Dr. Calderón’s field books in our Smithsonian Institution Archives help us understand what she saw during her travels. These 17 field books created between 1967 and 1981 provide context for the many specimens she observed and collected. Her detailed notes were part of her thorough documentation process, which also included capturing photographs with two cameras. Dr. Calderón recorded taxonomic names of specimens, temperatures, altitude/elevation, flowering, and inflorescence. In 2019, Smithsonian Transcription Center volunteers helped transcribe Dr. Calderón’s field books to make them even more useful to modern researchers.
During her work with the National Museum of Natural History, Dr. Calderón contributed about 1,000 plant specimens to the U.S. National Herbarium and was known for her thoroughness and high-quality pressings. Many have been digitized and are available through the Smithsonian’s Collection Search Center. According to her obituary in Bamboo Science and Culture, her specimens “are of great significance to grass systematics due to both their quality and the large number of novelties represented among them.”
Dr. Calderón also shared her research by co-authoring a number of publications, including two titles in the Smithsonian Contributions to Botany series, available in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Both “Morphological and Anatomical Considerations of the Grass Subfamily Bambusoideae Based on the New Genus Maclurolyra” (1973) and “The Genera of Bambusoideae (Poaceae) of the American Continent: Keys and Comments” (1980) were written with long-time collaborator Thomas Soderstrom.
Dr. Cleofé Calderón left the field of botany in 1985 and began working for a bibliographic service. By then, she had named 18 grass and bamboo species. In addition, one genus of ornamental grass, Calderonella, was named in her honor by Soderstrom and Henry F. Decker. Her specimens, field books, and publications continue to lend valuable insight to modern researchers.
Calderón, Cleofé E. Cleofé E. Calderón Field Books, 1967-1981 and undated. Smithsonian Institution Archives SIA Acc. 12-005.
Calderón, Cleofé E. and Thomas R. Soderstrom. “The Genera of Bambusoideae (Poaceae) of the American Continent: Keys and Comments” , Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, No. 44 (1980).
Calderón, Cleofé E. and Thomas R. Soderstrom. “Morphological and Anatomical Considerations of the Grass Subfamily Bambusoideae Based on the New Genus Maclurolyra” Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, No. 11 (1973).
“Cleofé E. Calderón (1929-2007)”, Bamboo Science and Culture: The Journal of the American Bamboo Society 21(1): 1-8 (2008).
Soderstrom, Thomas R. and Henry F. Decker “Calderonella, a New Genus of Grasses, and Its Relationships to the Centostecoid Genera”, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, v. 60 (1973).