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Name: NAPIER, Evelyn Rose

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Nee: dau of Edward Herbert Scott, 4th Baron Napier of Magdala and sis. of Hon. Marion Kathleen Armstrong

Birth Date: 13 Dec 1902 Lucknow, India

Death Date: 22 Aug 1952 Nakuru

First Date: 1922

Profession: Established the Herbarium at the Coryndon Museum, Nairobi (later the National Museum), where she was employed as a botanist 1930-34

Married: 1935 Desmond Walter Molony (1907-1999)

General Information:

Leonard E. Newton, 'The First Herbarium Botanist in Nairobi', Journal of East African Natural History 93: 49-55 (2004): As a hobby, she started drawing and painting wild flowers. Some of her art work was seen by Mr Ernest Carr, a keen supporter of the Coryndon Memorial Museum in Nairobi, and he gave the museum a grant for the purpose of employing Miss Napier as a botanist, a post that she held for a period of four years. The appointment started in 1930, but as she was not a qualified botanist Miss Napier spent several months in the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in England, receiving a basic training. She returned to her post at the Museum in 1931. As the museum botanist Miss Napier was an active field collector and a hard-working curator. By the end of her contract in 1934 she had built up a collection of over 4,000 mounted specimens, with another 3,000 awaiting identification and mounting. Some of her expeditions are mentioned in her annual reports, and she is also mentioned by Gillett (1962) and Polhill (1988) as a collector. She sent duplicates of her specimens to Kew, where some were found to be undescribed taxa...Miss Napier was herself the author of a series of papers in the journal of the East Africa & Uganda Natural History Society, illustrated with her own drawings. From the text of her published "Notes" it is clear that her Kew training had been thorough, for she discussed plants in detail and was familiar with earlier literature. Her botanical illustrations included line drawings, paintings and photographs, and examples of all three were published. Some of her paintings were on display in the Botanical Exhibit Room of the museum at that time, and she also contributed colour plates to the first edition of Jex-Blake's book "Gardening in East Africa" (1934). At the end of her contract with the museum, Miss Napier went to England. In 1935 she returned to Kenya to marry Mr Desmond Walter Molony, whom she had known since 1926. Mr Molony was a farmer, and at first the newly married couple farmed at Mweiga, on the Aberdares. In 1945 they bought a farm near Nakuru, on the Nakuru to Njoro road. In spite of a busy married life on the farm with two children to raise, Mrs Molony still collected plants occasionally for the herbarium, as reported by her successor, Dr Peter R.O. Bally (1953). In 1937, two stapeliad taxa were named for her by White and Sloane, with the epithet "molonyae". Following the start of the Second World War, with her husband going on military service, Mrs Molony was far too busy to continue her botanical work and her collecting and herbarium visits came to an end. Sadly, she died prematurely in      1952 after a long and courageous battle against cancer.

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