Harold Charles Bold
of the finest human beings to walk the face of the earth was Harold
Charles Bold. It was a circumstance by complete
chance that I came across this man, and he completely changed my life.
While Harold and Mary Bold's second best-liked composer (Chopin) is playing,
let me describe a little more. My son, David, whom Mary Bold gave the Chopin
Edude studies, is playing a Chopin Medley for Harold and Mary. He is playing
from Chopin's Etude in E Major, Prelude in A Major, and Prelude in
B Minor. Next, we will surf deeper, learning more about this amazing
person's life and his influence on students, education, culture, and his
wonderful contributions to humanity, and his University.
Harold C. Bold
graduated more than 43
doctorates and numerous masters degree students, in addition to teaching
thousands of students botany, biology, and phycology. He came to
UT-Austin in 1957 from Vanderbilt University, the same year I arrived,
but obviously under quite different circumstances! He was the master
teacher, and I was the fledgling freshman.
Harold C. Bold
was teaching Botany 320, and I decided to take this course because I was
interested in plants. About 3 weeks into the course, Dr. Bold asked if
anyone in the class would like to earn some extra money doing some part
time work in his lab, like washing glassware, preparing culture media.
I held up my hand and landed the job right then and there!
C. Bold was a Charter Member of the Phycological Society of America, and
its President in 1955-56. Harold was born in New York City June 16, 1909,
his grandparents having emigrated from Germany and Switzerland. His decision
to pursue botany happened when he was an undergraduate at Columbia University
and was influenced by such professors as Tracy Hazen and R. A. Harper.
On earning his Bachelor's degree in 1929 he became an Instructor in Botany
at the University of Vermont. Studying the coccoid green alga Chlorococcum,
he obtained a Masters degree from Vermont in 1931. He returned to Columbia
as a Ph.D. student, carrying out his research on the green alga Protosiphon.
On receiving the Ph. D. in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression,
he sent out more than 100 job enquiries and received back two
job offers, including an offer
of an Instructorship in Biology from Vanderbilt
University (with a starting salary
of $1,800 per year as he enjoyed pointing out in
later years). Harold felt himself
fortunate, accepted the offer and was at Vanderbilt through the 1930's.
It was in Nashville that he met and married Mary Douthit, a music student
from Sweetwater, Texas. Over the years the Bolds enjoyed playing duets
on their pair of Steinway pianos in their home. On Dr. Hazen's retirement,
Harold returned to Columbia to become Visiting Lecturer and then Assistant
Professor of Botany at Barnard College.
he entered active service with the U.S. Naval Reserve. After the war he
returned to Vanderbilt University, eventually being promoted to Professor.
In 1957 Harold
and Mary moved to Texas where he became Professor of Botany at the University
of Texas in Austin until his official retirement in 1978. During these
years at Texas he was Chair of the Department of Botany (1962-67). He was
always generous with his time, serving in various offices of professional
societies, including President of the Botanical Society of America as well
as Editor of The American Journal of Botany for many years. Over
his career at Vanderbilt and Texas he served as the major advisor to 10
Masters students and 43 Ph.D. students. His major contributions to phycology
include his papers on methods of algal cultivation and the use of such
studies on soil algae. With his students he co-authored a dozen "Phycological
Studies" (published by the University
of Texas) in the period 1960-1974. He also co-authored textbooks on algae
(two editions) and on the "Morphology of
Plants" (5 editions). He was elected to
membership in the National Academy of Sciences. He passed away in December,
1987. Want to learn more?
Click on the thumbnail below which is a photo and note H.C. Bold gave me
(taken in part, from a description
of the history of HCB in the Phycological Society of America Archives on
the Bold Award)
Click on this thumbnail to
view and learn more about Harold
Chopin Medley Will Play
(David Brown Playing the
Last Modified by RMB on October 12, 1998
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