empire and France combined are scarcely more extensive. But the region of the West American Oaks is yet hardly half explored botanically. There must be very much yet to be learned of them in this wide field. The western botanists of half a century hence will think rightly that we knew little about them. New species will yet be discovered. The limits of old ones will be altered,—here curtailed, and there extended. All this is simply inevitable. Therefore we say the present work is merely tentative; and nothing which is here laid down respecting the geographical or the phytographical limits of species, should be taken for infallible certainty.

The Oaks of Western, like those of Eastern America and of the Old World, are of two quite different natural groups or subgenera, White Oaks and Black Oaks; and the more obvious characteristics of each group are given in the body of this paper under the headings so named. The- White Oaks are, I suppose, the proper type of the genus Quercus; but I have not considered it needful to follow that order in a treatise of this kind. By reversing it, that noble Pacific Coast Black Oak which an eminent New York botanist named in honor of Dr. Kellogg, appears first on these pages, as it may fitly do, and is immediately succeeded by the one arboreal species of which Dr. Kellogg himself is the author.

Having dispensed myself from observing the conventional rule, I freely place last in the series of White Oaks, and as if it were one of them, our one particular species which a few eminent botanists have said should not be called an Oak at all. Quercus densiflora is, indeed, almost as much a Chestnut as it is an Oak; but, as an Oak it is obviously of that group in which it is here placed, rather than a Black Oak.

The only Western deciduous Black Oak, Q. Kelloggii, is much like the common Q. rubra of the Atlantic Slope; so much like it that, when the first specimens,—mere leaf-bearing twigs without acorns, were received in European herbaria, they were pronounced by high authorities to be only Q. rubra; but the acorns, when these came to be known, were found to be of a very different character from those of the Eastern analogue; and the validity of Q. Kelloggii as a species, is not likely to be henceforward called in question.

The case of the deciduous White Oaks of Pacific North America is different. Although one of these was, at a very early stage of its history and by a single author, Sprengel, taken up as identical with an East American species, the extraordinary size of their acorns, as well as marked peculiarities of leaf-outline, have prevented even herbarium botanists from confounding them with Eastern species.

But, as the botanical world has been learning little by little for some decades past the curious points of contact between the floras of Eastern America and Eastern Asia, and between those of Western America and Western Europe, it is not now so very surprising for us to be told that the Pacific American Oaks, of the typical group, seem more like their European than their Atlantic American kindred. As late as the year 1864, M. Alphose De Candolle expressed a doubt as to whether all three of our principal Pacific White Oaks, Q. lobata, Q. Douglasii and Q. Garryana were not mere forms (not even meriting varietal rank) of the European Q. Robur.' However, this most illustrious botanist, while giving expression to his doubts, admits that a more perfect knowledge of the subjects,—the trees themselves, might remove the doubts; and, furthermore, he has at once the wisdom and the magnanimity to concede that they who first named and described the species in question may possibly have known more than he about them: so each of the species which he most doubts, he gives the benefit of doubt, placing them upon his pages as species, under the names that have been proposed, and with the descriptions which the authors gave them. Even Q. Morehus, then little known, and still less accredited by botanists of the other side of our continent, is accredited fully on M. De Caudolle's page; and later researches are establishing the wisdom there was in his modest deference to the opinion of Dr. Kellogg, the author of the species.

There is no need that these introductory paragraphs should comprise a formal history of our Oaks as they have figured in the literature of the science. The bibliography of the species is given so nearly in full, that of each in its appropriate place in the body of the volume, that any who may desire to consult authors, have there their index of author, page and date.

It is hoped that the treatise may be found useful to all who may wish to obtain information of any kind concerning this important genus of our Western forest trees; and also that it may serve students and amateurs in the double capacity of a help, and a stimulus to further investigation. As already intimated, there is very much yet to be learned of both the geographic and specific limits of our species; and also of the economic uses, and probable usefulness of all of them.

The field is vast.   No one can explore it all.    But one here and another yonder can gather and make record of new facts, correct past errors, diffuse new light. So, the more perfect knowledge, which here as in all departments of science men work for, yet wait for, will be attained.

University of California,
Berkeley, 15th April, 1889

'Prodr. XVI.* p. 13, under Q. Dtngtatii.

Bark dark, almost black; wood reddish, coarse-grained; leaves of a dark glossy green, never
pale or glaucous; their lobes, in the deciduous species, taper-pointed;
abortive ovules borne at the top of the seed.
* Deciduous Species.
Plate I.

Quercus rubra, Liebmann, in Benth. PI. Hartw. 337 (1849), not in  Linn.
Quercus  tinctoria californica, Torrey, in Pacif. R. Rep. iv, 138 (1856).
Quercus Californica, Cooper, in Smithsonian Rep. (1858) 261.
Quercus Kelloggii, Newb., Pacif. R. Rep. vi, 28, fig. 6 (1857).
-------------,    Engelmann, in Bot. Calif, ii, 99 (1880).
-------------,    Kellogg, Forest Trees of Calif. 69 (1882).
-------------,    Sargent, U. S. Forestry Rep. 149 (1884).
-------------,   Behr, Fl. San Francisco, 270 (1888.).
Quercus Sonomensis, Bentham, in A. De Candolle, Prodr. xvi*, 62 (1864).
-------------,    Bolander, Proc. Calif. Acad. iii, 230 (1866); Catal. PI. S. F. 27 (1870).
-------------,    Engelm., Trans. StLouis Acad. iii. 388 (1876); Wheeler's Rep.374(1878).
Tree from forty to eighty feet high; trunk from two to five feet in diameter, clothed with a rough, dark-colored bark; branches coarse, stout, spreading or ascending, forming a rounded or elongated head, in age broadest at top; leaves from four to seven inches long, and from two to four in breadth, often widest above midway, pinnately and deeply sinuate-lobed; the lobes entire or coarsely toothed and slender-pointed; acorns maturing the second season, mostly short-stalked, growing singly, or two or three together; cups an inch or less in breadth, usually hemispherical, and the nut exserted for half its length or more, sometimes nearly spherical and concealing all but the apex of the nut; scales ovate-lanceolate, obtuse, tomentose-pubescent; nut ovoid, obtuse, an inch long or less, often somewhat tomentose.
On the Coast Ranges and on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, throughout California and as far north as the middle of Oregon; on mountain sides and summits only, or in the elevated valleys, not on the plains or near the sea. The species does not usually form a forest by itself. The trees are commonly distributed one here and another there, among other oaks, and forming groves together with several members of the white oak series; and yet, the most beautiful forests—beautiful in the stricter sense, not from a utilitarian point of view—which the present writer has seen in California are made up almost entirely of this oak. Certain broad and comparatively level-topped mountains westward from Camptouville, in Yuba County, in the middle altitude of the Sierra, are thickly -wooded with it. Here its trunks are tall and straight, and branch only at a distance of thirty or forty feet from the ground, the open branches forming, over hundreds of acres, a mild shade, not too deep or too dark to exclude or weaken' a rich undergrowth of wild roses {Rosa spithamea) and the finer sorts of ceanothus {Ceanothus decumbens and C. integerrimus.) besides many grasses and herbaceous flowering plants.
This tree is the Pacific Coast analogue of the Eastern Red Oak. Dr. Kellogg, in his Forest Trees of California, says of the wood of it that it abounds in sour sap, of which it is very retentive, and dries slowly; but if this is abstracted by soaking, or even by seasoning well, it makes excellent axles for trucks, buffers for cars, and is available for many useful purposes. He also says that, although often seventy-five feet high, a trunk will seldom furnish two or three lengths of saw-log timber; this being due to the presence of what lumbermen call pin-knots, namely perforations of the trunk at the bases of branches long since fallen.
There is a considerable range of variability in the species as regards leaf-outline and the depth of the acorn-cup.     That form in which the cup is nearly spherical, almost wholly enveloping the nut, ought perhaps to be named as a variety.

Examples of this tree in the USA

Full details of this species can be found in the FEIS database (US Department of Agriculture Forest Service) using the following link

Albert Kellogg was a foundation member of the Californian Academy of Sciences.  A recent article on the first 150 years of that organisation includes much information on Dr Kellogg.
To download pdf file click

Many individuals involved in the initial establishment of the Garden have been honoured by having a feature named after them (Hector, Ludlam, Buchanan, Bramley, Wakefild). Perhaps it is time to grant similar recognition to Dr Kellogg, he deserves it - The Kellogg Grove where the propagated Pinus radiata are planted, or by naming a path – e.g. the unnamed path off Pine Hill Path past Pinus roxburghii's (not a Californian tree) towards Druid Hill and the other pines is also a possibility.