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Jane Gray Autograph Collection

This collection of Autographs was commenced by Dr. Asa Gray during his first visit to Europe in 1839. He received many from Adrien de Jussieu, the elder de Candolle, and other friends. Large additions were made on his later visits to Europe, especially in 1869 by Cesati of Napes, and also in England, France, Switzerland and Germany. Many were added from his personal correspondents.

In 1890 Mrs. Isabella B. James gave to the Gray Herbarium her very valuable collection, including autographs of a remarkable number of early American botanists and their correspondents, to be incorporated with Dr. Gray's collection.

The collection of Mrs. James was rich in portraits, and Dr. Gray obtained many engravings in his first visits to Europe. Mrs. Gray later had a large collection of photographs of botanists. All these have been used as needed. Mrs. Gray in arranging and mounting the autographs, has endeavored to mark for each person the birth and death, the position, the distinguishing work, the plant names for them, the record in Pritzel's Thesaurus, where the collections may be; and to records those who aided Torrey and Gray in the "Flora of North America."

She has restricted the collection to those made by Dr. Gray and Mrs. James. But where Dr. Gray had portraits and no autographs she has tried to supply the autographs, and has also added a few of the early collectors in America. And also those connected with the Herbarium since Dr. Gray's death.

Scope and Content:

The collection is of Botanists, Collectors, those who have aided Botanical work, those for whom plants have been named, and some entomologists; since entomology and botany are often so closely connected in investigations.


Mrs. Gray presents the collection to the Gray Herbarium of Harvard College, with the condition that it shall be kept in a locked Cabinet, and only shown with some attendant in watchful charge.

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