Rolf Singer (1906 - 1994) - a brief biography

The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy, by Rolf Singer

Rolf Singer was born in Germany on 23rd June1906. He studied at the University of Vienna, graduating in chemistry and biology in 1931 and gaining a PhD in 1933, whereupon he moved to Munich. Two years later Singer fled Nazi Germany, returning to Vienna, where he met and married his wife Martha. Austria offerd no long-term refuge, and Singer moved to Spain, where he took up an assistant professorship at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; however, the Spanish authorities were pressed by Germany to force him to leave, and in 1934 Singer moved on, first to France, where he took up a fellowship at the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, in Paris, and then to Russia where he became Senior Scientific Expert at the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad.

In 1941 Rolf Singer emigrated to the United States, where worked at Harvard's Farlow Herbarium for seven years, initially as a research associate and eventually as acting curator. While in the USA Rolf Singer received a Guggenheim Fellowship for studies in Florida, and he taught at the University of Virginia's Mountain Lake Biological Station. In 1948, Singer left Harvard to become professor at the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman in Argentina, and in 1961 he became professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. His last academic appointment was at the Field Museum of Natural History at the University of Illinois, Chicago, from 1968 to 1977. While in Argentina Rolf Singer, his wife Martha and his daughter Heidi were all avid and active fungi collectors.

Rolf Singer died in Chicago on 18th January 1994 at the age of 87.

The abbreviation Singer is used to indicate Rolf Singer as the author when citing a botanical or mycological name.

Major Mycological Works

Interested in fungi from a very early age, by 1922, when he was still only 16 Rolf Singer has already published five papers. Among the vast output (more than 400 publications) that Singer produced is a - Classic tome on gilled mushrooms: Rolf Singer (1986) The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy 4th ed. 981 pp.

Selected Sources:

Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany

Mycological contributions of Rolf Singer; field itinerary, index to new taxa, and list of publications; Gregory M. Mueller and Qiuxin Wu, editors. Published in 1997 by Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

Mueller, Gregory M. 'Rolf Singer, 1906-1994.' Mycologia, 87, no. 1 (1995): pp144-147.

Singer, Martha. 'Glancing Back.' Sydowia beiheft 8 (1979): pp14-25.

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

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