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COLLECTION Identifier: far00012

Edward Angus Burt papers

Scope and Content

The Burt papers consist primarily of correspondence pertaining to Burt’s work on cryptogamic botany. There are letters from approximately 205 correspondents, dated 1895-1933. Major correspondents include: Giacomo Bresadola, Carroll William Dodge, William Gilson Farlow, the Fries Family, Albert Spear Hitchcock, Curtis Gates Lloyd, and Roland Thaxter.

The collection also contains a typed draft of Burt’s “Thelephoraceae of North America,” an annotated typed draft of “Icones Farlowianae,” and Farlow Burt to the Farlow Herbarium.


  • 1895-1933


Conditions Governing Access

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


2 linear feet (1 record carton, 1 document box, 1 flat oversize)


Edward Angus Burt was born on April 8, 1859 in Athens, Pennsylvania, and grew up on a dairy farm in Saratoga County, New York. He attended State Normal School in Albany until his senior year when he was offered a teaching position at Albany Academy, a boys’ preparatory school. Burt completed his course at the Normal School and saved money while working at Albany Academy from 1880 to 1885. He intended to enter Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School, but accepted a position at the State Normal School instead. Burt married Clara Mary Briggs in 1885; they had four sons between 1885 and 1900, Angus Edward, Albert Forsyth, Farlow, and Howard.

In 1891 Burt was given the opportunity to enter Harvard University without examination. Burt studied with William Gilson Farlow and Roland Thaxter and determined to devote the rest of his life to mycology. He was awarded a A.B. in 1893 and continued his studies at Harvard, earning an A.M. in 1894 and a Ph.D. in 1895.

After graduation Burt was appointed Burr Professor of Natural History at Middlebury College, where he worked until 1913. He collected extensively around Middlebury and spent vacations at Harvard's Farlow Herbarium and at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He also spent a summer in Europe visiting herbaria and collecting in Sweden.

Burt and his family moved to St. Louis in 1913. He was mycologist and librarian at the Missouri Botanical Garden and a frequent contributor to “Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden” for the next 20 years. He also provided the descriptive text for Farlow’s “Icones Farlowianae,” published in 1929. Burt retired in 1933 and was forced to give up microscopic work due to failing eyesight. He sold his personal herbarium to Harvard. Burt died on April 26, 1939.


Dodge CW. 1979. Edward Angus Burt (1859-1939). Occas. Pap. Farlow Herb. Cryptog. Bot. 14:1-7.

Series Description

The collection is arranged in four series: Series I. Correspondence; Series II. Manuscript materials; Series III. Plates; Series IV. Miscellaneous materials.


The Burt Papers were donated by Burt’s son, Farlow, who served as trustee of his estate. He donated most of his father’s botanical correspondence and the text and plates from "Icones Farlowianae" to the Farlow Herbarium.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Administrative Correspondence of the Gray Herbarium and Harvard University Herbaria, 1890-1965; Carroll William Dodge papers; Eliza Beulah Blackford papers; George Edward Morris papers; Roland Thaxter papers. William Gilson Farlow papers.

Burt, E. A. (Edward Angus), 1859-1939. Edward Angus Burt papers, 1896-1933: 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.

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