Patterson was the first woman mycologist at the USDA. She began working with the Bureau of Plant Industry in Washington, DC, in 1896. Her career focused on systematics research of plant-pathogenic fungi and inspection of agricultural commodities. Patterson had a very broad knowledge of fungi and spent most of her career managing and contributing to a fungal collection. She helped to develop and added more than 90,000 specimens to the U.S. National Fungus Collections (now the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service).
(Submitted for publication in July 2008.)