Kern, Frank D. (1883-1973) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Born in 1883 on a farm near Reinbeck, Iowa, Kern was the youngest of four. His twin brothers, who were 12 years older than him, and his sister, two years older, all attended the University of Iowa. Frank Kern followed in 1900. During the winter term of his senior year, Kern learned that a Professor Arthur, of Purdue University, needed a research assistant. Arthur worked with rusts, a type of fungus. In his memoirs, Kern writes, "It turned out that Dr. Arthur was visiting his mother, who was then living in Iowa. It was arranged that I should go to Chicago and that he would meet me on a 9 o'clock Big Four train and we would get acquainted on the three and a half hour trip to Lafayette, Indiana. There began an association which was to last for years. We took many trips together, in this country, to Europe, and to Puerto Rico."
Kern left Purdue in 1913 and was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Botany at the Pennsylvania State College on July 1, 1913. He retired in 1950 with the status of dean emeritus and professor emeritus of botany, having served as dean for 28 years.
Shortly before his death on September 28, 1973, Kern published the book on his life's work, A Revised Taxonomic Account of Gynmosporangium . Although his older brothers had accused him of laziness on the home farm, Kern published 140 articles; of those 88 are scientific in nature. He also described and named approximately 100 specimens of fungus.