Botanist Alfred Paul Dachnowski (1875–1949) was a major contributor to efforts at mapping organic soils in the United States during the early 20th century. He began his career at The Ohio State University, and spent most of his professional life at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. His work spanned a diversity of topics, including bog ecology and the ecosystem services provided by wetlands, the mapping and chemical characterization of peat, and the commercial applications of peat. We present a biography and overview of his work. Dachnowski is best known today for the peat sampler that bears his name. The details of its operation are described here, and its place in modern peat studies is discussed.