There is value in understanding the past and how it has affected the present. Science focuses on empirical findings, and we know that our prior experiences and those of our predecessors play important roles in determining how we interpret the present. We learn from accomplishments and foibles of predecessors and appreciate the real life experiences we have gone through. In our studies of the genus Arctostaphylos Adans. we have been struck by the fascinating stories surrounding taxonomists who have played roles in the development of our current understanding of the group. In addition to providing insights, they sometimes provide humor and lessons on the value of competition versus collaboration. We offer this history of the humans that forged the taxonomy behind Arctostaphylos classification in this light.