"Dean of Horticulturalists"
John Caspar Wister was considered the preeminent horticulturalist in the United States in the 1900s. Born in 1887 to the prominent Wister family of Philadelphia, John became interested in horticulture at a young age. He earned degrees from Harvard University and Harvard’s School of Landscape Architecture, and then served time in Europe during World War I, where he continued his interest in plants by using his leave time to visit several European gardens.
Following the War, his research in cross-breeding produced hundreds of new hybrid species of common plants and flowers, which earned him countless awards and honors. John married Gertrude Smith, a fellow horticulturalist, at the age of 73, and died years later at his home in Swarthmore in 1982.