First Expedition to China for Messrs. Veitch, 1899-1902
General Physical Description note
Container Summary NOTE: Asiatic place names are Romanized according to Wilson's personal system and do not necessarily conform to either historic or current standards. The main purpose of this trip was to collect the elusive Dove Tree, Davidia involucrata which had first been discovered by the French missionary Père Armand David (1826-1900) in Sichuan Province near the Tibetan border. James Herbert Veitch's (1868-1907) directive to Wilson stated that, "The object of the journey is to collect a quantity of seeds of a plant (Davidia) ... This is the object—do not dissipate time, energy or money on anything else." Wilson traveled to Ichang via Boston, San Francisco, and Hong Kong to Yunnan, where he met fellow explorer Augustine Henry (1857-1930). Wilson used Ichang as his headquarters, and following Henry's advice, searched for the Dove Tree in Western Hupeh and Szechuan and along the Yangtze River. Eventually he found several fruiting trees reportedly sent 14,875 of seeds of Davidia involucrata to the Veitch nurseries. Material in this series includes the handwritten "agreement" between Wilson and Messrs. Veitch, a notebook kept by the Veitch firm on seeds received from Wilson between 1899 and 1905, and notations by Wilson on "Hosie's itinerary," published in Three years in western China; a narrative of three journeys in Ssŭ-ch'uan, Kuei-chow, and Yün-nan, written in 1887 by Sir Alexander Hosie (1853-1925). Also in this series is Wilson's plant collection notebook which also contains shipment lists, propagation data, and other lists. Collection numbers of seeds from this trip: 1-1310. Collection numbers of herbarium specimens: 1-2800. No dates are given and field localities are not in a logical sequence. (Howard) The correspondence from this expedition is available in Series W.VII. Travel documents, mainly Chinese passports, are in Series W.XI.
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Extent20 linear feet
Part of the Arnold Arboretum Archives Repository
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a specialized collection devoted to the study of temperate woody plants. We collect works on botany, horticulture, floras, urban forestry and taxonomy. The library contains more than 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs, and includes an archive that both documents the Arboretum's history and is a repository for 19th, 20th, and 21st century horticultural and botanical collections.
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