S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Pole-Evans (2), Mrs Mary Ross Hall (botany, mycology)

Born: 1896, Kilbarchan, near Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Died: 30 May 1975, Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Mary R.H. Thomson received her secondary schooling at the Good Hope Seminary in Cape Town and passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1912. She continued her studies at the South African College (which later became the University of Cape Town) and was awarded the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with honours in botany by the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1915. In collaboration with Professor H.H.W. Pearson*, head of the Department of Botany at the South African College, she published a paper, 'On some stages in the life history of Gnetum' in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa (1917, Vol. 6, pp. 231-270).

In 1919 Thomson was appointed in the Division of Plant Pathology and Mycology of the Department of Agriculture in Pretoria, under Mr Illtyd B. Pole-Evans*. They were married in 1922, and had two children. From this time Mary published under her married name. As co-author to her husband she published a paper on 'Rise in temperature of living plant tissue when infected by parasitic fungus' (Nature, 1922, Vol. 110, pp. 480-481). The next year she produced two papers on rusts in South Africa: 'A sketch of the life-cycle of the rust on Besem Grass and wild Sweet Pea' (Department of Agriculture, Science Bulletin No. 1, 1923) and 'A sketch of the life-cycle of the rust on mealie and Oxalis' (Ibid, No. 2, 1923).

In 1955 Pole-Evans settled in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe), where her husband died in 1968. She remained there for the rest of her life.

List of sources:

Bottomley, A.M. The development of South African mycology and of the Mycological Herbarium at Pretoria. South African Journal of Science, 1929, Vol. 26, pp. 326-331.

Google Scholar, at http://scholar.google.co.za Publication by I.B. Pole-Evans and M. Pole-Evans.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 9301/75. Death notice, Mary Ross Hall Pole-Evans.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Mary Ross Hall Pole-Evans.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1917/8, Vol. 6, paper by Pearson and Thomson.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1913/4, 1916/7, 1917/8.

Compiled by: C. Plug