H. W. Harkness

Botanist, Academic

1821 – 1901


Who was H. W. Harkness?

Harvey Willson “H.W.” Harkness was an American mycologist and natural historian best known for his early descriptions of California fungal species. Born and raised in Massachusetts and trained as a physician, Harkness came to California during the Gold Rush in 1849. He rose to prominence as physician, educator, real estate developer, and newspaper editor in Sacramento, becoming part of the social circle of early California notables such as Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Collis Huntington, and Mark Hopkins. Harkness was a participant in the ceremony marking the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, representing California and bearing the Golden Spike that was driven by Leland Stanford marking the completion of the railroad.

Having earned a large fortune in Sacramento real estate, Harkness retired his medical practice in 1869 and relocated to San Francisco. There, he joined the faculty of the California Academy of Sciences, becoming its president from 1887–1896. He devoted himself to research into the natural history of the Pacific States, publishing articles on the age of the Lassen Cinder Cone and the nature of the fossil footprints discovered near Carson City, Nevada.

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Sacramento
San Francisco

on July 23, 2013


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"H. W. Harkness." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 27 Jan. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/h_w_harkness>.

Discuss this H. W. Harkness biography with the community:


    Browse Biographies.net