Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany

William Starling Sullivant, 1803-1873



William Starling Sullivant was born January 15th, 1803 in Franklinton, Ohio and died there (by then annexed by Columbus), April 30th, 1873. Educated at Yale (1823), he initially took up a career as a surveyor, but soon turned to botany with an eventual focus on bryology. A longtime correspondent of John Torrey, Asa Gray, Leo Lesquereux, and others, Sullivant emerged as the foremost American bryologist. Upon his death, in accordance with his wishes, his books, papers and specimens were donated to the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University. For more biographical information on William S. Sullivant, see also "Noble Fellow" by Andrew D. Rodgers, III.

Scope and content:

The Papers of William Starling Sullivant, 1803-1873 consist of 2 linear feet and contain bound and unbound correspondence, drawings, manuscript materials, exsiccatae, photographs, reproductions of correspondence, and biographical materials.

Series Description:

There are eight series:
Series I. Correspondence, ca.1853-1872
Series II. Drawings, ca. 1856
Series III. Manuscript Materials
Series IV. Exsiccatae
Series V. Photographs
Series VI. Reproduced Correspondence, ca 1833 to 1872
Series VII. Biographical Material
Series VIII. Ephemera

Series I. Correspondence
Contains two subseries, bound correspondence and unbound correspondence. Bound correspondence includes two volumes. Unbound correspondence includes both personal correspondence and correspondence found in the Sullivant collection. See also Papers of James, Thomas Potts.

Series II. Drawings
Contains original drawings from which ten plates were made to illustrate the mosses of the Whipple Survey as well as miscellaneous other drawings.

Series III. Manuscript Materials
Contains four manuscript species lists, one by Sullivant and three by C.F. Austin.

Series IV. Exsiccatae
Contains bound exsicate and duplicate printed sheets of labels.

Series V. Photographs
Contains four photographs of scenes near family homes.

Series VI. Reproductions of Correspondence
Contains facsimiles and typed copies of letters ranging from 1839 to 1872 with various correspondents including but not limited to Asa Gray, Torrey, Austin, Hampe, James, and Lesquereux.

Series VII. Biographical Material
Contains Sullivant's will, an obituary from Die Natur, and a translation of the obituary from Die Natur.

Series VIII. Ephemera
Contains assorted clippings, an offprint of a species list, and family correspondence.

Container List
Letters of William Sullivant can be found in the Historic Letters section of the Archives.
The Harvard Open Collections Program has scanned the Historic Letters of William Sullivant. To access these items online, click Here.


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