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Library

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.

Vermicularis ..., Capit. 334 from the Gart der Gesundheit (Mainz, Peter Schoeffer, 1485). HI Library call no. CA G244.

Collections

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
Books on the history of botany
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 — Hunt Institute's Library collection is included in the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries' online catalogue. To search for items in the Institute's collection:

Go to search.library.cmu.edu/vufind/Search/Advanced

After typing your search terms, select our library (HIBD) in the Library list from among the lists that appear below the Search button and then click Search.

Items that are in the Institute's collection will be indicated by the statement:

Located: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, plus a location code. The line below that contains our call number.

If your search results in multiple records, you will see a list of items containing author, title, location and call number for each item. Clicking on the title of any of these will display a fuller record that includes three clickable tabs labeled Holdings, Description, MARC record. Clicking the Holdings tab shows the location and call number for each copy in our library. Clicking the Description tab displays the pagination and size of the item along with any descriptive notes that are in the record. Clicking the MARC record tab displays the full MARC record (the librarian’s point of view) from the catalogue database. This is the most complete view of the record.

An earlier, partial catalogue was published in 1958–1961. 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 — This collection of some 3,500 books documents the impact of the work of Carolus Linnaeus on the history of botany and biology and includes all of the works of Linnaeus and virtually all of those of his students. We have digitized for Web access the 186 student dissertations supervised by Linnaeaus. See our Original Linnaean Dissertations database for access to digital versions. English summaries are also available.
Michel Adanson Library — The personal library of Michel Adanson includes 127 books that were used and annotated by the 18th-century naturalist as he developed his theories and his botanical classification system.
Digital copies of selected books from our Library — We have begun digitizing selected published works that are unique, rare, unusual, or otherwise special. The links below will take you to our initial offerings.

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 (1823–1835)

John Ellis, Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants (1770)

François L'Anglois, Livre de Fleurs (1620)

 

Projects

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 Institute's initial contribution to the project has been Librarian Charlotte Tancin's work with a small task force to conduct a preliminary survey of Linnaean collections. The information collected will help to locate collections and possible contributors to the union catalogue, as well as provide information that will eventually be made available on the Web concerning the location and extent of Linnaean collections. There is currently no existing union catalogue of Linnaean materials, and so not only is it difficult for scholars to get access to these materials directly, but in many cases it is difficult even to find adequate records of their existence and locations. The work on the union catalogue will be based at The Natural History Museum in London. The results from the survey will be posted on the Web. An additional contribution from Hunt Institute to Linnaeus Link is the creation of digital copies of the 186 Linnaean dissertations.

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.

Special Services

Special Services

Verifying citations and other bibliographical information
Answering botanical queries in consultation with staff botanists
Locating published botanical illustrations
Offering limited interlibrary loans
Conducting Library tours and book talks

Donating to Library

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
We primarily collect rare botanical books, scholarly studies on the history of botany, modern floras from around the world, and selected systematic and taxonomic monographs. Relevant publications about the history of botany include works on bibliography, biography, botanical art and illustration, plant exploration, botanical gardens and herbaria, other scientific institutions, etc. We are interested in such material regardless of the language in which it is written. We also collect reference works and facsimiles of older works (such as medieval and Renaissance herbals, florilegia, early works on classification or systematics, and accounts of voyages of exploration). Having facsimiles available for use allows us to expand our coverage and, in cases where we already have the original works, minimizes wear on the originals.

We also collect very selectively in the areas of medical botany, economic botany, horticulture, ecology, agriculture, landscape architecture, and a number of other plant-related topics. Although not our primary collecting interests, these topics are represented in our holdings and consulted by users of our Library. Older works, facsimiles of older works, and retrospective historical studies in these subjects are all good candidates for possible inclusion in our Library, and new reference works in these areas are also considered.

Some of the items we would like to acquire are costly due to their age, production quality, significance, or scarcity. 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. Please note that we are unable to accept books that have been damaged by mold or mildew.

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, offer them to another library or (for published materials) advertise 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.

Contribute funds for regular Library acquisitions or underwrite something special from our wish list of more expensive works, some of which are out of print. Examples include Siebold’s Florilegium of Japanese Plants, edited by Y. Kimura and V. I. Grubov (£6,400.00); A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland, by James Edward Smith (deluxe facsimile, $1,150 AUD); or The Flora Graeca Story, by H. Walter Lack and David J. Mabberley ($581.00).
Provide a custom-made book box ($35–$200); sponsor the rebinding of a book ($25–$100); contribute toward the restoration of a rare book ($500–$2,500).
Contribute to digitization and database projects, where your gift might be used for equipment, software, technical consultants, or additional project staff to do photography, scanning, indexing, data input, transcription, or translation, making information from our collections more widely accessible.


We would also welcome gifts designated for strengthening a particular area of the Library collection within our collecting scope.

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.

Contact

 
Charlotte A. Tancin
Librarian &
Principal Research Scholar
412-268-7301
ctancin@cmu.edu
Jeannette McDevitt
Assistant Librarian
412-268-2436
jmcdevit@andrew.cmu.edu

 




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