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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00005

Jane Boit Patten field notes

Scope and Content

The Patten collection consists of two small field notebooks and three loose-leaf notebooks with holes for brads (two were tied with blue silk ribbon which was removed and retained). The field notebooks are formatted in columns with the following headings: number, date, place, formation (e.g. meadow, woods, on wall), soil etc., altitude, height, (Latin) name, and remarks. The loose-leaf notebooks contain identifications and descriptions for plants collected in Greece, arranged by family.


  • 1899-1938
  • Majority of material found within 1899-1900


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 collection


Jane Boit Patten was born on June 8, 1869 in Providence, Rhode Island to Joseph Hurlburt Patten and Elizabeth Greene Boit. She attended Smith College and later studied botany at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany.

From 1899-1900 Patten made collections in several European countries, including Switzerland, Italy, and Hungary. While traveling in Greece in 1900 she met anthropologist and Smith classmate, Harriet Boyd Hawes, who was undertaking excavations on the island of Crete. Hawes invited Patten to join the excavation and to study and document the flora of Crete. Patten returned to the United States the following year; her work was continued by Blanche Emily Wheeler (later Blanche Wheeler Williams).

Patten spent the next several years teaching botany and biology, first at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1901 to 1906, and then at Simmons College from 1906 to 1917. She died on December 6, 1964.


Adams A. 2010. Ladies of the field: Early women archaeologists and their search for adventure. Vancouver (BC): Greystone Books.


The provenance of this collection is unknown. Patten donated her personal herbarium to the Gray Herbarium in 1938. The notebooks may have arrived with that gift.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Administrative correspondence of the Gray Herbarium and Harvard University Herbaria, 1890-1965.

Processed by

Lynn McWhood

January 1982

Patten, Jane Boit, 1869-1964. Jane Boit Patten field notes, 1899-1938, bulk 1899-1900: 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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