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Botany and History Entwined: Rachel Hunt’s Legacy

Botany and History Entwined: Rachel Hunt’s Legacy

By Charlotte A. Tancin, Lugene B. Bruno, Angela L. Todd and Donald W. Brown. 2011. 98 pp.; 147 color figs.; 8 x 8”; 11 oz. Pictorial stiff paper cover, $22.00 plus shipping and handling. ISBN 978-0-913196-85-4.

This catalogue accompanies Botany and History Entwined: Rachel Hunt’s Legacy, an exhibition celebrating Hunt Institute’s 50th anniversary and running from 16 September to 15 December 2011. What is now known as Hunt Institute was dedicated in 1961 by Roy and Rachel Hunt as the Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library. However, this new library would not only house the collection Rachel had spent a lifetime assembling but also utilize that collection for research in the history of botany. As a girl Rachel developed a love for nature and books that grew into a lifelong passion for books about plants, gardens and botany and eventually extended to botanical portraits, letters, manuscripts and artworks. When it came time to donate the collection, it not only reflected the interests of one woman but also mirrored the various aspects of the history of botany. This exhibition catalogue shows the depth and breadth of Rachel’s collection as well as how it has been augmented over the years and how it is utilized and remains relevant for research today.



The catalogue begins with a foreword by Hunt Institute Director Robert W. Kiger. The following biographical material about Rachel Hunt traces her early interest in books to her years spent as a bookbinder to her development as a collector. The catalogue is then divided into sections reflecting Rachel’s collecting interests: the history of the herbal, the development of gardens and garden plants, the foundation of botany as a science and the botanical discoveries made through travel and exploration. The catalogue concludes with the founding of Hunt Botanical Library and the resulting Hunt Institute with descriptions of its four departments.

The catalogue text was written by Librarian Charlotte A. Tancin, Curator of Art Lugene B. Bruno, Archivist Angela L. Todd and Bibliographer Donald W. Brown. Ms. Bruno also designed the catalogue, and Graphics Manager Frank A. Reynolds did the reproduction photography with the Sony A900 digital camera. The catalogue was printed on mixed sources paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.


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