Asa Gray (botanist) was born on Sunday, November 18, 1810.
Asa Gray was born in Paris, New York. One of the most acclaimed North American botanists of the 1800s, he wrote more than 350 articles, essays, and books. His most famous work, the Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States (also simply called Gray’s Manual), is a standard reference in the field. Gray served as a Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University from 1842 to 1873. In 1864, he donated 2,200 botanical works and 200,000 plants to Harvard, which led to an esteemed botanical library and one of the most valued herbariums in the United States. Today, this resource, now called the Gray Herbarium and Library, houses nearly 2 million specimens. During his career, Gray identified hundreds of new plant species and had many named for him, including the genus Grayia and the southern wildflower Lilium grayi, often called Gray’s lily.