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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00006

Tessie K. Frank watercolors

Scope and content

This collection contains 1,643 watercolor paintings of plants and flowers by Frank and fifteen of blank picture postcards and photographs of flowers. Scientific name and common name are often typed or written on the painting. This may have been done by the artist.


  • circa 1895-1935

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.


2.5 linear feet (6 document boxes) : 1643 original watercolors, 15 postcards and photographs, index

Biographical note

Theresa L. “Tessie” Kohn was born in 1872 in New York City to Aaron and Amelia Kohn. She married Leo Edwin Frank, a Harvard College graduate, in 1893; the couple had no children. Tessie Frank lived in New York City for her entire life and made collections in New York State. She died on June 4, 1938.


1880 United States Federal Census, New York City, New York County, New York. Enumeration District 535, Schedule 1: p.13.

Accessions: Museum and herbarium. J. New York Bot. Gard. 23(288):286-289; 1922.

Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates of Harvard University, 1636-1905. Cambridge(MA): Harvard University; 1905.

Special bequests and gifts. Amer. Jewish Yearb. 41:412; 1939.


The watercolors were originally housed in 31 binders and grouped by plant family. They have been rehoused, maintaining original order. There is no Folder 244.


The provenance of this collection is unknown.

Conservation and Digitization note

Three items, composed of two adhered drawings each, underwent conservation treatment in 2018. The adhered drawings were separated and mended. This work was conducted to prepare for digitization of the whole collection for the "Original botanical illustrations of the Botany Libraries" project.

Processing Information

The finding aid includes scientific names taken directly from illustrations when present. An unknown archival processor added and updated some scientific names which appear in square brackets. The scientific names have not been verified. Common names appear in parentheses.

Edited description

This finding aid was revised in 2021 to address racist language used in four plant common names. Those common names were excluded from the finding aid even though they are written on the artwork.

Frank, Theresa Kohn, 1872-1938. Tessie K. Frank watercolors, circa 1895-1935: 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.

Harvard University Herbaria
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