May 2, 2011, marked the 100th anniversary of the Arboretum’s first major serial publication, The Bulletin of Popular Information. Initiated by the Arboretum’s first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, it was published weekly but only during the growing season (typically from early spring through autumn). The original purpose of The Bulletin of Popular Information was to let visitors know what was currently in bloom or of seasonal interest at the Arboretum, including the many new plants from China brought to the Arboretum by famed plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson.
Over the years The Bulletin of Popular Information became less of a seasonal guide as longer articles by staff and contributing writers were added and frequency of publication was reduced. In 1941, Arboretum director Elmer Drew Merrill changed the publication’s somewhat cumbersome title to the simpler Arnoldia, the name which has stood for 70 years. Now a quarterly magazine, Arnoldia contains articles on a wide range of topics including botany, horticulture, ecology and conservation, plant exploration, and landscape history. Arnoldia also reports on the growth and development of the Arboretum’s collections, including ongoing research and plant introductions, and provides profiles of interesting, unusual, and historically important plants. Both The Bulletin of Popular Information and Arnoldia are available to browse and search online as digitized files.
Arnoldia, along with the Arboretum’s newsmagazine Silva and an extensive and evolving website, continues to provide information and insight on the Arnold Arboretum’s mission to discover and disseminate knowledge of the plant kingdom in order to foster greater understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Earth’s botanical diversity and its essential value to humankind.