Boojum Bob's Boojum (AKA The Boojum at Herring Hall), by Bill Thornton

The story of Bob's boojum begins more than a half century ago.  The journey to its current home in front of Herring Hall begins in Baja California on one of the Humphrey family's annual trips over Christmas vacation. Bob's daughter Shirley recalled camping under the stars or in occasionally torrential rains.  On one trip their VW van was parked on high ground in the middle of a dry lake that filled up after a heavy rain.  Nothing to do but wait for the water to go down. As a result, days were spent gathering data that eventually was used for Dr. Robert Humphrey's book "The Boojum and it's Home". This book is still recognized as the definitive work on this fascinating plant.


Over the years a few field collected plants made the return trip to Tucson. When Shirley married Carl Schoof, a potted boojum moved with them to Palo Alto, CA.  After 30 years at Stanford University, Carl and Shirley retired and returned to Tucson bringing the boojum with them.  THe potted plant spent a year being cared for in Bill Thornton's residence before Shirley decided to have it donated in 2004 to the UA Campus Arboretum. 





Photos: (Left) Dr. Robert R. Humphrey Feb. 2002. (Right) Carl and Shirley's potted boojum at their Tucson home before the plant was donated to the UA Campus Arboretum.


Saguaro mover Jim Ingram generously donated his time and truck to deliver the boojum to it's new home in front of Herring Hall.










Photos: (Left) Loading for delivery to its new home. (Right) Armando of Catalina Cactus, Libby Davison Director UA Campus Arboretum, and Jim Ingram of Catalina Cactus on the UA campus near Herring Hall. 


A few weeks later Herring Hall was formally dedicated as the new home for the UA Herbarium in a ceremony attended by then Congressman Jim Kolbe, many dignitaries, and Shirley and her siblings Beth, Lois, and Alan.  They were pleased to note that Bob's Boojum was easily visible from his old office on the second floor of the Forbes Building.








Photos: (Left) Bob Humphrey's Family (left to right) Grandson Ross Humphrey, Daughters Shirley Schoof and Beth Grady, Son Alan Humphrey, and daughter Lois Angus. (Right) Congressman Jim Kolbe speaking in front of Herring Hall for its rededication in 2004. 



From Baja, to Tucson, to Palo Alto, to Carl and Shirley's Tucson home, to the UA campus, Bob's boojum has found a permanent home as a living memorial to the man who "wrote the book" on the species!
















Photos: (Left) Tribute plaque installed at Bob Humphrey's boojum, northwest of Herring Hall. (Right) The boojum installed in 2004 to honor Dr. Robert R. Humphrey growing nearly 4' tall in June 2021.