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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.

Title page, Kaspar Bauhin's [Pinax] theatri botanici (Basel, Joannis Regis, 1671). HI Library call no. CA B346P 671.


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 1730–1840.
Author-arranged file of references to contemporary reviews and announcements of plant-science books published in the period 1730–1840.
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), 1450-present, 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, 1750–1900, 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, 1750–1900.


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 (1963–1966) and Librarian (1966–1969) of the Department of Zoology at the British Museum (Natural History) [now The Natural History Museum in London], as Librarian and Archivist (1969–1981) at The Linnean Society of London, and as Bibliographer and Principal Research Scholar (1982–2008) at the Hunt Institute. Sadly, Bridson (1936–2008) 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. In addition to the ever-growing body of secondary historical, critical, bibliographical, and biographical scholarship on natural-history and human anatomical illustration, this publication includes a comprehensive listing of primary instructional or "how-to-draw" books as well as of non-scientific iconographical or "pattern" books published for artists and designers.

An A–Z list of over 2,250 natural-history libraries privately assembled by naturalists and book collectors over the past three centuries, with information about the ultimate fate of each collection, is being compiled by Mr. Bridson and Mr. Ian Jackson. "Naturalists' Libraries: A Provisional Record of the Dispersal & Preservation of Privately Formed Collections" includes notes on the survival of whole or part collections in present-day libraries, dates of auction sales, relevant bookdealer's or auction catalogues, marks of ownership, and literature references. An introduction discusses the kinds of private natural-history libraries, bibliophilic collections versus naturalists' working libraries, naturalists' reprints collections, the fate of personal libraries, the value of surviving private libraries, sources of evidence and information, the documentation of dispersals, bibliographic sources of information, and the arrangement of entries.

"Graphic-Arts Printers: A Historical Directory of Printing Firms & Related Specialists Working in the British Isles—1750–1900" is a selected A–Z list of over 1,000 printing firms who made a speciality of printing "pictures," in the form of book illustrations, prints, maps, greeting cards, posters, advertising matter, etc., in color or monochrome, utilizing relief, planograph, intaglio, photomechanical, and other processes, and including firms working on related specialities such as electrotyping and photo-process engraving. Outline information for each firm includes data on the firm's business history, personnel, printing processes operated and patents associated herewith, printing and allied equipment, specimens of printed work exhibited at major exhibitions, contributions to the literature of printing technology, select lists of their productions (with special emphasis on book illustration, and with particular regard to natural history), and references consulted. Necessary indexing of persons, processes, equipment and book titles is provided.

Other works in preparation are "Guide to Reference Sources for Botanists, a Handbook for Botanists and Special Librarians," and "Literature of Life-Sciences Periodicals."

Donating to Bibliography

Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt's botanical collections of books, art, manuscripts, and portraits are known for their depth and fine quality, reflecting her enthusiasm and expertise in plants, gardens, books, and history. She was determined that her collections be "living" resources—not only preserved but also curated actively and used productively in the service of science and scholarship. To those ends, we continue to develop and enhance the collections at Hunt Institute, working to make them accessible and to preserve them for the future. We have an international audience and a small but growing group of interested donors. You can help to strengthen our collections and programs through material and/or monetary gifts.

Donor Recognition
We gratefully recognize donations in a variety of ways, such as with a letter of thanks, mention in our Bulletin and on our Web site, and through the use of donor bookplates. Of course, donors who wish to remain anonymous could be listed as such or may decline any official mention.

Material Gifts
While Hunt Institute has most necessary retrospective botanical and natural history bibliographies, which are catalogued within our Library holdings, we would like to acquire some serial bibliographies of botany, such as:
Just, Leopold, ed. Botanischer Jahresbericht, systematisch geordnetes Repertorium der botanischen Literatur aller Länder. Berlin: Gebrüder Bornträger, vols. 1–10, 1873–1882. Continued as: Just’s botanischer Jahresbericht: Systematisch geordnetes Repertorium der botanischen Litteratur aller Länder. Berlin, Leipzig: Gebrüder Bornträger, vols. 11–67 [vol. 67 incomplete], 1886–1944.

Botanisches Centralblatt (Zentralblatt): Referiendes Organ für das Gesamtgebiet der Botanik des In- und Auslandes (subtitle varies). Cassel, Jena, G. Fischer, vols. 1–179(8), 1880–1945. (Section: Neue Literatur. 1902–1944, vols. 91–179(8) [pub. suspended 1920–1921]).

Excerpta botanica. Sectio A: Taxonomica et chorologica. 1959+. Stuttgart: G. Fischer, vols. 1–55, 1959–1998.

Scheele, M., & G. Natalis, eds. 1981–1982. Biologie-Dokumentation: Bibliographie der Deutschen biologischen Zeitschriftenliteratur 1796–1965. Munich [etc.]: K. G. Saur. 24 vols.

Donor Arrangements
Material not suitable for the collections will be returned promptly to the donor, or the donor can choose for the Institute to sell the items to raise funds, to offer them to another library, or (for published materials) to include them in the Institute's duplicate sales.

We are happy to provide a letter of acknowledgment and a list of the material received, along with short descriptions if needed, but we are not permitted by the IRS, nor are we sufficiently knowledgeable, to make appraisals on items donated to us. If you have retained the purchase receipts connected with your gift(s), these might serve your tax purposes in lieu of an appraisal.

Monetary Gifts
Monetary donations to Hunt Institute are tax-deductible. Monetary gifts may be applied to our general operating fund or to the endowment generously established by the Roy A. Hunt Foundation to provide ongoing support for Hunt Institute. Donations for the work of the Bibliography Department might be applied to the purchase of reference works or to special project support, such as equipment or software, technical consultants, or additional project staff to do scanning, indexing, data input, transcription, or translation. If you would like to expedite a current project or enable us to begin one, please let us know. Special project support is always welcome.

Memorial Gifts
Memorial gifts are also welcome. For example, books purchased through your contribution can be marked with a donor bookplate upon request, acknowledging your gift in memory of or on behalf of someone.

Other Types of Contributions
There are other ways that you can help. Take our biographical record forms to distribute at scientific or botanical art meetings and help swell our biographical files. If you see botanical biographies and obituaries, drop a note to our Archivist about them. Send us notices about botanists that appear in newspapers, magazines and other regional or non-botanical publications. If you know of a group that will be meeting in or visiting Pittsburgh, suggest that they contact us about a group visit to Hunt Institute.

Please don't hesitate to confer with us about any proposed gift, including its use and acknowledgment. We appreciate your involvement, and we thank you for your interest.


Donald Brown
Bibliographer & Senior Research Scholar


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