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Flora of North America



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.


Joseph Rock in royal costume, by anonymous photographer. HI Archives portrait no. 20.


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 for a partial 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 (1933–1936, 1939–1941); 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 (1941–1985)
Biographical files: reprints of biographical articles and curricula vitae of botanists and botanical artists
Oral history interviews and their transcriptions

Michel Adanson Library, consisting of annotated books, letters, manuscripts, certificates, official documents, drawings, and maps by Adanson, his plate collection, herbarium specimens, portraits, and "objets de botanique."



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 below to download 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.

 Biographical Record  


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.

Angela Todd, archivist at the Hunt Institute, and Douglas Holland, archivist at Missouri Botanical Garden, created the archival exhibit Fragments from the Botanical Frontier: Cultural History from Archives for the XVI International Botanical Congress in August 1999. The exhibit explored how botany was executed in the westward-moving North American frontier and the importance of archives in documenting that history. The exhibit is now on the Web and is accessible through our Online Exhibitions page.

Special Services

Locating copies of portraits
Supplying biographical information about individuals in the plant sciences
Providing information about and referrals to repositories for botanists' papers (including serving as a repository of alternate resort)


Donating to Archives

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
In addition to documenting the history of botany, the papers of all workers in botany flesh out socio-historical contexts, such as how research groups were organized, educated and funded; how research was linked to prevailing philosophies and economic needs; or how social networks helped women or African-Americans enter scientific fields. Donate your papers to an archive and make your mark on history.

For individual archival collections, we do consider ourselves a repository of alternate resort. Botanists’ papers will most easily be found if housed at the subject's primary place of employment. If that place doesn't have an archive or is not a good "fit," please feel free to call our Archivist to discuss placement or to ask for our brochure on preserving botanical source materials.

Our archival collections typically include personal and professional correspondence, teaching and research materials, laboratory and field notebooks, photographs, and some family materials. We cannot curate oil paintings, prepared plant specimens or slides, or large collections of reprints. Regarding other formats, please consult our Archivist. If you are considering a specific gift, please describe it to us before sending it so that we can consider it for inclusion in our collection.

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. In addition to building the collections, gifts can be used for archival storage supplies, conservation and repair of collection material, digitizing and databasing projects, and production of publications. 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.

If you prefer to specify how your donation is applied, consider these possibilities in preservation, restoration or digitization.

Subsidize the preservation or conservation of your donated papers or other archival materials in which you are interested. As little as $100 can ensure that your collection is immediately housed in acid-free boxes and folders.
Dedicate your gift for items that require repair, rebinding or restoration.
Provide a custom-made book box ($35–$200).
Restore a photograph.
Contribute toward the costs of an outside vendor to perform a restoration or to the general purchase of archival supplies. These gifts stabilize collections and keep them accessible to researchers.
Contribute to digitization and database projects, where funds might be used for equipment, software, technical consultants, or additional project staff to do scanning, indexing, data input, transcription, or translation.

Ronald L. Stuckey Endowment for the Preservation of Botanical History
In 2003 Dr. Ronald L. Stuckey, professor emeritus of botany at The Ohio State University, established the Ronald L. Stuckey Endowment for the Preservation of Botanical History at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. This fund will help us to acquire and preserve photographs, biographical sketches, and obituaries of botanists, as well as books on botanical history and bibliography. We are grateful for Dr. Stuckey’s long-time interest in Hunt Institute, its collections and its mission. We welcome additional contributions to this fund from others who share our commitment to the preservation of botanical history.

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.


J. Dustin Williams
Archivist & Research Scholar


URL for this page: huntbot.andrew.cmu.edu /hibd/departments/Archives.shtml

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