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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Personal Papers

Miss Virginia Keyes at the library desk, 1902. Arnold Arboretum Archives.
Miss Virginia Keyes at the library desk, 1902

Personal Papers document the work of individual Arboretum staff members engaged in all aspects of Arboretum operations including plant collection, horticulture, research, education, and administration. The archives collects and maintains a range of materials for this purpose, dating back to our founding in 1872, including journals, field notes, unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs.

The archives holds more than 350 collections. Collection guides not found here may be available on site. Please contact us for more information.

Leonard John (L.J.) Brass (1900-1971) collection, 1925-1953Brass first began collecting specimens for the Arboretum in 1925 and continued to do so on several expeditions to New Guinea led by Richard Archbold. The collection includes a transcription of his diary for the 1925-26 expedition and over 100 photographs of the flora of the region, its indigenous people, their villages, watercraft, houses, gardens, and agricultural practices.
John S. Burley (1950- ) papers, 1986-1998This collection consists of information and reports related to projects undertaken during Burley’s tenure as director of the Arnold Arboretum’s Southeast Asia Programs. Dated between 1986 and 1998, the majority of the collection deals with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Indonesian Biodiversity project based in Bogor, Indonesia.
Albert W. Bussewitz (1912-1995) collection, 1982-1995Consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, 35mm color slides, correspondence, and announcements that document the activities of this long-term docent who led tours, conducted classes, and captured the Arboretum landscape through his lectures and photographs.
Jackson Thornton Dawson (1841-1916), Papers 1874-1911Jackson Thornton Dawson was the first Propagator of the Arnold Arboretum. This collection includes Dawson’s writings, his Civil War-era letters, family photos, obituaries and other writings about Dawson, and some interesting ephemera including the medals he won and his Bible, complete with bullet hole from the Civil War.
Arthur Irving Emerson (1860-1937) collectionIn 1905, Arthur Irving Emerson contributed images to Clarence M. Weed’s (1864-1947) publication Our Trees: How to Know Them. This collection contains the original photographic plates by Emerson and annotated gallery proofs for Our Trees.
Charles Edward Faxon (1846-1918) papers, 1882-1918Charles Edward Faxon’s career included employment at the two Harvard Institutions in Jamaica Plain: the Bussey Institution and the Arnold Arboretum. At the Arboretum, he not only took charge of the development of the library and herbarium, but produced botanical drawings that would illustrate all of the Arboretum’s earliest publications.
Alfred J. Fordham (1911-2000) papers, 1943-2000Alfred Fordham came to the Arnold Arboretum as a student trainee in 1929. He stayed until his retirement in 1977, rising to the position of chief propagator. Known unofficially as “The Propagator’s Propagator,” Fordham became internationally recognized. This collection reflects his contribution to horticulture and botany as a plant propagator, lecturer, teacher, and author of more than 50 published papers.
Ida Hay (1948- ) papers, 1970-1993Ida Hay was manager of the Herbarium in Jamaica Plain between 1970 and 1993. This collection documents the daily management of the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium and includes correspondence, memos, reports, loan and voucher requests, and information on her professional activities.
Science in the Pleasure Ground: A History of the Arnold Arboretum, Ida Hay papers 1981-1996The collection consists of primary and secondary research material on the Arnold Arboretum collected and assembled by Hay between 1981-1993 for her institutional history of the Arboretum and includes reports, landscape designs and maps, letters, correspondence, drafts, chapter revisions, and reviews.
Joseph Hers (1884-1965) papers, 1919-1992Joseph Hers, a Belgian citizen, originally went to China as an interpreter with the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, though he would eventually hold several jobs in that country. Between 1919 and 1924, despite describing his own knowledge of botany as “very limited,” he sent more than 2,000 plant specimens to the Arnold Arboretum from what was then a botanically unexplored region of north Honan.
John George Jack (1861-1949) papers, 1887-1990This collection consists of biographical information and correspondence, as well as publications, images, and research notes of J.G. Jack who began work at the Arnold Arboretum in 1886, became lecturer in arboriculture in 1890, and taught forestry at Harvard and MIT from 1899 to 1908.
William Henry Judd (1888-1946) papers, 1913-1946The Arboretum’s second plant propagator, Judd began his career at the Arboretum in 1913 as an assistant to Jackson Thornton Dawson and was appointed propagator of trees and shrubs in 1916. Known for his ability to coax seeds to germinate and his commitment to sharing information about his techniques, Judd and would continue to serve the Arboretum in this capacity until his death in 1946.
S. Frank Kajewski (1904-1997?) papers, 1928-1933S. Frank Kajewski collected plant specimens for the Arnold Arboretum between 1928 and 1932 in the New Hebrides and the Santa Cruz and Solomon Islands. This collection includes his correspondence, expenditure reports, and photographs taken during the period he was employed by the Arboretum.
Alexander E. Lawrance (1886-?) papers, 1932-1935Lawrance collected herbarium specimens from the mountainous Boyaca region of Colombia in the 1930s. While he specialized in collecting orchids, Lawrance also collected herbarium specimens of woody plants and wood samples for the Arnold Arboretum.
Susan Delano McKelvey (1883-1964) papers, 1900-2005The McKelvey papers include articles, research papers and notes, correspondence, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. They reflect her activities as a member of the Arboretum Visiting Committee, a research associate working with lilacs and yuccas, and a botanical explorer of the southwestern United States.
Elmer Drew Merrill (1876-1956) papers, 1922-1956Merrill served as administrator of botanical collections at Harvard University from 1935-1946, director of the Arboretum beginning in 1936, and emeritus professor until 1956. The collection contains administrative correspondence and memoranda from 1935-46 and also one year, 1903, of his correspondence as Botanist for the Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry, and other letters and memoranda written before 1935.
Frank N. Meyer (1875-1918) papers, 1906-1914Meyer took approximately 1,500 photographs while collecting plants for the United States Agricultural Department and the Arnold Arboretum between 1905 and 1918. He also collected seeds of trees and shrubs of ornamental value and was responsible for the introduction of more than 2,000 species and varieties of a wide range of economic plants.
Ernest Jesse Palmer (1875-1962) papers, 1911-1987In 1901, Ernest Jesse Palmer began his lengthy association with the Arnold Arboretum as an independent plant collector and then as a collector-botanist, a position held for the next twenty-six years.
William Purdom (1880-1921) papers, 1909-1912In 1909, Charles Sprague Sargent dispatched British horticulturalist William Purdom to northeast China to collect “plants from regions with climates even more severe than those of New England.” When his two-year contract expired, Purdom remained in China to work for the newly established Chinese Forest Service where he established tree nurseries for the country’s reforestation effort.
Hugh Miller Raup (1901-1995) papers, 1933-1938Raup came to the Arnold Arboretum as a research assistant and associate in 1932, and during his career at Harvard he would eventually hold several positions within the university system including director of the Harvard Forest. During his tenure at the Arboretum, Raup was noted for his study of the influences that shaped the Arboretum landscape.
Alfred Rehder (1863-1949) papers, 1898-1949Rehder first came to the Arboretum in 1898 while on assignment for Moller’s Deutsche Gartner-Zeitungand. Though he intended to stay in America for only half a year, he was persuaded to join the staff and remained at the Arboretum until (and beyond) his retirement in 1940. The collection consists of biographical material, correspondence, papers on nomenclature, a bibliographic index, and photographs of and by Rehder.
Joseph Francis Charles Rock (1884-1962) papers, 1922-1962This collection is comprised of publications, field notes, photographs, and correspondence by Joseph Francis Charles Rock. Rock worked as a botanist, anthropologist, explorer, linguist, and author for various agencies while traveling in Asia. Rock’s affiliation with the Arnold Arboretum was as a researcher in China and Tibet from 1924-1927.
Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927) papers, 1868- : GuideCompiled primarily during his tenure as the Arboretum’s first director, Sargent’s papers contain biographical material, correspondence, collection notes, published works, and photographs. Papers include his collaboration with Frederick Law Olmsted in the landscape design of the Arboretum, as well as the exploration, identification, cultivation, and introduction of temperate woody plants under his direction.
Karl Sax (1892-1973) papers, 1938-2001The papers of Karl Sax were compiled primarily during his tenure as Director of the Arnold Arboretum from 1946 to 1954, though their contents reflect both his administrative work and his research in cytology, horticulture, and genetics. Sax’s legacy includes challenging the controversial “Bailey Plan” and reinvigorating collections development following World War II.
George Russell Shaw (1848-1937) papers, 1886-1942The George R. Shaw collection documents his taxonomic research on the genus Pinus. Trained as an architect at Harvard, Shaw continued his studies at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and, in 1873, established the architectural firm Shaw & Hunnewell. Early in the twentieth century, Shaw studied pines and based his taxonomic research at the Arnold Arboretum.
Stephanne (Silvia) Barry Sutton (1940-1997) papers, 1965-1994Stephanne Barry Sutton was the author of biographies of the Arnold Arboretum’s first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, and of plant explorer Joseph Rock. A writer of fiction as well as biography and history, Ms. Sutton was on the staff of the Arboretum from 1963 to 1974.
Richard Warren (1907-1999) papers, 1975-1986Dr. Richard Warren (Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School) was born and raised in the Boston area. One of Dr. Warren’s great passions was the study of conifers, and in his retirement he studied conifers at the Arnold Arboretum. This collection covers Dr. Warren’s study of coniferous trees in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Richard Edwin Weaver (1943-2020) papers, 1971-1983Richard E. Weaver joined the Arboretum in 1970 as horticultural taxonomist and held various positions including editor of Arnoldia and acting director before his departure in 1983. Weaver worked closely with living collections, directing planting for many years and organizing collecting expeditions from South America to Asia and the Soviet Union.
Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930) papers, 1896-2017The Ernest Henry Wilson Papers reflect his contribution to horticulture and botany as a plant collector who, through numerous expeditions to Asia, introduced many new species into cultivation in arboreta, parks, and private gardens.
Donald Wyman (1904-1993) papers, 1935-1970Wyman’s work at the Arnold Arboretum focused on the horticultural evaluation of ornamental trees and shrubs, and the practical application of horticultural information through lectures, publications, and public display. His papers reflect his years of dedication to the study and advancement of horticulture within the academic community and in service of the gardening public.