April 27, 1892-April 28, 1989
BY JOHN G. TORREY
IN THE PERIOD immediately after World War II a renewed effort began in the botanical world on the nature and causes of plant morphogenesis. In the Department of Biology at Harvard University were assembled faculty members especially qualified to pursue collaboratively the problems of understanding plant development, using structural-analytical and biochemical-biophysical tools in new and revealing ways. On the physiological-biochemical side was K. V. Thimann with his interests and insights into plant hormones; on the structural-biophysical side was I. W. Bailey with his wide experience in structural-functional aspects of secondary growth in plants. In the middle and providing both the bridge and the cement was R. H. Wetmore with his understanding of the anatomical-cytological basis for meristematic activity.
Ralph H. Wetmore was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on April 27, 1892, of loyalist forebears who had moved from New England to Canada at the time of the American Revolution. His father was foreman of a wood-working plant in this maritime community, his mother an enthusiastic gardener and homemaker for the four children of which Ralph was the eldest.
After finishing the public school preparatory course for