Library of the Gray Herbarium

Library of the Gray Herbarium




John Lewis Russell was born on Dec. 2, 1808, in Salem, Mass. After receiving his early education in Salem, Newburyport and Amesbury, he went to Harvard, where he completed his A.B. in 1828 and a divinity degree in 1831. From 1831-1854 he was a Unitarian minister in various places, including Fishkill, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Kennebunk, Me; Chelmsford, Mass.; and Hingham, Mass. On Oct. 4, 1853, he married Hannah Buckminster Ripley. In the same year, he moved back to Salem, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was apparently in poor health in his later years. He died in Salem on June 7, 1873.

Russell was interested in botany and nature study for most of his life. He joined the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1831 and was Professor of Botany and Horticultural Physiology there from 1833 until his death. He was appointed Librarian and Cabinet Keeper of the Essex County Natural History Society when it was formed in 1833 and was elected the Society's president in 1845. He served as vice president of the Essex Institute from 1848, the year the Essex County Natural History Society and the Essex Historical Society merged for form the Institute, until 1861. Russell's special botanical interest was cryptogams, particularly lichens. His library, which was "especially rich in works on cryptogamic botany," was bequeathed to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.


Wilson, Edmund B. "Memoir of John Lewis Russell." Separate from Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 12, No. 3 [1873].
"John L. Russell." Meehan's Monthly 3 (1893): 78, 79.
The Herbaria and Botanical Libraries of the United States, IV." Bulletin of the Torrey Club 8 (1881): 31.


Scope and Content:

The Russell papers consist of 17 sheets of drawings and notes. The topics treated are scenery, plants, insects and shells. Some of the drawings have been copied from published illustrations, and some are microcopse views.

Note: The Historic Letters index lists under Russell a "Report on the Herbarium of the Society 1837." This has not been found.


The provenance of the Russell papers is unknown.


Container Listing: (BOX AJ)


3 sketches of White Mountains, N.H.
1 sketch, dated Nov. 22, 1852, of range of hills in back of a large body of water; list of plants on back 1 sketch of "Falls of Montmorenci" -- probably Montmorency, Quebec


Notes and sketches (coped from a book) about Ulmus Racemosa, 1 sheet
Notes and sketches re Corydalis, Diclytra canadensis, DeC, 1 sheet
Diclytra Canadensis DeC impressed from a leaf. Pittsburgh, Pa." black ink, 1 sheet
Sketch of American Hemlock, copied from a book, 1 sheet
Notes and sketches re Algaricus campestris (mushroom), copied from a book, 1 sheet
Microscopic drawings dated Feb. 2, 1859, 1 sheet
Microscopic drawings of Algae, with reference to letter from T. Parker, April 4, 1859; 1 sheet
Microscopic drawings dated April 1859, with reference to letter to E.T. [Edward Tuckerman], May 11, 1859; 1 sheet
Microscopic drawings dated April 1859, with reference: "see letter to E.T. [Edward Tuckerman], May 11, 1859. in his letter of April 1859"; 1 sheet


Notes and drawings of cicadas (copied from a book), 1 sheet


Drawings of 33 shells, 2 sheets


Indexed in main file under:

Russell, John Lewis 1808-1873
Tuckerman, Edward 1817-1886


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