RIXFORD, Gulian Pickering

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RIXFORD, Gulian Pickering (1838-1930), Vermont-born botanist who became a major figure in early California agriculture. Rixford was graduated from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, in 1864. That same year he married Canadian, Caroline Corey (1839-1911). The Rixfords moved to California via Nicaragua in 1867, and from 1868-1889 Gulian was involved with the San Francisco Bulletin, where he edited a horticultural column. He was hired by the State Department of Horticulture; Rixford introduced both the pistche nut for commercial purposes and the Smyrna fig to California. He also authored a book on the cultivation of Smyrna figs. Rixford also served the California Academy of Sciences in many capacities, including Director of the Museum.

Rixford collected specimens in the vicinity of Avalon, Santa Catalina Island in 1914, and his specimens are in California Academy of Sciences.

He was the Librarian of the Academy at the time of his death in a train accident at the age of 92. He died in Palo Alto, California on October 27, 1930. The Gulian Rixford collection of correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and materials related to early California agriculture are in the archives of California Academy of Sciences. (The 13,000 foot Sierra peak, Mount Rixford, is named for his son, Dr. Emmet Hawkins Rixford (1865-1938), professor of surgery at Stanford Medical School.)

Island Collections~

Santa Catalina Island

1914 CAS plants

In the News~

February 7, 1922 [SFCall]: ”Rabbits are pests on Farallon Islands, San Francisco, Feb. 6.—The Farallon Islands, outposts of the Golden Gate, are being overrun with jackrabbits, according to G. P. Rixford of the government bureau of plant industry, who has appealed to the department of agriculture for help in getting rid of the animals which menace young fruit trees he has planted. In wet years when there is a liberal growth of wild lettuce the rabbits thrive, but dry years are lean ones for the long-eared inhabitants.”