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COLLECTION Identifier: arn00006

Manuscript of Flora Indica by Thomas Pennant

Scope and Content

This collection contains a preliminary copy of the “Flora Indica” which was eventually published in the fourth volume of Pennant’s “Outlines of the Globe.” It was prepared by an amanuensis and is annotated in pencil in Pennant’s hand. The bound manuscript is 160 pages and measures 10.5" x 15".


  • circa 1790


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


0.1 linear feet (1 volume in Herbarium Case, Stacks #5)

Biographical note

Thomas Pennant was born on June 14, 1726 at his family’s estate in Whitford, Flintshire, in Wales. He was educated at private school and entered Queen’s College, Oxford, but never completed a degree. Pennant was interested in natural history from a young age. He corresponded with many prominent scientific figures of his day and published several books on ornithology as well as accounts of his travels in Great Britain.

A few years before his death, Pennant described a series he was preparing entitled “Outlines of the Globe.” Drawing on books and travel narratives, it was an account of the human and natural history of the coastal areas between London and New Guinea. The first two volumes were published during his lifetime; the third and fourth were published posthumously. Pennant was a member of a number of European scientific societies including the Royal Societies of London and Uppsala. He died at his family home on December 16, 1798.


McAtee WL. 1963. The North American birds of Thomas Pennant. J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Hist. 4(2):100-124.

Pennant T. 1821. The Literary Life of Thomas Pennant, Esp. by Himself. Dublin: J. Christie.


The Pennant manuscript was purchased by the Arnold Arboretum in June 1947.

Processing Information

Processed by Lynn McWhood

Pennant, Thomas, 1726-1798. Manuscript of Flora Indica by Thomas Pennant, circa 1790: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University.
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Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Arnold Arboretum Library in Cambridge specializes in the identification and classification of Old World plants with emphasis on Asia. The Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge) houses unique resources, primarily field notes related to the plant specimens housed in Cambridge.

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