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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00018

Alice Eastwood Lupine papers

Scope and Content

The Eastwood papers consist of one key and one list, likely from 1938-1946, the period during which Eastwood was publishing on lupine classification.


  • circa 1938-1946


Conditions Governing Access

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


0.1 linear feet (1 folder)


Alice Eastwood was born in Toronto, Ontario, on January 19, 1859, to Colin Skinner and Eliza Jane Gowdey Eastwood. When her mother died in 1865, six-year-old Eastwood was placed in a convent school where she received much of her early education. In 1873 her family moved to Denver, Colorado, where she attended public schools, and was drafted as a substitute teacher before completing high school. After graduating from East Denver High School in 1879, she taught for ten years, instructing students in a wide range of subjects, after which time her investments enabled her to retire from teaching and devote her time to botany and travel.

Eastwood was drawn to nature and took every opportunity to explore and botanize in the plains, valleys, and mountains of Colorado. The Eastwood Herbarium, given to the Denver Museum, forms a tangible record of her early fieldwork. She was self-taught, without contact with other biologists or access to a scientific library. Her earliest guides were Asa Gray's ”Manual of Botany” and John Merle Coulter's ”Manual of the Botany (Phænogamia and Pteridophyta) of the Rocky Mountain Region.” In 1890 Eastwood visited southern California where she vacationed and studied the local flora. The following year she worked for several months as an assistant in the herbarium at the California Academy of Sciences. She was offered a position as joint curator with Katherine Brandegee in 1892. When Brandegee left for San Diego in 1894, Eastwood became sole Curator of Botany, a position she held until her retirement in 1949 at the age of 90.

Eastwood was responsible for saving both the Academy's institutional records and its type specimen collection after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. She had chosen to segregate the type specimens from the main part of the collection (a departure from standard curatorial practices of the day) and entered the damaged building after the quake to retrieve them and move them to safety. The remainder of the collection was lost in the fire that followed.

In the years after the earthquake, while the new Academy building was being constructed, Eastwood studied in herbaria in the eastern U.S. and in Europe, including the Gray Herbarium, the U.S. National Herbarium, the New York Botanical Garden, the British Museum, and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. When the new Academy facilities were completed at Golden Gate Park in 1916, Eastwood returned to the position of Curator of the Herbarium and set about rebuilding the collection. She went on numerous collecting excursions in the western U.S., including trips to Alaska, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. By keeping the first set of each collection for the Academy and exchanging the duplicates with other institutions, Eastwood is credited with adding thousands of sheets to the Academy's herbarium, increasing the representation of the western flora.

During her career Eastwood published over 300 articles, served as both editor of "Zoe" and assistant editor of "Erythea" prior to the 1906 earthquake, and started "Leaflets of Western Botany" with John Thomas Howell in 1932. She was the active head of the California Botanical Club for many years and participated as a member of several other botanical and horticultural societies. Eastwood became a member of the California Academy of Sciences in 1892; she was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 1928, named a Patron of the Academy in 1930, and was unanimously elected an Honorary Member of the Academy in 1942. Her main botanical interests were west American Liliaceae and the genera Lupinus, Arctostaphylos, and Castilleja. The genera Eastwoodia and Aliciella were named in her honor. She died in San Francisco on October 30, 1953.


Abrams L. 1949. Alice Eastwood--western botanist. Pacific Disc. 2(1):14-17.

Howell JT. 1954. Alice Eastwood: 1859-1953. Taxon. 3(4):98-100.

McFarland FM, Miller RC. 1949. Biographical sketch of Alice Eastwood. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 25:9-14.

Wilson CG. 1953. The Eastwood Era at the California Academy of Sciences. Leafl. W. Bot. 7(3):58-64.


The provenance of this collection is unknown. It is possible that the list and key accompanied a loan of specimens.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria:
  1. Administrative correspondence of the Gray Herbarium and Harvard University Herbaria, 1890-1965
  2. Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892
  3. Field notes and plant identification records, approximately 1804-2000
  4. Botany Libraries photograph collection
  5. James Franklin Collins papers

Processed by

Lynn McWhood, 1982 December.

Eastwood, Alice, 1859-1953. Alice Eastwood Lupine papers, circa 1938-1946: 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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