Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Archives Collections List

Benjamin Yoe Morrison (1891–1966)

Papers, 1915–[1945–1965]

HI Archives collection no. 27
10 boxes, 10 volumes & sketchbooks, 6 items in oversize drawer 27

Morrison, Benjamin Yoe
Photo made by a visiting Latin American on the front porch of his home after a session in the garden.
Date: June 1941
HI Archives portrait no. 19

Scope and content note
This collection consists of correspondence, 10 volumes (notebooks, journals, etc.), sketchbooks, and ca.150 drawings.
Although Benjamin Yoe Morrison (1891–1966) was chief of the Division of Plant Exploration and Introduction of the U.S.D.A. (1934–1948) and the first director of the U.S. National Arboretum (1937–1951), the papers in this collection deal mostly with his activities after retirement (1951), when he lived and had his nursery in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The correspondence (1924–[1945–1965], boxes 1–2) concerns plant breeding and the exchange or sale of seeds and bulbs, as well as information about his work and the work of fellow horticulturists, publication of his National Horticultural Magazine, and business of the American Horticultural Society, which he helped to found and in which he was very active.
Most of the letters are to Morrison. Among the correspondents are Samuel Caldwell, Nashville; Mr. and Mrs. Morris Clint, Brownsville, Texas; Walter S. Flory, Blandy Experimental Farm, Boyce, Virginia (see general correspondence folder at the end of the correspondence section); Leo Hannibal, Concord, California; Frederic P. Lee, Chairman, Advisory Council, U.S. National Arboretum (see general correspondence folder at the end of the correspondence section); Alida Livingston, Oyster Bay, New York; Ralph Pennington, Atlanta; R. Ruffier-Lanche, Grenoble, France; S. E. Satomi, Tokyo, with translations of volumes III and IV (ca.55 typescript pages) of Chosei-karin-sho, as well as “A Descriptive List of Satsuki in Japan” (46 typescript pages); Donald Stryker, Langlois, Oregon; Roberta Watrous, Washington, D.C.; and Guy Wilson, Brougshane, Colorado and Antrim, N. Ireland (see general correspondence folder at the end of the correspondence section). Among the plants discussed are Azalea, lilies, Lycoris, Narcissus, and Zephyranthus.
In addition, there are six boxes of manuscripts and reports (published and unpublished, handwritten and typewritten, original and carbon copy, some including sketches and photographs), and notes. Among these are manuscripts for a work on the Satsuki azalea, a bulletin on azalea cultivation, and various other writings on azaleas; manuscripts for works on bulbs, ornamentals, Narcissus, and landscape architecture, the last stemming from a journey to Japan; and a copy (14 carbon typescript pages) of a description of the U.S. National Arboretum (by Morrison?). There are copies of reports of a horticultural trip to Britain, France, Germany, and Holland (ca.1931?, 170 carbon typescript pages), “General Discussion of Existing Stations and Other Agricultural Centers” (in Colombia, observations made [by Morrison?] 1943–1944, 80 carbon typescript pages), “Agricultural Study of Peru” (partially written by Morrison and under his supervision, ca.1942, 43 mimeographed pages), “Glenn Dale Azalea Check List” (1951, 47 mimeographed pages), breeding notes (n.d., two notebooks), and a journal of observations (January–October 1916) while in Japan and China on a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship in landscape architecture from Harvard University. Also found here are Morrison’s libretto for Salve Regina (presumably copyrighted ca.1957) and certificates, letters of introduction, and other personal documents (1915–1962), including some relating to his trip to Japan in 1916 and to his World War I service as a Second Lieutenant, Sanitary Engineers. Additional materials include sketchbooks and over 150 drawings in various media of Chinese and Japanese gardens and other scenes (box 9, oversize drawer 27, and shelved). 

Other resources
Individual and group portraits of this subject are available from the Hunt Institute portrait collection. Thumbnails of the individual and group portrait holdings are available as PDFs for research purposes. For publication-quality images, contact the Archivist to place an order.

Biographical citations for this subject are available from the Hunt Institute biographical collection as a PDF.

Our Botanists’ Art exhibition includes artwork and information about Morrison.

Artworks by Morrison are held by Hunt Institute’s Art Department. For more information, search the Catalogue of the Botanical Art Collection at the Hunt Institute database.

Boxes 1 and 2
Box 3
Personal documents, 1915–1962
Satsuki Azalea manuscript (two folders)
Miscellaneous Satsuki items
Azalea notes
Untitled Azalea manuscript
Box 4
Glenn Dale and Takoma Park Azalea worksheets
Glenn Dale Azalea checklist, 1951 (three mimeographed copies)
Manuscript of general bulletin, “Azalea cultivation”

Box 5
Manuscript of Beattie azaleas
Manuscript, “The Enemies of Azaleas”
Excerpts from Les Azalées, by Leon Duval, Paris, 1895
Miscellaneous Azalea drafts and notes
Notes and manuscript for a book on bulbs (two folders)
Box 6
Manuscript, “Cactus Circular for Beginners”
Manuscript of work on landscape architecture from a journey to Japan (two folders)
Manuscript of work on Narcissus
Drafts and notes on Narcissus (Tazetta)
Manuscript, “Daffodils at Hermitage Gardens,” 1946
Manuscript of book on ornamentals

Box 7
Manuscript, “Achimenes”
Miscellaneous manuscripts
Transcriptions and notes, in French and English, on Iris (includes a section from [Reports of the Sessions of the Société de Biologie, XCIX (38) 4 January 1929].
Transcript: [Siehe, W. The Juno Group of Iris Species in Asia Minor. Allgemeine Botanische Zeitschrift No. 7/8. July–August 1905].
Copy of description of U.S. National Arboretum (14 pages, carbon copy typescript)
Report of horticultural trip to Britain, France, Germany, and Holland, 1931? (ca.80 pages, carbon copy typescript)
“Report on Agricultural Survey of Peru,” partially by Morrison and under his supervision, ca.1942 (43 mimeographed pages and photos)
“General Discussion of Existing Stations and Other Agricultural Centers,” ca.1944 (ca.80 pages, carbon copy typescript)
Salve Regina libretto, by Morrison, with related correspondence and other items
Breeding notes (two notebooks)

Box 8
Eight mounted photographs of plants with Japanese labels
Part of a group of 17 books, pamphlets, and manuscript volumes in Japanese, some relating to plants. (Eleven are in Box 8, six are on the shelf.) See accompanying handwritten list by G. H. M. Lawrence of items given by Phoebe Morrison. These apparently apply (in some degree) to these 17 items.
Fifty-five photostats of drawings of Oriental garden scenes; two pages of typed manuscript describing two temples; one reprint: Peterson, Frederick.  1940.  Chinese Gardens. Field Art 62: 383–386; one broadside of botanical sketches for 1933 Christmas greeting. 
Box 9
Items found inside Morrison’s 1916 journal
Explanatory note on exhibit in Kyoto, 1916
23 Ink drawings of China, 1 September–30 October 1916
3 Ink drawings of Kyoto, Japan, 5–6 December 1916
14 Ink drawings of private gardens in Japan, 24 February 1916–18 July 1916
11 Ink drawings of Arima and Arsenal Garden, Japan, 2 May 1916–27 May 1916
3 Ink drawings of Ichida Garden, Kyoto, Japan, 2 June 1916
3 Ink drawings of Heian Jingu, 24 May 1916
3 Ink drawings of Saga, 8 June 1916
3 Ink drawings of Mr. Hara’s Garden, Tokyo, 16 May 1916
11 Ink drawings of Niko, Japan, 11 and 15 May 1916
6 Ink drawings of Japanese Gardens, 16 March 1916–10 April 1916
2 Ink drawings of Mrs. Hirooku’s Garden, Osaka, 22 June 1916
2 Ink drawings of Daitokiyi, Temple Gardens, Japan, 1916
3 Pastels, Kyoto, Japan, 11 June 1916
Ink drawing of Nanking, 6 October 1916
Ink drawing of Wuchang, 20 September 1916
Ink drawing of Peking, 3 September 1916
Ink drawing of a side street near Ginkakiji?, 4 June 1916
Ink drawing of Kitano, 1916
Figure sketches and faces, 24 February 1916–31 March 1916
Pastel of Torakigose, Japan, 1916
Pastel of clothesline, n.d.
Pastel of Kyoto, 11 June 1916
Pastel of Kyoto, n.d.
Watercolor of street scene, n.d.
Line drawing of jester in forest, n.d.

Box 10
Preservation photocopies of noted material in collection

Additional material, shelved
Journal, 1916
Three sketchbooks (pastel and pencil), 1916 and n.d. 
Oversize drawer 27

Various pastel, watercolor, and pen-and-ink sketches, apparently exhibited by Morrison in Kyoto, 1916 (explanatory material in box 9). 36 pieces.
Six woodcuts of nonbotanical scenes. 
One passport (1916) indicating that Morrison was traveling to China, Japan, and French Indochina to study landscape architecture. In portfolio.
Certificate (July 1935) stating that Morrison was a delegate to the Sixth International Botanical Congress, Amsterdam. 
Some of Morrison’s botanical drawings are in the Institute’s Art Department.

Morrison, Benjamin Yoe
Date: April 1931 (age 40)
Location: In Richardson’s garden with gregelach flowers, Waterford Island.
HI Archives portrait no. 15

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