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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00022

Herbert H. Smith field notes

Scope and Contents

The Smith collection consists of a file of notes bearing information for plants collected by Smith in Santa Marta, Colombia in 1898 to 1901. Information is written on small pieces of paper and arranged in numerical order like a card file. A few printed specimen labels for Santa Marta plants are interfiled with the notes. The collection also contains a letter from Benjamin Lincoln Robinson to Amelia Woolworth Smith dated March 21, 1922, regarding payment for her transcription of these notes.


  • 1898-1901, 1922

Conditions Governing Access

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


0.65 linear feet (1 card file box)

Biographical note

Herbert Huntingdon (sometimes Huntington) Smith was an entomologist known for his collections in South America and the Caribbean. Smith was born on January 21 or 22, 1851, in Manlius, New York, to Charles and Maria Huntington Smith. He was educated at Manlius Academy and attended Cornell University from 1868 to 1870. He first traveled to South America as a student accompanying Professor Charles Frederick Hartt on an expedition to Brazil in 1870. Smith spent much of the next two and a half decades abroad, using intervals in the United States to write about his research and organize his collections.

Smith returned to Brazil to make natural history collections from 1874 to 1877. He was then commissioned to write a series of articles on Brazil for Scribner’s Magazine. He married Amelia “Daisy” Woolworth Smith in 1878. For the next six years Smith made collections in Brazil with his wife’s assistance. A son, Holland Huntingdon Smith, was born in 1886 after their return to the United States. Daisy continued to assist Smith in the field as well as with preparation of specimens throughout his career.

Smith spent 1889 in Mexico collecting for English naturalist Frederick DuCane Godman. He was engaged in making a biological survey of several islands in the West Indies for the Royal Society of London from 1890 to 1895. Smith became curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1897. He worked for the Carnegie Museum until 1903, spending three of those years collecting in Santa Marta, Colombia, and making collections in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Although he is best remembered for his contributions to the field of entomology Smith also made extensive collections of plant specimens wherever he traveled.

Smith moved to Alabama in 1904. He continued to collect and publish on his research and was curator of the University of Alabama Museum of Natural History from 1910 until his death. He was struck by a train and died on March 22, 1919, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


Cornell University. 1878. The ten-year book of Cornell University. Ithaca (NY): B. Herman Smith.

Holland WJ. 1919. Herbert Huntingdon Smith. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 12:353-358.

Smith S. 1903. Mack genealogy. The descendants of John Mack of Lyme, Conn. Rutland (BT): The Tuttle Co.


The provenance of this collection is unknown. The notes may have accompanied plant specimens sent by Smith to the Gray Herbarium.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Field notes and plant identification records, approximately 1804-2000.

Processing Information

Processed by Keiko Nishimoto, 2017.

Smith, Herbert Huntington, 1851-1919. Herbert H. Smith field notes, 1898-1901, 1922: 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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