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Louise Henriette Foucar
To Tucson for the School Year 1898-99

Louise Henriette Foucar
Louise Henriette Foucar. This portrait was
taken in 1890 at Partridge Studios, 2832
Washington St., Boston Highlands. LFM

In Louise Foucar's copy of the University Register, it mentions that there were 7,000 volumes in the library room in the Main Building; and there were 12,000 botany sheets of plant specimens, these far outnumbered the books. The botany professor James Toumey had been there since 1894 and had been busy. The Register also mentioned the unique flora and fauna of this desert area.

Upon reading the schedule of classes offered that might be of interest to a young woman graduate student, Louise saw that the only possibility for her in graduate studies would be botany. She had been a student at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, had two degrees from the University of Denver, taught French and German there, and had "the grand tour" - a year abroad studying in Paris, Italy and Switzerland.

At home her family conversed in English, French and German. She read Latin, spoke Spanish and probably Italian. She was also knowledgeable in bookkeeping and business procedure.

She was quiet and unassuming, with a modest demeanor, as befitting a proper young lady from Boston. Despite frail health she had a steely determination that provided the will to plan future accomplishments. She was artistic as well as intellectual, and her logical thought and business ability enabled her to become a successful teacher, and later a successful financier and community developer. It was no wonder that people asked "Who is this woman?"

Louise wrote, "I deposited five thousand dollars in the bank upon my arrival and the bankers did not know what to make of it, that a woman should have that much money made them a little suspicious that something was wrong."

It was none of the bankers business of course, but the money had come from her own personal savings and a gift from her father. In time she would do wonders with this sum.

Louise Foucar decided to come to Tucson for the school year 1898-99 because the altitude of Denver had proved unsuited to her health. In a letter to a friend she recalled, "I registered at the University but the only thing they had to offer that I had not already had was botany. The then Professor Toumey (later a long time professor at Yale) did not want to take me as he was making a special study of root rot and did not want to be bothered. But the President (Parker) insisted that he should take me, little dreaming that in two months he would be glad to recommend me as his successor. He showed me how to use the microscope and to make slides; then he pointed out to the desert and said 'There is your work'."

She later recalled that in a trip of an hour over the campus she found twenty-three blooming desert plants.

In the beginning she lived and later was in charge of North Hall where the female students stayed. Her diary entry for May 13, 1953, "Fanny Fisk and two of her friends called. She was a student when I taught at the University many years ago. She lived at the cottage of which I had charge."

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