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Cutler / Dandridge / Thorndike

Scope and Content:

The Cutler/Dandridge/Thorndike papers consist of a copy of Manasseh Cutler's "An Account of some of the vegetable Productions, naturally gorwing in this Part of America, botanically arranged" (from the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences I, 396-493) which has been extensively annotated. The handwritten title page bears the name "Dandridge" in ink in the upper right hand corner, with a pencil line through it and underneath in pencil a name that appears to read "I. Thorndike 2nd." A handwritten index to names in the account is appended at the beginning, a list of errata is found at the back, and throughout the account there are marginal annotations and inserted leaves. Annotations are mostly in ink, some in pencil. Most of the handwriting seems to bear more resemblance to the handwriting of the Dandridge name than to that of the Thorndike, but it is hard to make meaningful comparisons with such small handwriting samples, and it is possible that the annotations were not made by either of the signers. The handwriting does not appear to be Manasseh Cutler's. Most of the notes are in Latin.

At page 407 there is a note stating "I have been examining specs of the plants I brought from Hamilton...." This probably dates the annotation as 1793 or later, because before that time Hamilton (Mass.) was Ipswich Hamlet. It also suggests that the annotator was personally acquainted with Cutler since Hamilton was Cutler's home. A check of the index of the Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D. (by William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, Cincinnati, 1888) turns up no references to anyone by the name of Dandridge, but does find references to Col. Israel Thorndike (1757-1832), a prominent Boston merchant who was a friend of Cutler. [See footnote p. 343, Vol. 2 of above work.] The "I. Thorndike 2nd" inscription on the title page may belong to a descendant of Col. Thorndike.

There is a chance that the "Dandridge" inscription may bear some relation to William Dandridge Peck, who was also a friend of Cutler. (Peck was professor of natural history at Harvard.) They both participated in a trip to the White Mountains in 1804 and both collected plants there.


The Cutler/Dandridge/Thorndike papers were given by Dr. Henry J. Bigelow. The gift was probably made circa 1873-1892 because the name on the gift label appears to be in Sereno Watson's handwriting. According to a note in the library catalog, the volume was moved from the library's cabinet 11 to the manuscript case on Jan. 12, 1981.

An envelope labeled "Drawings and specimens of mosses taken from Manasseh Cutler's Account of some of the vegetable productions..." was found in MC 101 and has been inserted as probably belonging with this book.


See Also:

Manasseh Cutler Papers
Historic Letter Collection (Cutler, Peck)
Semi-Historic Letter Collection (Cutler, Peck, Thorndike)
Gray Archives Photograph Collection (Peck)
Jane Gray Autograph Collection (Cutler)


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Last Updated June 2002
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