Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: far00003

Edwin Bunting Bartram papers

Scope and Content

The Bartram papers contain correspondence, specimen lists, keys, and manuscripts pertaining to Bartram's bryological research in the United States and overseas.


  • 1925-1963



1 collection (30 flat boxes, 1 document box, and 1 carton)


Edwin Bunting Bartram was born on July 28, 1878 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Quaker parents George W. and Clara Ellis Bartram. He did not complete high school, instead taking a job with the Insulated Wire Company to help support his family.

Bartram remained at Insulated Wire for his entire career. During this time, he went on numerous collecting trips around New England and the mid-Atlantic states and began publishing articles on botany. Bartram collected with many botanists, notably accompanying Merritt Lyndon Fernald and Bayard Long on an expedition to Nova Scotia in 1921.

Bartram married Eleanor Britton in 1916. He retired from Insulated Wire the following year and devoted the rest of his life to studying bryology. Bartram published more than 140 papers and books on bryology and described dozens of new species. Failing eyesight forced him to limit his research in the 1950’s until he gave up his studies entirely in 1964. Bartram suffered a heart attack and died at his home in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, on December 2, 1964.


Crum H. 1966. A Tribute to Edwin Bunting Bartram. Bryologist. 69(1):125-134.

Series Description

The collection is arranged in five series:

Series I – Correspondence. The correspondence dates from 1920-1964. There are 30 boxes of correspondence. These are arranged by date, and then alphabetically within a specific date range. There are also 10 folders of miscellaneous correspondence to Bartram. These are arranged alphabetically by correspondent and range from 1939-1967.

Series II - Specimen Lists. These are lists of mosses from various expeditions and trips. They are arranged alphabetically by location. Included are Ecuador, Samoa, New Guinea, Venezuela, Polynesia, Chile, and New Zealand. If notes or correspondence accompanied the list it will be noted in the finding aid and filed in behind the specimen list.

Series III - Keys. These are plant keys to different types of moss in different areas that Bartram traveled to. Included are New Guinea and Fiji.

Series IV - Manuscripts.

Series V - Miscellaneous Materials.


Bartram gave his moss herbarium, comprising around 75,000 specimens, and some of his papers to the Farlow Herbarium in August 1964. The remainder of his estate was left to the Farlow on the death of his wife.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa DeCesare, May 1998. Box 31 processed by Victorya Dube, March 2023.

Bartram, Edwin B. (Edwin Bunting), 1878-1964. Edwin Bunting Bartram papers, 1925-1963: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany, Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

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.

Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2366