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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00027

William Ruggles Gerard notes on plant names

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a sheaf of notes pertaining to Gerard’s study of plant name etymologies. A note on the cover and a letter found inside the front cover indicate it was sent by Gerard to Asa Gray on October 22, 1886. Notes are primarily handwritten; some proofs from an unpublished article are pasted in. The sheaf of notes is 59 pages. The collection also contains two letters from Gerard to Sereno Watson dated November 15 and November 19, 1889, found inserted at page 57.


  • 1886-1889

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)


William Ruggles Gerard was born in Newburgh, New York, on March 29, 1841. He worked for a druggist in Poughkeepsie until becoming proprietor of his own drug store there. He studied fungi in his free time and was a founding member of the Poughkeepsie Society of Natural Science. Gerard moved to New York City in 1877 and was an active member of the Torrey Botanical Club. He became interested in plant names, particularly those of Native American origin, later in life. He died in New York City on February 26, 1914.

  1. News Items. Torreya. 14(4):71-72; 1914.


The Gerard notes were found with the papers of Walter Deane, who may have received them from Sereno Watson.

Gerard, William R. (William Ruggles), 1841-1914. William Ruggles Gerard notes on plant names, 1886-1889: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Gray Herbarium Library, Harvard University.
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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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