Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Guy Richard Bisby (1889-1958)

Mycologist, plant pathologist.

Born at Brookings, South Dakota on 17 August 1889, he worked as a hospital orderly and laboratory assistant to finance his education, first at South Dakota State College (BSc, 1912) and later at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York City) and Columbia University (MA, 1914-1915). He studied the diseases of potatoes at the Bureau of Plant Industry at Washington and was later a consulting pathologist to the American Potato Corporation at Presque Isle, Maine. In 1915, he joined the staff of the Indian Agricultural Experiment Station at Lafayette and, the following year, married Helen Hitchcock (?-?) and moved to the Minnesota College of Agriculture to take up an Assistant Professorship in plant pathology. While there, he obtained a PhD degree from the University of Minnesota. He came to Manitoba in 1920 to join the academic staff of the Manitoba Agricultural College, later merged into the University of Manitoba, and was a close friend of fellow mycologist Reginald Buller. He studied rusts and smut diseases of plants. In 1929, they jointly published (along with John Dearness) the pioneering book The Fungi of Manitoba that described the province’s mycological resources. His wife having died shortly after his arrival in Canada, he re-married in 1936 to English artist and book illustrator Berenice Butler (?-?) and moved to England in 1937 to take a position at the Imperial Mycological Institute. He wrote other books on fungi, including The Fungi of India (1931) and The Fungi of Ceylon (1950). He retired in 1954 and died at his home at Staines, Middlesex, England, following a four-year debilitating illness, on 3 September 1958.

Sources:

“Plant disease dept. opened at College,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 June 1920, page 17.

Obituary, Transactions of the British Mycological Society, Vol. 42, No. 2, pages 129-131, 1959.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Charles Bird.

Page revised: 17 March 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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