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COLLECTION Identifier: IV A-3.0

Office of the Horticulturist records, 1938-1996.


This collection represents the work of the horticulturists who served from 1938 to 1998. The bulk of the material is from Donald Wyman, who served as the Arnold Arboretum horticulturist from 1935-1970, and Gary Koller, who served as the Arnold Arboretum horticulturist from 1976-1996. There is also some material from Gordon P. DeWolf, Jr. (Arnold Arboretum Horticulturist from1970-1976) and Robert S. Hebb (assistant horticulturist from 1970-1974). These papers reflect years of dedication to the study and advancement of horticulture within the academic community and in service of the gardening public at large.


  • 1938-1996

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.

Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.


5.6 linear feet (4 boxes)

The Office of the Horticulturist was founded in 1936 with the appointment of Donald Wyman and existed until 1996, during the tenure of Gary Koller. Wyman saw his primary responsibility as the introduction of new plants to the Arboretum, and to that end, both he and Koller initiated and maintained contact with leading horticulturists from around the world. This collection encompasses six decades of Arboretum work with individual plant groups. The files in this collection are therefore arranged in alphabetical sequence by plant name, and include correspondence, photographs, diagrams, charts, and published material. Major topics in the collection include Acer, Forsythia, Hosta, Ilex, Malus, and Ulmus. The office was also concerned with maintaining the living collections, editing the Arboretum's Bulletin of Popular Information and Arnoldia, and promoting the Arboretum through publicity, publications, and lectures. These tasks are also reflected in the files.

Biographical / Historical

The bulk of the collection consists of the records of Donald Wyman (1904-1993) and Gary Koller (1945-), with some papers from Gordon P. DeWolf, Jr. (1927-) and Robert S. Hebb (1942-).

Dr. Wyman served as Horticulturist of the Arnold Arboretum from 1936-1970. Taking responsibility at a difficult period, following the deaths of founding director Charles Sprague Sargent in 1927 and Keeper of the Arboretum E. H. Wilson in 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, Wyman lead a comprehensive plant labeling and mapping program and initiated a thinning of old and declining specimens. As head of living collections, Dr. Wyman promoted and introduced many species and varieties of plants new to the Arboretum and in some cases to the United States.

Wyman received a B.A. in horticulture from Pennsylvania State College, and at Cornell University received an M.A. in forestry, and a Ph.D. in horticulture in 1935. His work at theArnold Arboretum focused on the scientific evaluation of ornamental trees and shrubs, and the practical application for public consumption through lectures, publications, publicity, and various means including field classes at the Arboretum for 35 years. A prolific writer, Wyman published hundreds of articles and as editor of the Bulletin of Popular Information and Arnoldia, which achieved broader circulation for the Arboretum publication. Wyman wrote several books, including the acclaimed Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens, Trees for American Gardens, and the widely used and respected Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia.

Gary Koller was born 11 Sept 1945 in York, Pennsylvania. He received an AAS in Landscape Design from Temple in 1965, a BS in Horticulture from Penn State in 1971, and an MS in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Delaware in 1973. He was a teaching assistant at school, and then served as the Curator of Living Collections at the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania from 1973-6. The Arboretum's director heard Koller speak at a program at the US National Arboretum and recruited him from his position.

Koller spent 24 years at the Arnold Arboretum, first as the Supervisor of Living Collections and later as Managing Horticulturist. Koller's professional duties included being in charge of grounds development and maintenance, supervising employees, managing plant propagation and collections development, preparing the annual report, and providing information related to plantings to horticultural professionals as well as the public. While at the Arboretum, Koller wrote for horticultural journals, lectured to amateur and professional plantsmen, taught landscape design at the University of Massachusetts and at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, and maintained a private residential landscape design practice. He has served as a horticultural consultant to such diverse institutions as Dumbarton Oaks, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Central Park, among many others.


The collection is maintained in the alphabetical sequence created by the horticulturists.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Provenance: The collection was compiled from the papers and materials of the Office of the Horticulturist ranging from 1938-1996. The HOLLIS # for this collection is 009345490. This file name is ajp00041.xml.

General note

Access to Finding Aid record in HOLLIS.

Processing Information

Processed: February 2004 Mary Flatley

Office of the Horticulturist records, 1938-1996.
Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

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.

125 Arborway
Jamaica Plain MA 02130 USA