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COLLECTION Identifier: gra00083

Botany Libraries photograph collection

Scope and Contents

This collection contains images of botanists and their families, field excursions, portraits of botanical meetings, and the history of the Harvard University Herbaria and Botanic Garden. The collection contains a wide range of photographic processes as well as negatives, lithographs, engravings, and some photomechanical reproductions.


  • circa 1770-2020

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Some of the photographs are oversize or fragile and require handling by staff. Researchers must register and provide one form of valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


14.7 linear feet (4 file cabinet drawers, 3 tall manuscript boxes, 1 flat oversize box, 11 oversize folders in flat file drawers)


The images are arranged into three series. Individuals; groups; and plants and places. Images are arranged alphabetically within each series and are housed by size.

Other Finding Aids

There is a detailed inventory in the repository. Contact for information about individual botanists or subjects.


The collection originally contained images related to the Gray Herbarium photographic archives, including portraits and building photographs, but over time images from the Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany, and Orchid Library of Oakes Ames images have been integrated into the collection.

Processing Information

The alphabetical collection inventory was created by Kyle Boyd in 2023. Information in that list was assembled from legacy inventories. The collection was not re-examined by the archivist.

Botany Libraries photograph collection, circa 1770-2020: 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
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2366