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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00043

Edward Lothrop Rand correspondence and Champlain Society reports

Scope and Content

The Rand collection consist of correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, diaries, plant lists, and notes pertaining to Rand’s botanical interests and involvement with the Champlain Society.


  • 1880-1895

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


Edward Lothrop Rand was born on August 22, 1859 in Dedham, Massachusetts, to Edward Sprague and Jennie Augusta Lathrop Rand. He attended the Hopkinson School before entering Harvard College in 1877. At Harvard Rand joined a group called the Champlain Society. Formed under the leadership of Charles Eliot, the eldest son of Harvard President Charles William Eliot, the Society spent summers camping and carrying out field studies on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. It was during the group's excursions that Rand developed an interest in nature studies and botany in particular. Rand’s younger brother, photographer Henry Lathrop Rand, was also a member of the Champlain Society.

Edward Rand received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1881. He continued at Harvard, receiving both A.M. and LL.B. degrees in 1884. The following year he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and began an independent law practice in Boston. He continued to study the flora of Mt. Desert Island during his summer vacations, collaborating with botanist John Howard Redfield, another summer resident of Mt. Desert. Rand and Redfield published “Flora of Mount Desert Island, Maine” in 1894.

Rand was also a founding member and the first Corresponding Secretary of the New England Botanical Club. He held this position for 25 years and remained active in the club for the rest of his life, attending meetings and collecting trips and helping launch the club’s journal, “Rhodora.” Rand donated his herbarium of over 15,000 specimens to the NEBC in 1914.

In the summer of 1883 Rand met Annie Matilda Crozier while at Mt. Desert Island with the Champlain Society. The couple was married on June 29, 1893; they had no children. Annie predeceased Rand in 1921. Rand died three years later on October 9, 1924.


Hutchins M. 2010. Henry L. Rand: photographer and visual diarist. Chebacco. 21:50-65.

Robinson BL. 1925. Edward Lothrop Rand. Rhodora. 27(314):17-27.

Series Description

The Rand collection is divided into three series:

Series I - Correspondence. Includes about 20 letters from John Howard Redfield to Rand dated 1894-1895 regarding the flora of Mt. Desert Island and the monograph Redfield and Rand were writing on that subject. These letters are arranged chronologically. There are also around 80 letters from 60 correspondents, arranged alphabetically by sender, then chronologically. Most are dated 1894 and are addressed to Rand. There are also a few letters addressed to Redfield.

Series II - Reviews. Nine reviews and notices pertaining to the publication of “Flora of Mount Desert Island, Maine” were found interfiled with Rand’s correspondence. These have been placed in a separate series for ease of use.

Series III - Reports. Materials include plant lists of Mt. Desert flora, materials pertaining to a Champlain Society birthday celebration, six volumes comprising nine annual reports of the Champlain Society Botanical Department, 1880-1888, and an incomplete diary of Champlain Society activities in 1885.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The letters to Rand regarding the "Flora of Mt. Desert Island" were given to the Gray Herbarium by Rand’s younger sister, Margaret Arnold Rand. It is likely that a group of the letters was lost at some time because there are no letters from people with the last names beginning A-E. The provenance of the Mt. Desert and Champlain Society manuscripts is unknown.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892; New England Botanical Club Archives, 1945-1996, 1894-2012 (bulk).

Processing Information

Processed by Lynn McWhood

Rand, Edward L. (Edward Lothrop), 1859-1924. Edward Lothrop Rand correspondence and Champlain Society reports, 1880-1895: 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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