Roland Thaxter Contribution towards a monograph of the Laboulbeniaceae [original plates]
Scope and Content
Original plates prepared for publication in Thaxter's Contributions towards a Monograph of the Laboulbeniaceae, 5 volumes, 1896-1931. The volumes and plate numbers correspond to their counterparts in the published volumes.
In volume 1, plate 26 has a leaf attached to it with sketches.
There is no plate no. 27 in volume 1 or 2 in the original illustrations or the published works. Exact dates of production are unknown. The plates were likely completed as each volume was being prepared for publication. The publication dates are: v. 1 (1895), v. 2 (1908), v. 3 (1924), v. 4 (1926), and v. 5 (1931). Ink on white scratchboard.
References: Stafleu, F.A. Taxonomic literature (2nd ed.) 14.012
- Thaxter, Roland, 1858-1932 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research by appointment. Researchers must register and provide one form of valid photo identification. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Extent4 Volumes (167 plates, 5 volumes bound in 4 volumes.) ; 30 cm
Roland Thaxter was born in Newton, Massachusetts, on August 28, 1858, to Levi Lincoln Thaxter and poet Celia Laighton Thaxter. Thaxter’s parents nurtured in him an appreciation for the natural world and both have been credited for his unique writing style, marked by detailed descriptions, keen observations, and a dry wit. Thaxter entered Harvard College in 1878 and was awarded an A.B. in biology in 1882. An injury delayed his entry into Harvard Medical School until 1884. In 1886 Thaxter was awarded the Harris Fellowship and left medical school to study under Professor William Gilson Farlow. His work with Farlow prompted him to switch his concentration from entomology to cryptogamic botany. In 1888 Thaxter was awarded M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Thaxter’s first position was researching plant diseases at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He returned to Harvard in 1891 to assist Farlow, eventually assuming full responsibility for teaching and research when Farlow retired from teaching in 1896. Thaxter spent over 40 years at Harvard as Assistant Professor, Professor, and Professor Emeritus of Cryptogamic Botany. In that time he taught nearly a thousand students. His most recognized achievement was his extensive research into the Laboulbeniales. Thaxter worked tirelessly to create a comprehensive monograph of the Laboulbeniales, publishing the first volume in 1896 and subsequent volumes in 1908, 1924, 1926, and 1931. At the time of his death he was working on a sixth volume. In spite of poor health Thaxter frequently traveled in the United States as well as to Europe, South America, and the West Indies to study and collect specimens for the Farlow Herbarium. He was a member of numerous prestigious scientific societies in the United States and abroad and was generally held to be one of the greatest mycologists of his age. The genus Thaxteria is named for him, as are several species of fungi and lichens. Thaxter married Mabel Gray Freeman in 1887. They had four children: Charles Eliot, Katherine, Elizabeth (“Betty”), and Edmund Lincoln. Charles Eliot died during Thaxter's yearlong sabbatical in South America in 1905-1906. Roland Thaxter died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 22, 1932.
Clinton GP. 1936. Biographical Memoir of Roland Thaxter, 1858-1932. Biogr. Mem. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 17:55-68.
Weston WH. 1933. Roland Thaxter. Mycologia. 25(2):69-89.
Conservation and Digitization note
In 2021, one volume was conserved by Harvard's Weissman Preservation Center. The collection was then digitized by Harvard's Imaging Services department as part of the "Original botanical illustrations of the Botany Libraries" project.
- Thaxter, Roland, 1858-1932. Contribution towards a monograph of the Laboulbeniaceae [original plates], 1895-1931?: A Guide.
- Botany Libraries, Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany, Harvard University.
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Part of the Botany Libraries, Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany, Harvard University Repository
The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany specializes in organisms that reproduce by spores, without flowers or seeds. The Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany 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 Farlow Herbarium.
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