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Walter Deane (1848-1930)


The Deane papers appear to have been given to the Gray Herbarium by Deane in a number of separate gifts. There is no complete record of accessions, and some of the papers appear to have been split up at the Gray Herbarium.

The first gift of which there is a record is the card index of preliminary work on the flora of the Blue Hills, Middlesex Fells, etc., which was given by Dean on May 1, 1908. Deane made a series of gifts during the course of 1918. According to Weatherby's article, Deane gave "his entire collection of botanical pamphlets and clippings, some 2600 items in all..." in 1918. A small notebook found in the collection contains a record of some 1918 gifts, apparently in the handwriting of May Day (the Librarian). A number of letters were apparently given in 1918; in order to establish which letters, it is helpful to take a look at the arrangement of the letters that existed when work on this collection was begun.

Series Description:

There were several series of letters.

1. Some folders or boxes were labeled by name of individuals and included correspondence from a wide range of years. The individuals so treated were: L.H. Bailey (1883-1918), W.W. Bailey, C.R. Barnes, M.S. Bebb, Edwin Faxon, C.G. Lloyd, Thomas Morong and M.L. Owen.

2. Some folders were labeled by letter. They were lumped together in a confusing way, but after careful inspection seemed to fall loosely into several chronological series. These were:

1887-1913 (labeled A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I-J, L, M, N, P-Q, R, S, T, U-V, W)
1912-1914 (labeled A, C, D, E-F, G, H, K,, L, M, N, P-Q, R, S, T, W)
[a confusing folder labeled "A-G" seemed to contain B's, 1890-1914]
1915-1916 (labeled A-Q, R-Z)
1917-1922 (labeled A-O, P-Z)

3. Some folders were labeled by year and letter. These were:

1922: A-C, D-R, S-Z
1923-24: A-F, G-Q, R-Z
1925: B-Z, A-F, G-R, S-Z
1926-28: A-D, E-L, M-R, S-Z

Provenance (Part II):

Comparing this grouping with Miss Day's list, we find that letters of Edwin Faxon and Mrs. M.L. Owen were given on May 14, 1918, and letters of L.H. Bailey, C.R. Barnes, M.S. Bebb and C.G. Lloyed were given on May 23, 1918. A note with a let of letters indicating that a packet of Faxon letters was given on June 6, 1918. It seemes likely, then, that most of the letters in group 1 were given in tbe spring of 1918.

It is unclear when the letters in the other two groups were given. It is possible that most of the letters in group 2 were given in 1918, and that others were given little by little, or it is possible that they did not pass to the Gray Herbarium until after Deane's death. Two notes were found in the 1917-1922 A-O folder, one dated May 6, 1928, the other dated May 5, 1924, indicating that Deane had gone through the file and destroyed or rejected many letters.

A few letters to Deane were found filed in the Historic Letters file: it is unclear if they were given separately from the other letters or just separated affter arriving at the Herbarium. These letters have been combined with the rest of Deane's letters and labeled "from HL." Two letters from Rollin N. Larrabee (Aug. 6 and 26, 1902) were found in Larrabee's copy of Agpar's New Plant Analysis Notes, previously found in the field notes stack of the library.

There is a record of a gift of autographs on June 6, 1918, and of autograph letters, A-Z, on Nov. 1, 1918. This probably takes care of the bulk of the autograph collection. A note on the plant lists supposed to have belonged to Audubon indicated that they were given on June 8, 1918. Five historical letters (from Benjamin Smith Barton, Dec. 1, 1789?; Miles Joseph Berkeley, Aug. 7, 1877; David Hosack, May 25, 1813; and Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, Dec. 5, 1834 and July 31, 1835) were found with a note indicating that they had been brought to the Gray Herbarium on Aug. 27, 1930, by C.A. Weatherby from Deane's house. Two letters and an autograph (Alexander Dallas Bache, Charles A. Joy and John M. ) were found with a note stating "From a collection of autographs made by Mrs. Paget of London, Eng. Ex Miss Pettibone, Aug. 31, 1893." There is some question whether the note was intended to accompany all three items. A small group of letters was described as having been read at the March 2, 1917, New England Botanical Club meeting and at another occasion. This consisted of James H. Carruth to Ben W. Austin, Aug. 1, 1887; William Darlington to John K. Townsend, Dec. 24, 1838; Henry D. Thoreau to Benj. Marston Watson, Aug. 5, 1845; Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, Oct. 5, 1854; Joseph Blake to M.S. Bebb, May 18, 1863; A.H. Curtiss to Bebb, Dec. 21, 1865; C.W. Short to Bebb, Nov. 2, 1860; and Edward Tuckerman to Bebb, May 14, 1859.

Judging by the terms of Deane's will, his diaries and portraits of botanists were given by request. The large diaries were labeled as received in 1932. The papers pertaining to the difference between Canadian Foxberries and Swedish Lingon were given in 1918. There do not seem to be provenance records for the other miscellaneous botanical papers.

Biographical Note

Scope & Content Note

Container List

Notebooks & Diaries
Photographs & Albums
Blue Hills Flora
Botanical Papers

Autograph Collection


A-B | C-D | E-G | H-K | L-M | N-Q | R-S | T-Z


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Last Updated June 2002
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