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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00039

Horace Mann, Jr. manuscripts

Scope and Content

The Mann manuscripts consist primarily of drafts and notes pertaining to his partially published monograph, “Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.” There is an incomplete draft of the published section and drafts in varying degrees of completeness of unpublished sections.


  • circa 1860-1868


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


Horace Mann was born on February 25, 1844 in Boston, Mass., the oldest son of education reformer Horace Mann and his wife, Mary Peabody Mann. His early education was provided informally by his father who fostered his interest in the study of nature. At the age of twelve Mann was sent to the State Normal School in West Newton, Mass., where he became particularly interested in mineralogy. In 1861 he enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School (later part of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), where he took courses in zoology with Louis Agassiz and in botany with Asa Gray.

Gray encouraged Mann to accompany William Tufts Brigham to the Hawaiian Islands in 1864. Mann’s botanical studies there inspired him to specialize in Hawaiian plants when he returned to Cambridge. He presented his thesis, "Enumeration of Hawaiian Plants," and received a B.S. in 1867. Mann worked as Asa Gray’s assistant and curator of the Harvard Herbarium and also served as curator of the Boston Natural History Society herbarium. Gray apparently planned to train Mann as his successor. He hope to put him in charge of the botanical garden and botany department when he traveled to Europe in September 1868. This succession plan ended on November 11, 1868, when Mann, who suffered from poor health for much of his life, succumbed to tuberculosis.

In addition to his "Enumeration of Hawaiian Plants" (published in the "Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences," vol. VII, September 11, 1866), Mann wrote several articles and reviews for various scientific journals. His magnum opus, "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands," was left unfinished at his death.


[Brigham WT.] 1870. A sketch of the life of the late Horace Mann. Bull. Essex Inst. 1:25-31, 41-50.

Dupree AH. 1959. Asa Gray: 1810-1888. Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press.

Horace Mann. 1873. Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 8:129-131.

Stafleu FA, Cowan RS. 1981. Taxonomic literature: a selective guide to botanical publications and collections with dates, commentaries and types. 2nd ed. Utrecht: Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema.


The provenance of this collection is undocumented, however a letter from Mann’s brother provides a suggestion as to how his papers came to the Gray Herbarium. On April 18, 1903, George C. Mann wrote to George Lincoln Goodale that he had come across notes for Horace’s Hawaiian flora. It is likely these notes were sent to the Gray Herbarium shortly thereafter.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892.

Processing Information

Processed by Lynn McWhood, December 1982.

Mann, Horace, 1844-1868. Horace Mann, Jr. manuscripts, circa 1860-1868: 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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