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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00004

Francis Boott manuscript

Scope and Content

This collection consists of an eight-page manuscript containing descriptions of the genus Vaccinium with annotations by Boott. The descriptions were copied by Boott from a manuscript at the British Museum. It is dated September 25, 1843, and is directed to Asa Gray.


  • 1843


Conditions Governing Use

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 folder)


Francis Boott was born in Boston on September 26, 1792, the third son of Kirk and Mary Love Boott. He entered Harvard College in 1806 and completed an A.B. in 1810. He spent the next few years with relatives in Derby, England.

Boott returned to Boston in 1814 and dedicated his time to studying botany. In the summer of 1816 he was one of several men who accompanied Jacob Bigelow’s botanical explorations of the mountains of New England. He was elected to the Linnean Society in 1819 and was an active member for the rest of his life, serving as secretary, treasurer, and vice-president.

Boott moved to England permanently in 1820 and married Mary Hardcastle in Derby that year; the couple had five children. Boott studied medicine in London under John Armstrong and then at the University of Edinburgh, where he received an M.D. in 1824. After an additional year of study in Paris, Boott established a practice in London. He also lectured on botany and carried out his own scientific studies, eventually giving up medicine to devote himself to the study of the genus Carex.

Boott published several articles on Carices and the first volume of his “Illustrations of the Genus Carex” was published in 1858. Two more volumes were published in 1860 and 1862. The fourth and final volume was published posthumously after Boott’s death on December 25, 1863. The genus Boottia is named in his honor.


American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1865. Francis Boott, M.D. Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 6:305-308.

Gray A. 1864. Francis Boott, M.D. Amer. J. Sci. Arts. Series II. 37(110):288-292.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Boott manuscript was sent to Asa Gray and likely was given to the Gray Herbarium with his papers.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892; Jane Gray autograph collection, 1563-1908; Field notes and plant identification records, approximately 1804-2000; New England Botanical Club Archives, 1945-1996, 1894-2012 (bulk).

Processed by

Lynn McWhood

January 1982

Boott, Francis, 1792-1863. Francis Boott manuscript, 1843: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Gray Herbarium Library, Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Gray Herbarium Library, Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Gray Herbarium Library specializes in the identification and classification of New World plants with emphasis on North American plants. The Archives of the Gray Herbarium 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 Gray Herbarium.

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