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Biographical details are given for John Theodore Buchholz (1888–1951), including his interest in conifers of California and New Caledonia. Buchholz made detailed studies of the vegetative morphology, reproductive morphology, and embryology of Sequoiadendron giganteum and Sequoia sempervirens prior to his 1939 segregation of Sequoiadendron from Sequoia. Buchholz, a professor at the University of Illinois (1929–1951), spent spring and summer of his 1936 sabbatical in California. Description of Buchholz's technique for morphological collections provides valuable information about his itineraries and his herbarium collections of S. giganteum in 1936. Buchholz also spent the summers of 1940, 1942, and 1944 in California collecting Sequoiadendron (1940) and cultivated material of Podocarpus (1942), as well as investigating Pinus (1942, 1944). Information sources included: obituaries and other biographical accounts of Buchholz and his students, labels of his herbarium collections, 55 letters archived at the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Illinois, and Buchholz's extensive bibliography on gymnosperms (57 titles, including those of his student Netta Elizabeth Gray, 1913–1970). Publications with available PDFs allowed systematic searching of relevant dates and text strings.