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Collins's Obituary of Holden
ISAAC HOLDEN, son of Samuel and Sally (Brewster) Holden, was born in Preston, Connecticut, June 11, 1832. He entered Dartmouth College as sophomore in the spring of 1850, and was graduated in 1852. For twenty years after his graduation he was engaged in teaching in various places, the longest time being the last, at Clifton, Staten Island, New York, where he made a specialty of preparing young men for college and scientific schools. In 1872 he gave up teaching, and became connected with the Wheeler and Wilson Company, removing in 1878 to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the rest of his life was spent, the last ten years as vice-president of the company, and practically in charge of its business. His death in New York City, June 25, 1903, was the result of an operation, rendered necessary by a severe attack of gall stone just on the eve of a proposed trip to Europe, June 10. He is survived by a wife, two sons and three daughters.
Mr. Holden was a man of strong character, great intellectual ability, absolute integrity, and broad sympathies. He was thoroughly at home in both ancient and modern literature, and corresponded regularly with the company's agents in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy in their own languages. He was familiar with the best English literature of all periods, an excellent mathematician, a lover of good music, and a good amateur player on the violin. He believed in thoroughness in all things and had a strong dislike to shams, whether in high or low position, but was always in sympathy with honest work. He was of a genial character in social relations, and made hosts of friends in every quarter.
His interest in botany was lifelong, but it was only in the last fifteen years of his life that he made systematic collections and notes, chiefly on algae. In the study of these plants he was indefatigable, and had explored every nook and corner of the coast near Bridgeport, as well as the fresh water streams and lakes for a considerable distance inland. In preparing his specimens he had an eye for the aesthetic as well as the scientific value; it would be hard to find specimens of marine algae from any other collector at the same time so scientifically adequate and so beautiful as those that he made. He was one of the three founders of the Phycotheca Boreali-Americana, and many of the best contributions in this work are from him. He was intending to publish a list of the algae of Connecticut, but though his notes and records seem amply sufficient, he delayed it from his desire for almost ideal accuracy and completeness. Hydrocoleum Holdeni Tilden and Gomontia Holdeni Collins, the former a marine, the latter a fresh water alga, both discovered by him in Connecticut, commemorate his work.
He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, and of the New England Botanical Club; and was for eight years president of the Bridgeport Scientific Society. In 1883 he spent six weeks in Florida; though going there on account of his health, his time was spent mostly in studying the land and marine plants; in 1897 he visited Newfoundland, collecting many algae, some of which were distributed in the Phycotheca. A visit to Europe in 1900 was for business and social objects and not connected with botany.
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