KNOPF, Ezra Charles

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KNOPF, Ezra Charles (1879-1961) was born in Michigan on December 3 to French father and Swiss mother. In 1900, according to the U.S. Census, he was still living in Michigan. In 1915 at age 36, Knopf married Jessie Myrtle Thompson, and they had three children:

  • Edith Ezinga Knopf (1916-1997);
  • Virginia Jane Knopf (1918-1997);
  • David E. Knopf (1922-2003)

By 1920 the family lived in Los Angeles; in 1930 he lived in EL Monte, CA and was a widowed carpenter; in 1940 he lived in San Gabriel, CA, was widowed and a stone polisher at a gem shop. Knopf died at age 81 in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 1961.

Knopf “began collecting on [Santa Catalina] island in March 1921, and continued the work at such intervals from his business, in Avalon, as time permitted, until July 30, 1922. He visited all localities of rare finds, even to the western extremity of the island. His specimens are deposited in herb. Field Museum (Nos. 1-500).” [Millspaugh & Nuttall Flora of Santa Catalina Island (1923)].


Island Collections~

Santa Catalina Island

1922 NMNH



In the News~

February 20, 1924 [TI/Avalon]: “The remarkable diversity of the plant life found on Catalina Island is again called to our attention by a request from the Botanical Department of Harvard University for a collection of specimens for their arboretum. Mr. E. C. Knopf of Avalon has been requested to furnish the local specimens. Some time ago Mr. Knopf, in association with the late Dr. C. F. Millspaugh of the Field Museum of Chicago and Mr. L. W. Nuttall, collected many specimens. These specimens are now on exhibition in Chicago, and botanists from all parts of the world have pronounced them a ‘wonderful and valuable collection of Pacific Coast flora.” In the herbarium of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago there are more than thirty-five hundred sheets and over 5000 specimens. From March 1st, 1921 to July 30th, 1922, Mr. Knopf gathered over five hundred different specimens for the Field Museum of Natural History. For Harvard University it will possibly take a year to gather the different flora necessary to complete their list of specimens. Mr. Knopf said: ‘It requires many long tramps over the rugged hills of the island. The most valuable plants are those located in places that are almost inaccessible, and which cannot be reached without the aid of ropes and other equipment. In making our previous collection I walked ten miles, five different times, to pick a flower when it was at its best. The dry season, so far, has done much damage to the flora of the island. A rain within the next two weeks would be of great value.”


September 24, 1924 [TI/Avalon]: “Ezra Knoipf was among the passengers bound for the mainland on Sunday, on a sad errand. Mrs. Knopf, who has been ill for some time, was reported in a serious condition, with chances unfavorable for her recovery. The sympathy of Mr. Knopf’s friends will go out to him and his three little children.”


October 1, 1924 [TI/Avalon]: “Word was received Monday of the death in Los Angeles Sunday of Mrs. Jessie Knopf, wife of Ezra C. Knopf, whose serious illness was mentioned last week. Mr. and Mrs. Knopf have been residents of Avalon for several years, and their friends sympathize sincerely with the bereaved husband and his three little children—Edith E., Virginia J. and David E. The funeral services took place yesterday from the funeral parlors of W.A. Brown, in Los Angeles.”


February 17, 1926 [TI/Avalon]: “Ezra Knopf was homeward bound for Avalon Sunday, on the steamship Catalina.”