Leo Lesquereux

Leo Lesquereux was born on November 18, 1806 in Fleurier, Canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland.  He liked to go on adventures in the mountains and woods.  He became deaf because he fell off a mountain when he was seven.  They named the mountain “Lesquereux’s Cliff.”

Picture Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Picture Courtesy of Neuchatel Junior College

He went to the College of Neuchatel.  He became a French professor.  For a short time he was also a principal.  After getting sick Lesquereux decided to join the family business and make watches.

Even though being a scientist was not his job he still liked to study the outdoors.  Lesquereux became an expert on the plants in his town and areas around his town.  He became interested in bogs.  He studied two kinds, the Red bog and the Devil’s bog.  He discovered how to improve his countries fuel supply.  He wrote a paper about it. The paper was honored by the government.

Red Bog

Picture Courtesy of


Picture Courtesy of Quadell

Because of war he moved to America.  It was hard for him to find a job because he was deaf.  He worked for a short time for Louis Agassiz. Lesquereux helped him study plants.  He also helped William Sullivant collect the information for two papers about moss.  He wrote his own papers too.

After that he took a new job where he studied coal plants.  He also searched for new plants.  One time he discovered 110 plants.  Later he wrote a book where he described 900 different kinds of moss.  He also spent time naming fossils.  Some of the fossils he named can now be seen at the Smithsonian Museum of National History.  He wrote over 50 different papers while he was alive. 

Picture Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Picture Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

After he got older it became hard for him to see.  He could read lips in English, French, and German. He also used his voice.  Lesquereux’s work can be found all over the world in museums.  Some even call him the founder of fossil botany in America.

He died on October 25, 1889 in Columbus, Ohio. 


Web Links


Lang, H. G., & Meath-Lang, B. (1995). Leo Lesquereux.  In A Biographical Dictionary: Deaf Persons in the Arts and Sciences   
(pp.224-228). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.