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COLLECTION Identifier: ecb00002

Ted Anderson Northern Thailand papers

Scope and content

This collection consists of almost 2,500 35mm color slides of Anderson’s travels and ethnobotanical research, notes on plant uses, and six field notebooks. Most of the materials pertain to Anderson’s book “Plants and people of the Golden Triangle: Ethnobotany of the hill tribes of northern Thailand” (Timber Press, 1993).


  • 1977-1991


Conditions Governing Access

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


1 linear feet (1 carton)

Biographical note

Edward Frederick (Ted) Anderson was born on June 17, 1932, in Covina, California. He studied biology at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and earned his B.A. in 1954. He went on to study botany under Lyman Benson at the Claremont Graduate University but left after one year to serve in the U.S. Army.

Anderson completed his tour of duty with the Army and returned to the U.S. to study peyote for a year on behalf of California Institute of Technology pharmacologist Gordon Alles. Anderson subsequently resumed his studies at Claremont where he expanded on his peyote research for his thesis and was awarded M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1961. The following year he accepted a position at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He taught there for 30 years, during which time he received two Fulbright-Hays Lectureships to teach abroad and traveled to Latin America and Asia during sabbatical leaves to study tropical plants. Anderson married Adele Bowman in 1956; the couple had three daughters and four sons.

After retiring from Whitman in 1992 Anderson took a position as senior research botanist at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. He spent the final decade of his life working on a monograph of the Cactaceae. “The Cactus Family” was published just before his death on March 29, 2001.


Anderson EF. Peyote: The divine cactus. 2nd ed. Tucson (AZ): University of Arizona Press; 1996.

Deaths: Edward F. Anderson. 68. 2001. Fl. N. Amer. Newslett. 15(2):14.

Gideon FS, Slauson EA. 2001. Edward F. (Ted) Anderson (1932-2001): One of the greatest students of Cactaceae of the 20th century. Taxon 50(3):939-942.

Series Description

The collection is divided into three series by format:

  1. Series I. 35mm color slides. Contains 2,491 slides which appear to be grouped by subject. Assigned headings have been retained. Some slides were exposed to moisture which damaged the cardboard supports and distorted ink labels but left the film unaffected.
  2. Series II. Manuscripts and notes. Loose materials pertaining to use of succulents by hill tribes.
  3. Series III. Field notebooks. Six notebooks containing collecting information and field observations made by Anderson. Includes notes on uses and common names of plants.


The collection was a gift of the estate of Edward F. Anderson and was given to the Economic Botany Library archives by Anderson’s wife, Adele, in July 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa DeCesare, 2005.

Anderson, Edward Frederick, 1932-2001. Ted Anderson northern Thailand papers, 1977-1991: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries.The Economic Botany Library specializes in materials related to economic botany or the commercial exploitation of plants. The Archives of the Economic Botany Herbarium of Oakes Ames houses unique resources including personal papers, institutional records, field notes and plant lists, expedition records, photographs, original artwork, and objects from faculty, curators, staff, and affiliates of the Economic Botany Herbarium.

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