Jacobs was born in Adelaide, SA, on 25 February 1905 and died in Canberra, ACT, on 9 October 1979.
He was one of the first post-graduate students at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute of the University of Adelaide. Later he received a Commonwealth of Australia Scholarship, which led to further studies at Oxford and at Tharandt in Saxony, and subsequently a Commonwealth Fund of New York Fellowship, when he worked at Yale University.
With the exception of war service and missions for F.A.O. he spent his career from 1926 to 1970 in the Australian Public Service. He started as a forest assessor and for a short time (1928-29) was Chief Forester in the Australian Capital Territory; from 1934 to 1939 he was a research officer for the Forestry and Timber Bureau and a lecturer at the Australian Forestry School. From the end of 1944 to 1959 he was principal and lecturer in silviculture at the Australian Forestry School and then Director- General of the Bureau (1960-70). He has written extensively, especially about the genus Eucalyptus, two of the more important works being Growth Habits of the Eucalypts (1955) and, from the point of view of this biography, A Survey of the Genus Eucalyptus in the Northern Territory (1934), which was the result of his reconnaissance there during 1933 and subsequent collaboration with W. F. Blakely (q.v.) on the taxonomic aspects of the genus. All the type specimens associated with him were collected in northern Australia.
Dr Jacobs was awarded the Jolly Medal of the Institute of Foresters of Australia in 1962 and is an honorary member of the New Zealand Institute of Foresters and the Society of American Foresters. Apart from being active in the promotion of forestry in Australia, he was Chairman of the Timber Industries Committee of the Standards Association of Australia (1966-69). His other interests include being President of the Agricultural Section of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science and President of the Royal Society of Canberra. Early in his career he was one of a small group who formed the Institute of Foresters of Australia and was a signatory of the Articles of Association.
He is honoured in the name Eucalyptus jacobsiana, Blakely (1934) and is also collector of the type.Source: Extracted from: Hall, N. (1978) Botanists of the eucalypts. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne.