Joel Roberts Poinsett
December 27, 2002 8:48 PM Subscribe
Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first American ambassador to Mexico, Martin Van Buren's Secretary of War, and a founder of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts, which later became the Smithsonian Institute. But his most lasting legacy at Christmastime is as the namesake and American "discoverer" of the poinsettia.
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