Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Departments and Collections
The Institute's four programmatic departments are
Archives : Collections - Projects - Staff
Art: Collections - Exhibitions - Projects - Staff
Bibliography : Data Files - Projects - Staff
Library : Collections - Projects - Staff
Flora of North America (FNA)
The departments provide reference services and make the research collections accessible to others. Each collection is available for on-site use, by prior appointment and subject to restrictions placed upon materials by donors or by the Institute. The Library is open Monday through Friday for on-site use; readers' hours are 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., or contact the librarians for morning appointments.
The Institute's Archives department identifies, locates, acquires, documents and preserves the evidence of past and present activities of individuals and institutions in the development of plant science worldwide. The Archives includes 29,000+ individual and group portraits, 2,000+ autograph letters and manuscripts, and other materials by and about botanists and others working in the plant sciences, including horticulturists, ecologists, natural scientists, botanical artists and illustrators, and botanical organizations.
The collection features:
- Over 300 collections of the personal papers of botanists and botanical artists from all parts of the world during the 19th and 20th centuries. See our Archives Collections List on the graphics site for an index.
- Manuscripts, letters, papers, journals, drawings, and photographs
- Portraits (engravings and photographs) of botanists and botanical artists
- Citations of published autobiographical and biographical accounts from around the world, throughout the history of botany
- Institutional and society papers including those of the Botanical Society of America, Pacific Section (19331936, 19391941); Eleventh International Botanical Congress (1969); American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists; and the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, Committee on Fossil Plants; and the Escuela Agricola Panamericana (19411985)
- Biographical files: reprints of biographical articles and curricula vitae of botanists and botanical artists
- Oral history interviews and their transcriptions
- Michel Adanson Library
The Institute is incorporating data from the Archives' master biographical file in an electronic database, and an accompanying publication, a multi-volume Biographical register of botany, is in preparation.
If you work in botany and would be willing to contribute professional information about yourself, click here to download in PDF format one of our Biographical Record forms. The information you send will help us ensure that our efforts to document the history of botany are as thorough as possible. Please mail the completed form, a curriculum vitae and any photographs to the Archivist.
A detailed synopsis of holdings in the Archives, Guide to the Botanical Records and Papers in the Archives of the Hunt Institute, is being published in parts and is currently done through Part 3.
A consolidated catalogue of the portrait collections of Hunt Institute, the Linnean Society of London and the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques at Geneva, titled Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists, Mostly Botanists, in the Collections of the Hunt Institute, The Linnean Society of London, and the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, is also being published in parts and is currently done through Part 3.
The Art department holdings include over 29,270 original paintings (mostly 20th-century watercolors), drawings and original prints dating from the Renaissance to the present. These holdings constitute one of the world's largest collections of botanical art and illustration. The department serves as an international center for the study of botanical art and illustration, acting as a repository for botanical artworks, providing access to information on artists working with plant themes and worldwide holdings of botanical art, and organizing and staging exhibitions.
Unlike many scientific institutions with holdings in the art of natural history, the Hunt Institute actively seeks to assemble a broad representation of contemporary works, from the strictly scientific to the more intentionally decorative. In many cases these works have been reproduced in some published medium. The Institute encourages accomplished artists working in this field, and their publishers, to deposit representative works in its collection for documentation, preservation, reference, study and, as appropriate, display in a program of major exhibitions and travel shows. Complementing the art collection are the Institute's Library and Archives departments. The Library's holdings are rich in the great illustrated works of the 17th to the 19th centuries. The Archives maintains extensive biographical records and a large iconographic collection that include data on and portraits of botanical artists past and present. The art collection serves as a reference and source of inspiration for botanists, natural historians, artists and art historians; as a storehouse of subjects for reproduction by writers and publishers; and as a major resource for research on botanical art and on related subjects such as the histories of printing and book illustration.
The nucleus of the collection was assembled by Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt (18821963), who aspired to own an original work by every artist represented in her rich botanical library. After Mrs. Hunt and her husband, Roy A. Hunt, founded the Institute (first known as the Hunt Botanical Library) in 1961, the care and growth of the art collection became the responsibility of John V. Brindle (19111991). Brindle was recognized around the world as an authority on botanical art and illustration from the 20th century. During Brindle's 20-year tenure as curator of art, he inaugurated the International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration, organizing the first four Internationals. James J. White joined the Institute in 1978 as the assistant curator of art, becoming the curator in 1981. During his 32 years at the Institute, White refined the standard of excellence set by Brindle, overseeing eight Internationals, dozens of exhibitions and numerous catalogues.
The art collection contains varied holdings by the following:
Elfriede Abbe (1919)
James Bolton (17351799)
Andrew P. Brown (1948)
Richard Crist (19091985)
Edward Donovan (17681837)
E. Duncombe (early 19th century)
Walter Hood Fitch (18171892)
Laura Louise Foster (19181988)
Magdalena Rosina Funck (after, late 18th century)
Josiah Galleymore (18011868)
Janice Glimn-Lacy (1935)
James Goddard (late 18th century)
Damodar Lal Gurjar (1958)
John Hutchinson (18841972)
Johann Knapp (17781833)
Job Kuijt (1930)
Paul Landacre (18931963)
John Lindley (17991865)
Warren B. Mack (18691952)
Yoshikawa Matsumura (19061967)
Roderick (Rory) McEwen (19321982)
Seifuku Okada (19th century)
Marilena Pistoia (1933)
Jean Louis Marie Poiret (17551834)
Caroline M. Preston (active 19181920)
Pierre-Joseph Redouté (17591840)
Hendrik R. Rypkema (1940)
Christian Schkuhr (17411811)
Eugeni Sierra-Rafols (19191999)
Lilian Snelling (18791972)
James Sowerby (17571822)
Johann Friedrich Starke (18021872)
Henry Stempen (19242001)
E. Margaret Stones (1920)
Geraldine King Tam (1920)
Alice R. Tangerini (1949)
John Tyley (early 19th century)
John Wilkinson (1934)
Augusta Innes Withers (ca.17931860)
Kokei or Kodo Yoshikawa (19th century).
The collection also includes decorative, horticultural and non-botanical artworks as well as several individual artist and special botanical collections:
Harry Ardell Allard Collection
Fannie Elisabeth Waugh Davis Collection
Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden Collection
Georg Dionys Ehret Collection
Andreas Friedrich Happe Collection
Hitchcock-Chase Collection of Grass Drawings
Margaret Mee Collection
Gilbert M. Smith Collection
Isaac Sprague Collection
Torner Collection of Sessé and Mociño Biological Illustrations
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Collection
Wall Chart Collection
Frederick Andrews Walpole Collection.
For information about current and upcoming exhibitions, please see News and Events.
The art collection is fully catalogued and is available as a searchable database on the graphics site to which images are being added for uncolored, pre-1900, out-of-copyright and public domain artworks.
A database has been added to the graphics site for the Register of Original Botanical Art which attempts to record the location of works from any time period done in traditional media such as watercolor, pastel, ink or pencil mostly in public collections.
A supplement/revision of Plant, Animal & Anatomical Illustration in Art & Science: A Bibliographical Guide from the 16th Century to the Present Day, co-authored with bibliographer Gavin Bridson, is in preparation.
The Institute established the International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration series in 1964 with the hope of supporting and encouraging contemporary botanical artists. Every three years, the International series attracts talented botanical artists from around the world. Collectively, the catalogues from the International exhibitions contain the most comprehensive record available of 20th-century botanical artists and illustrators.
The Institute's Bibliography department identifies, locates and examines the literature of the plant sciences to make records of essential information from which bibliographical tools can be created and published.These records enable the plant scientist, historian, plant utilizer, educator or general reader to retrieve and exploit the intellectual content of the literature.
The Bibliography department maintains comprehensive data files (243,000+) on the history and bibliography of botanical literature. Data files include the following:
- Title-list of all life-sciences periodicals that include botanical literature, or material that might reasonably be consulted in the course of a wide spectrum of plant-science activities, including historical and bibliographical research.
- Author-arranged bibliographical files of plant-science books and periodical articles, published in the period 17301840.
- Author-arranged file of references to contemporary reviews and announcements of plant-science books published in the period 17301840.
- Bibliography of secondary literature relating to life-sciences periodicals, including bibliographies, catalogues, histories, indexes, etc.
- Bibliography of reference literature on the plant sciences, especially descriptive botany, including directories, current-awareness aids, bibliographies, catalogues, etc.
- Bibliography of the instructive literature on natural-history illustration (including photography), 1450present, together with literature on the history of natural-history art and illustration, biographies of artists, catalogues of collections, etc.
- Directory of natural-history manuscript, library and graphics resources in North American institutions.
- Index to information about the preservation or dispersal of past naturalists' personal libraries.
- Historical directory of graphic-arts printing firms and related specialists working in the British Isles, 17501900, including business history, personnel, processes operated, equipment used, work shown at major exhibitions, contributions to technical literature, details of printed work (especially book illustration), secondary literature, etc.
- Biographical index to printmakers working in the British Isles, 17501900.
Among the bibliographies prepared from our files is the fully revised BPH-2: Periodicals with Botanical Content, which is a second edition of Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum, that is now also available as a database. BPH Online is composed of the datasets used to create the print editions of Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum, its supplement, and BPH-2. BHP Online is essentially a Web-based version of BPH-2, with some corrections, and searching and browsing options intended to make it more interrogable. BPH Online is a living document that will be updated and revised continually.
In October 2008 The Linnean Society of London published the second edition of Gavin D. R. Bridson’s The History of Natural History: An Annotated Bibliography. Published in 1994 by Garland Publishing, the first edition was the first such guide to this rapidly growing field of historical study. The second edition includes over 5,300 additional references and remains an essential source of information for scientists, researchers and enthusiastic amateurs. Gavin Bridson’s long career in natural history began in 1962 at the London antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch and continued as Assistant Librarian (19631966) and Librarian (19661969) of the Department of Zoology at the British Museum (Natural History) [now The Natural History Museum in London], as Librarian and Archivist (19691981) at The Linnean Society of London, and as Bibliographer and Principal Research Scholar (19822008) at the Hunt Institute. Sadly, Bridson (19362008) passed away in January while the second edition was in press. For more information and to order a copy of the book, see The Linnean Society’s Web site.
A supplement/revision of Plant, Animal & Anatomical Illustration in Art & Science, co-authored with Curator of Art James White, is in preparation.
"Naturalists' Libraries: A Provisional Record of the Dispersal & Preservation of Privately Formed Collections" is nearing completion; Ian Jackson is co-author.
Other works in preparation are "Graphic-Arts Printers: A Historical Directory of Printing Firms & Related Specialists in the British Isles, 17501900," "Guide to Reference Sources for Botanists, a Handbook for Botanists and Special Librarians," and "Literature of Life-Sciences Periodicals."
The Library identifies, acquires, conserves, catalogues, and otherwise provides access to published materials relating to botany and its history, with an emphasis on systematics. Known for its collection of historical works on botany, the Library is a non-circulating research collection consulted by the Institute's staff, visiting scholars and the public. The collection features 30,150 book and serial titles that date from the late 1400s and focus on the development of botany as a science and includes modern taxonomic monographs, floristic works and serial titles in the plant sciences.
Highlights of the collection include:
- Early herbals and taxonomic works
- Early horticultural works
- Early florilegia
- Color-plate books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries
- Accounts of travel and exploration relating to plant discovery
- Books of and about botanical art and illustration
- Floras from all over the world
- Selected taxonomic works
- Important publications in the history of botany from the 16th to early 19th centuries
- Selected works in medical botany, economic botany, landscape architecture, and a number of other plant-related topics
- Catalogue of the Hunt Institute's Library Cameo, the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries' online catalogue, contains records from all of the Carnegie Mellon campus libraries, including those of Hunt Institute, and can be accessed at http://cameo.library.cmu.edu. In the Cameo search window, choose "Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation" as the library to search. Some works are held by multiple libraries on campus. Items tagged HIBD indicate that the item is in Hunt Institute's Library. Items tagged HUNT are in Carnegie Mellon's Hunt Library, which is the campus's arts and social sciences library.
An earlier, partial catalogue was published in 19581961. The Catalogue of Botanical Books in the Collection of Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt is a well-known catalogue of some of the most important works in Rachel Hunt’s collection. It is now out of print but is available in many libraries, and it is a standard reference work for bibliographers and booksellers. The Hunt Catalogue provides a detailed bibliographic record of 800 rare publications, mostly botanical, from Rachel Hunt's library
- Strandell Collection of Linnaeana
- Michel Adanson Library
- Digital copies of selected books from our LibraryWe have begun digitizing selected published works that are unique, rare, unusual, or otherwise special. The titles below are available as PDFs on our graphics site.
Account of 814 Plants & Insects, Most of Which Are Reckoned Medicinal by the Chinese (ca.1800)
Friedrich von Berchtold and Jan Svatopluk Presl, O Prirozenosti Rostlin aneb Rostlinár (18231835)
John Ellis, Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants (1770)
François L'Anglois, Livre de Fleurs (1620)
Hunt Institute is participating in an international, collaborative project to create Linnaeus Link, a Web-based resource that will eventually include an international union catalogue of Linnaean collections, a bibliography of Linnaean works, biographical information on Linnaeus and his circle, digital access to core published works, and other components.
The Hunt Institute Library is a member of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL). CBHL is an international organization of individuals, organizations and institutions concerned with the development, maintenance and use of libraries of botanical and horticultural literature.
Flora of North America (FNA)
Major involvement in the Flora of North America (FNA) project is a notable component of the Institute's long-term research program. This bi-nationally collaborative endeavor, undertaken by a consortium of 30 institutions and hundreds of botanists, was initiated by the Hunt Institute and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The Flora of North America presents for the first time, in one comprehensive source, information on the names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions, and morphological characteristics of all of the more than 20,000 species of plants native to or naturalized in North America north of Mexico. The volumes include scientific and common plant names, illustrations, identification keys, descriptions, distribution maps, and other biological information. The Flora is an authoritative resource for those working in the fields of conservation, agriculture, natural resource management, zoology, environmental assessment, and medical research, as well as in botany itself.
The Flora will appear in 30 volumes and will be available in print and on the Web. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 1993, Volume 3 in 1997, Volume 22 in 2000, Volumes 23 and 26 in 2002, Volumes 4 and 25 in 2003, Volume 5 in 2004, and Volumes 19, 20, and 21 (the Asteraceae volumes) as a set in 2006, and Volumes 24 and 27 in 2007. All are available from Oxford University Press (OUP). Volumes 7, 8, 9 and 28 are scheduled to appear in 2009. The project's goal is to complete all 30 volumes by 2012.
The Hunt Institute is home to one of several FNA editorial centers in the United States and Canada, and processes treatments of vascular plants for various volumes. Most recently the Institute handled Volume 8 and will soon begin processing Volume 6.
The Institute’s director, Robert Kiger, is lead editor at the center, as well as bibliographic and taxon editor for the project, and a member of the Flora of North America Association’s Executive Committee, Editorial Management Committee, and Board of Directors. As bibliographic editor, he is building an associated comprehensive bibliographic database. His taxon editing duties have included coordinating the treatments of families and genera in the orders Papaverales and Liliales.
Also contributing to the Flora is the Institute’s assistant director, Terry Jacobsen. He and Dale McNeal, a colleague at the University of the Pacific, prepared the treatment of Allium (onions and their relatives), the native species of which are widely distributed throughout the continent; there are approximately 90 species and varieties in the flora area.
Senior technical editor Mary Ann Schmidt is responsible for applying the project’s specialized formatting, style, and usage standards to manuscripts being edited for the Flora.
The Institute published the Categorical Glossary for the Flora of North America Project, by Robert Kiger and Duncan Porter, in 2001. This indispensable resource is the FNA standard for terminology and definitions. The glossary is also available as a searchable database.
If you would like to know more about the Flora of North America project, see the FNA home page.
Angela L. Todd
Archivist & Senior Research Scholar
Lugene B. Bruno
Curator of Art & Senior Research Scholar
Bibliographer & Senior Research Scholar
Charlotte A. Tancin
Librarian & Principal Research Scholar
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