Asa Gray at 200


Asa Gray (1810-1888) was responsible for establishing systematic botany at Harvard and the United States. Gray's ties with European botanists combined with his network of collectors in North America allowed him to serve as a central clearinghouse for the identification of plants from newly explored areas of North America. Through these relationships, Gray was able to build the foundation of the current Gray Herbarium at Harvard. Gray wrote a number of botanical textbooks, including his Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, which became the standard field guide.


Gray served as a link between American and European botanical sciences. He reviewed new European scientific works regularly in the American Journal of Science and Arts and was largely responsible for introducing Darwin's theory of natural selection in the United States.

Part of the Asa Gray bicenntenial celebration at HUH in 2010 was the creation of twelve web exhibits, each highlighting a different aspect of Gray's life and career.



Asa Gray

by Walter Deane

The Bulletin Of The Torrey Botanical Club
2 March 1888, vol. XV, no. 3

Asa Gray died in Cambridge, Mass., on the 30th of January, 1888. The world has lost a most distinguished botanist, and all, who knew him, a cherished friend. No words are needed to sound his praises, and he himself would not have desired it. His early life was spent in the State of New York, where his love for botany was first developed. Born in Paris, Oneida Co., N. Y., one of his earliest occupations was to feed the bark-mill and drive the horse at his father's tannery. He attended the Clinton Grammar School and from there went to Fairfield Academy, entering later the Medical College of the Western District of Fairfield; and, though he graduated with the degree of M.D. in 1831, yet he never practiced medicine.

'This was an important period of his life, for it was in the winter of 1827-8 that his interest in botany was awakened by reading an article on the subject in Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. The next spring he eagerly watched for the first flower and, with the aid of Eaton's Manual, arranged on the old Linnaean System, he found it to be the little Claytonia virginica or Spring Beauty. During this time, he studied with Dr. Priest in his native town and was a pupil of Dr. John F. Trowbridge, of Bridgewater. The correspondence which he carried on with Dr. Lewis C. Beck, an eminent botanist, in regard to the botanical specimens which he had been collecting and studying, led to his going to New York and making the acquaintance of Dr. John Torrey, with whom he had already entered into a correspondence which lasted through the latter's life. Dr. Torrey was, at that time, undoubtedly the most distinguished botanist in America, and his strong and marked character impressed itself firmly upon the mind of young Gray.

Dr. Gray's early interests were not confined to botany alone, for, about this time, he delivered lectures on chemistry, mineralogy and geology, as well as botany, at Mr. Bartlett's school in Utica. In 1833 Dr. Gray became the assistant of Dr. Torrey, who held the position of Professor of Chemistry and Botany in the N. Y. College of Physicians and Surgeons, and from this time Dr. Gray's life was entirely devoted to his favorite science. While there, he issued the first century of his North American Graminea and Cyperacae. A second century was issued shortly after, but the work was never completed. He stayed with Dr. Torrey till the spring of 1834, and then returned to Mr. Bartlett's school, intending to resume his work at the college after the summer vacation. The financial condition of the college, however, prevented this, much to his disappointment, but, shortly after, in 1836, through Dr. Torrey's kindness, he received the appointment of Curator of the New York Lyceum of Natural History. His first botanical papers were read before the Lyceum, in December, 1834, and were entitled A Monograph of the North American Rhyncospore and A Notice of Some New, Rare, or Otherwise Interesting Plants from the Northern and Western Portions of the State of New York. In 1836 he published his first text-book, Elements of Botany, a work conspicuous for its clear and sound reasoning and original thought. It treats of the principles of morphology, histology and vegetable physiology, and prepared the way for the Botanical Text-Book.

In 1835 or 1836 Dr. Gray was appointed botanist of the exploring expedition to the South Pacific, under Capt. Wilkes. During the long delays which attended the setting out of the expedition, preliminary work on the North American Flora, which had been many years before planned by Dr. Torrey, was begun. When the Wilkes expedition finally started, Dr. Gray resigned his position as botanist, and became Dr. Torrey's assistant in the new Flora. The work was arranged according to the Natural System, and in its scope was to be far ahead of anything that had hitherto appeared.

In 1838, Dr. Gray received the appointment of Professor of Botany in the University of Michigan, though he never filled the chair. He continued to work with Dr. Torrey in New York and, in July and October, 1838, Vol. I, Pts. 1 and 2 of the Flora of North America were published. In November of this year he sailed for Europe, to consult the various herbaria, which contained large collections of American plants made by foreign collectors. He visited England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria, and met all the eminent botanists of the day, forming life-long friendships with some of them. His acquaintance with Sir J. D. Hooker dates from this time. He worked incessantly wherever he went and returned to America well stored with information for the continuance of the Flora. Vol. I, Pts. 3 and 4 of the Flora were published in June, 1840, completing the volume of 711 pages. Vol. II., Part I, appeared in May, 1841, Pt. 2 in April, 1842, while Pt. 3, completing the volume of 504 pages, was not published till February, 1843, after Dr. Gray had gone to Cambridge. Here the work was stopped, till it was resumed long after, single-handed, by Dr. Gray. The pressing professional duties of the two associates, besides the constant work required in elaborating and publishing the large collections that were constantly being brought in from different parts of our country, necessitated the suspension of the work, at least for the time.


In 1842, while visiting Mr. Benj. D. Greene in Boston, he accepted an invitation from President Quincy, Mr. Greene's father-in-law, to take the chair of Fisher Professor of Natural History in Harvard University, a position which he occupied till his death. Under him have grown up the vast herbarium and botanical library and garden, which, at the time of his going to Cambridge, were still in their infancy. At that time there was a single greenhouse, no herbarium, and but few botanical works. For eight years there had been no head at the Botanic Garden; since Thomas Nuttall resigned his position as curator, in 1834, to which he had been appointed in 1822, on the death of William D. Peck, the earliest and only professor before Dr. Gray. The Cambridge Botanic Garden was established in 1805, and Prof. Peck was appointed to direct it, as well as to give botanical lectures in the University. Through lack of funds, however, but little material of value for research was collected till Dr. Gray's accession.

Mr. Peck built the house in Garden Street which has been the home of Dr. Gray for so many years and from which have come so many valuable works. The large and comfortable study, added in 1848, faces the south and east and looks out upon the garden, blooming with plants all through the growing season, while especially prominent is the great family of the Compositae, to which Dr. Gray has been so devoted. You were almost always sure, on going past the house to the herbarium, to see him either working at his study table, which was in the centre of the room, or bending over his microscope, which stood in the east window. A fireproof building, annexed to the house in 1864, contains the Library and Herbarium, both the gift of Dr. Gray, who said to the writer not long ago, " I have been all my life accumulating this library for you younger botanists to work with." The library now contains about 8,000 books and pamphlets, while the Herbarium ranks among the leading herbaria of the world.

In 1842 appeared the first edition of The Botanical Text Book, comprising an Introduction to Structural and Physiological Botany and the Principles of Systematic Botany, with an account of the chief natural Families of the vegetable Kingdom, and notices of the principal officinal or otherwise useful plants . This work was published shortly after his removal to Cambridge, having been written previously in New York, in the midst of his other engrossing labors. This work, so ably written in that clear and lucid style that characterizes all his writings, quickly passed through the first edition, and a second, third, fourth and fifth edition appeared in the years 1845, 1850, 1853 and 1857. Volume I of the sixth and last edition, published in 1879, under the same title, was entirely new, the other editions having been rewritten in good part. This edition it was decided to divide into distinct volumes, to better treat of the wide range of subjects, Dr. Gray writing the first part, which treats of Structural Botany or Organography on the Basis of Morphology, to which is added the principles of Taxonomy and Phytography and a Glossary of Botanical Terms. Volume II, on Physiological Botany, by Prof. Geo. L. Goodale, was published in 1885. Volume III, on Cryptogamic Botany, by Prof. Wm. G. Farlow, is soon, it is hoped, to appear, while Volume IV, on the Natural Orders of Phanogamous Plants, Dr. Gray, said nearly ten years ago, that he rather hoped than expected himself to draw up. It is certainly not to be wondered at that he never accomplished it.

In 1846 he published, in the Memoirs of the American AcademyChloris Boreali-Americana, being illustrations of new, rare or otherwise interesting North American plants, selected chiefly from those brought into cultivation at the Botanic Garden of Harvard University, Cambridge. This work was illustrated with ten plates. Only the first decade appeared. In 1848 was published his Genera Americae Boreali-Orientalis Illustrata, beautifully illustrated with figures and analyses from nature by Isaac Sprague. A second volume appeared in 1849. These two volumes contained one hundred and eighty-six plates, but unfortunately the work was not continued.

'Dr. Gray's wonderful power of making botany interesting to the young is shown in his Botany for Young People. The first book on this subject is entitled How Plants Grow, and was published in 1858. It gives a simple introduction to Structural Botany, with a popular flora of common plants, both wild and cultivated, profusely illustrated. Many a botanist of the present day looks back with grateful recollections of the first impulse given to him in his botanical infancy by this book. The other book of this series is How Plants Behave, published in 1872, being a description in the very simplest language of how plants move, climb, employ insects to work for them, etc. In 1868 was published Field, Forest and Garden Botany, being a simple introduction to the common plants of the United States east of the Mississippi River, both wild and cultivated. Those who have used this book know how useful and indispensable it is in studying the plants of the garden. Dr. Gray was never satisfied with this work, and hoped to entirely revise it within a few years. In 1848 appeared a work, which, perhaps, more than any other, has been the constant companion of botanists of the Northeastern United States, both at home and in the field. To all those interested in a knowledge of our plants, the Manual is a household word. This book was entitled A Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. It has passed through five editions, the last appearing in 1867.* Of this there have been eight issues. The first edition included the region from New England to Wisconsin, and south to Ohio and Pennsylvania, inclusive. It afterwards embraced all the country east of the Mississippi River and north of North Carolina and Tennessee.

In 1857 he published his First Lessons in Botany and Vegetable Physiology, with a glossary of botanical terms, largely used as a text-book for educational purposes. This book Dr. Gray entirely revised and published in 1887, under the title Elements of Botany, and it is a very interesting fact that he should have given to this, his last text-book as well as his last published work, the same name that he had previously given to the first one, published over fifty years before. The two books are a most fitting Alpha and Omega to his industrious life. He always spoke with much enthusiasm in regard to this revised work and seemed much pleased with the result. It is interesting to compare the two editions and to see how many of the definitions Dr. Gray found it impossible to improve upon, though thirty years had elapsed since the publication of the first edition. The greater part of the work, however, is much changed to keep pace with the advance of the science.

'For thirty years following Dr. Gray's assuming the professorship at Cambridge, he was constantly engaged in his professional duties, beside building up the library and herbarium and taking charge of the garden. His former pupils are now scattered far and wide, many of them among our leading botanists, who cherish the warmest remembrances of a man who so patiently and skillfully guided them in their early studies. During all this period our country was being explored farther and farther to the west, and fresh material, collected by botanists on government expeditions and surveys, was pouring in to the Botanic Garden. The careful elaboration and publishing of these collections was done with a masterly hand, and appear, with the many contributions to botanical science which Dr. Gray was constantly making till his death, in the Proceedings and Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and SciencesAmerican Journal of Science, of which he was associate editor in 1871; Annals of the New York Lyceum of Natural HistorySmithsonian Contributions to KnowledgeNorth American ReviewJournal of the Boston Society of Natural HistoryProceedings of the Philadelphia and California Academies of Natural ScienceThe American NaturalistGovernment ReportsBotanical Gazette; in the BULLETIN, beside Hooker's Journal of Botany and the Journal of the Linnean Society.


Among them may be mentioned accounts of collections of plants made in 1846 by Fendler, in New Mexico; in 1849 by Chas. Wright, near the Texan boundary of the U. S.; in 1851 and 1852 by Geo. Thurber, botanist to the Mexican Boundary Survey; and in 1845-6 and 1847-8 by Dr. F. Lindheimer, in Western Texas, in which Dr. Gray was aided by Dr. Geo. Engelmann; Forest Geography and Archeology, delivered in 1878 before the Boston Natural History Society, and published in the American JournalScience and Religion, delivered before the divinity school at Yale College, on the subject of the Darwinian theory and published in book form in 1880, and many others. His botany of the Wilkes expedition, published in 1854 with one hundred handsome plates, is alone a monument to him.

Dr. Gray's position in regard to Darwinism is a very interesting one. A man of the deepest religious convictions, thoroughly imbued through his whole life with a firm and reverent belief in the Divine Creator of all things, he accepted scientifically and in his own fashion, he said, the theory of Charles Darwin, while philosophically he was a convinced theist. His paper on the "Diagnostic Character of Certain New Species of Plants, collected by Chas. Wright in Japan, with Relations of the Japanese Flora to that of North America", remarkable for its clear and lucid reasoning, shows plainly his ideas on the theory of distribution, while in the next year, March, 1860, was published in the American Journal his "Review of the Origin of Species by Chas. Darwin," published in London in 1859. In this article he refers to Robert Chambers as "The shadowy author of the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," a work which appeared in 1844 and found little favor with Dr. Gray, who says, " He would explain the whole progressive evolution of Nature by virtue of an inherent tendency to development, thus giving us a word in place of a natural cause." Of Darwin's treatment of the question he speaks with enthusiasm, though he thinks there are still many important questions unsolved. He does not consider the Survival of the Fittest in the Struggle for Life by Natural Selection incompatible with devout theism, and he says, "We leave it for profounder minds to establish, if they can, a rational distinction in kind, between his (the Creative Mind) working in Nature, carrying on operations, and in initiating those operations."


September 5, 1857, Dr. Gray received a letter from Darwin, explaining briefly his theory of Natural Selection, so that he must have been seriously considering these views before the publication of the Origin of Species. Darwin, in a letter to A. R. Wallace, dated May 18, 1860, says of this work, "Asa Gray fights like a hero in defence," while Francis Darwin, in the Life and Letters of Chas. Darwin, London, 1887, says, "Asa Gray fought the battle splendidly in the United States." His various essays and reviews pertaining to Darwinism were collected and published in 1876, in a book entitled Darwiniana, and include papers from the American JournalAtlantic MonthlyThe NationNatureNew York Tribune, a paper on Evolutionary Teleology, and a paper on Sequoia and its History; the Relations of North American to Northeastern Asian and to Tertiary Vegetation, read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Dubuque, Iowa, August, 1872, on the occasion of his retiring from the Presidency. In this able paper, he explains the isolation of these giant trees on the theory of the Survival of the Fittest, and refers back to past geologic times, when Sequoias played a more important part on the surface of our globe. To show how Dr. Gray's mind was stored with information ready to be called into use at any moment, he said, on presenting a printed copy to the writer, that he wrote it in the cars while on his way from California to Dubuque.

In 1873 Dr. Gray was relieved from active duties in the college, beyond the care of the herbarium, while retaining his professorship, and enabled to devote much more of his time to his literary work. And now he began the continuance of the old Torrey and Gray Flora, but on quite a different plan. Over thirty years had passed since the last volume bf the Flora was published and, during that time, a rich fund for the prosecution of the work had accumulated, in the shape of the many valuable botanical contributions written by Dr. Gray and others, and the richly-stored herbarium at Cambridge. The old Flora being now antiquated and rare, it was determined not only to complete the work, but to re-write entirely the older portion. Dr. Gray brought to this great work the experience gathered by close application and study during his whole life, and published in 1878, Volume II, Part I, of The Synoptical Flora of North America (Gamopetalae after Composite). In 1884 appeared Volume I, Part 2 (Caprifoliaceae Compositae), thus completing the great division of the Gamopetale. This last publication covers the same ground as Volume II of the old Flora, and may well be called the crowning work of his life. It is almost entirely devoted to the Compositae, an order to which Dr. Gray had given the closest attention, both in this country and in the herbaria of Europe. The interest awakened among American botanists by his Studies of Aster and Solidago in the Older Herbaria, published in the Proceedings of the American Academy in 1882, shows how eagerly the publication of the volume was awaited. In 1886 supplements were published to each part and bound with the two parts in a single volume. This great work at once raises Dr. Gray to the highest rank among the systematic botanists of the world.

On the occasion of Dr. Gray's seventy-fifth birthday, the 18th of Nov., 1885, the botanists of North America, led by the editors of the Botanical Gazette, presented to the distinguished botanist a handsome silver vase, with the inscription, "1810, November eighteenth, 1885. Asa Gray, in token of the universal esteem of American Botanists." The vase, a full account of which appeared in the Gazette at the time, was beautifully embossed with flowers peculiarly appropriate to the occasion. Prominent among them and fitly commemorating the name of our beloved friend and teacher, were Grayia polygaloides, Lilium Grayi and Notholana Grayi.

A silver salver, accompanying the vase, received the cards of the givers, and was marked with the inscription, "Bearing the greetings of one hundred and eighty botanists of North America to Asa Gray on his 75th birthday, Nov. 18, 1885." It was a beautiful tribute to a man so universally loved and honored.

Dr. Gray was married in 1848 to Jane L. Loring, the daughter of the late Hon. Chas. G. Loring, one of the most distinguished lawyers of the Boston bar. She was a most devoted companion and assistant in all his labors, and accompanied him on most of his journeys. After assuming the Professorship at Cambridge, he made five trips to Europe, the first time being in June, 1850, when he and Mrs. Gray went to England by a sailing vessel, the principal reason for the trip being to work up the plants of the Wilkes expedition. They traveled in Switzerland, and at Geneva Dr. Gray worked for a while in De Candolle's herbarium. From there they went to Munich and saw Von Martius, the distinguished naturalist and traveler, whose work on the palms is one of the most valuable contributions to science. This was the renewal of a warm friendship formed in 1839. They returned by Holland to England and, early in October of the same year, went into Herefordshire to the country place of George Bentham, where they spent two months, Mr. Bentham going over, with Dr. Gray, the collection which he had taken out with him from America on this visit. At Christmas time they went to Kew, where Dr. Gray worked in Sir William Hooker's herbarium, which was then in his own house; and also in the British Museum, Robert Brown-- being at the time there. Dr. Gray says of this distinguished man, that he, "Next to Jussieu, did more than any other botanist for the proper establishment and correct characterization of natural orders." From Kew they proceeded to Paris, where for six weeks Dr. Gray worked at the Jardin des Plantes and in P. Barker Webb's herbarium, and then, returning to England, they sailed for America by steamer in August, 1851.

The second trip to Europe was a short one, occupying from August to September, 1855, when Dr. Gray went to Paris to bring home his brother-in-law, who had been ill there with typhoid fever. He saw, however, some of his old friends. In September, 1868, Dr. Gray again sailed for Europe with his wife, and spent the autumns of 1868 and 1869 at Kew, hard at work. He also worked in Paris, Munich and Geneva, and visited herbaria over a large part of the continent. On this trip, however, he took more holidays than in any journey except the last. In December, 1868, they went up the Nile in Egypt, and returned to Cairo in March, passing twelve weeks in a " dahabeeah " with a family party. Dr. Gray did a little botanizing, but said that a land that had been cultivated 5,000 years was a poor land to botanize in. However, when the desert was within reach, as it occasionally was, and they landed for a walk, he made some specimens and he would say that the desert had more plants in half an hour, than cultivated Egypt in a week. They ascended the river as far as Wady-Halfa, in Nubia, where the cataracts stop navigation. They returned home to America in November, 1869. Again, early in September, 1880, Dr. and Mrs. Gray went to Europe, and this time Dr. Gray saw the Herbarium at Madrid and worked for some time in Paris, and for a long time at Kew, the British Museum, etc. Plants were also sent to him from German herbaria and the Jardin des Plantes, etc., to assist his studies at Kew. He worked also in some of the Italian herbaria. They sailed for home by the end of October, 1881.

The last trip to Europe was taken in April, 1887. This journey was mostly a holiday one, though Dr. Gray did some work at Kew, besides going over the Lamarck herbarium at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Three universities honored themselves by conferring degrees upon Dr. Gray at this time. When the University of Cambridge bestowed the degree of Doctor of Science, Dr. Sandys closed his address, which was written in Latin, in the following words, "This man who has so long adorned his fair science by his labors and his life, even unto a hoary age, 'bearing,' as the poet says, 'the white blossoms of a blameless life,' him, I say, we gladly crown, at least with these flowerets of praise, with this corolla of honor (His saltem laudis flosculis, hac saltem honoris corolla, libenter coronamus.) For many, many years may Asa Gray, the venerable priest of Flora (Florae sacerdos venerabilis), render more illustrious this academic crown!" The University of Edinburgh conferred the degree of LLD., and the University of Oxford that of D.C.L. He was also at this time elected an honorary member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, England.

There was scarcely a society of note, either in this country or in Europe, that did not claim Dr. Gray as an active, foreign, honorary or corresponding member. His name is connected with seventy different societies, from many of which he received distinguished honors. His first degree was an M. D. in 1831, from the College of Medicine and Surgery, at Fairfield, N. Y. Among others, were an A.M. in 1844 and a LL.D. in 1875, both from Harvard University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy in 1841 and was its President from 1863 to 1873. In 1850 he became a Foreign Member of the Linnaean Society of London and, in 1852, a Corresponding Member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1878 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Science of the Institute of France.

Dr. Gray made three trips to California, the first one in 1872. The next one lasted nearly four months, beginning in July, 1877. Mrs. Gray and Sir J. D. Hooker were of the party. They traveled a good deal in Colorado and the Sierra Nevada Mts., going as far north as Mt. Shasta in Northern California. The third trip was in 1885, by way of New Orleans, New Mexico and Southern California, as far north as Chico. From El Paso the party made a detour into Mexico. They left in February, returning early in May. Dr. Gray visited the Alleghany Mts. four times, the first trip being in the summer of 1841, when he visited Grandfather and Roan Mts. in North Carolina. On the second trip, in 1843, he was accompanied by Mr. W. S. Sullivant of Ohio, and on the third trip, in 1876, by Mrs. Gray, Mr J. H. Redfield, Mr. Wm. M. Canby and Dr. and Mrs. Geo. Engelmann. On the last occasion, in 1879, a large party was formed, who visited Roan Mt. and other localities and, especially, the interesting spot where Shortia galacifolia, with its romantic history which identifies the little plant so closely with Dr. Gray, still grows.

After Dr. Gray's last return from Europe, he pressed on with renewed zeal, to complete Vol. I, Part I, of the Synoptical Flora, which was to embrace the Polypetalae. The work had been far advanced already through his own labors and those of his able co-workers, Dr. Sereno Watson and others. Much had been done, but much remained to be done. All the botanists of North America, in particular, were anxiously waiting and praying that the life of their master might be spared to complete this, his last monument. It was ordained otherwise. On the 28th, of Nov., 1887, while working on the Grape Vines of North America, included in the order Vitacae, he was stricken with paralysis, and for just nine weeks, he lingered between life and death. His recovery was impossible, and on the 30th of Jan., 1888, he quietly breathed his last. His death is a great blow to American botanists and a sad loss to his wide circle of friends. His light step and cheery voice will be sadly missed from the Cambridge Herbarium. Ever ready to assist and counsel those who came to him for advice, he leaves behind him many sad but grateful hearts. But he still lives in his works, and as long as the science of botany is studied, his name will be a familiar one.

*There have now been 8 editions, the last a centennial edition done by Merritt Lyndon Fernald.



Harvard Professor


King Louis XVI of France is credited with planting the seed of botany at Harvard in 1785 when he offered the College plants from his royal preserves. The College did not respond, but members of its Corporation were inspired to raise funds to establish a garden. In 1805 Harvard College and the General Court of Massachusetts appointed naturalist William Dandridge Peck as the first Massachusetts Professor of Natural History. Peck's first task was to visit Europe to collect plants, seeds, and books, and to hire a competent gardener. Peck also visited prominent naturalists and established important relationships for the struggling natural sciences in America.


Peck returned to Cambridge in 1807 with William Carter, an experienced gardener from Yorkshire, England. Together they set out to establish a garden on the seven acres acquired for it "about a mile from the college on the highway to the Great Swamp just north of the original Cow Common." By 1810 they had succeeded in establishing a garden designed "along the lines of smaller London establishments." Peck also assumed his teaching duties and moved with his wife, Harriett, into the house designed by architect Ithiel Town constructed on the garden grounds. As the years passed the garden flourished and Peck taught many young men who became distinguished naturalists, but as early supporters lost interest, their financial support declined. When Peck died suddenly in 1822, Harvard found itself without sufficient funds to name a new Massachusetts Professor of Natural History.


Harvard president John Thornton Kirkland named Thomas Nuttall, the English naturalist and explorer, as the "curator" of the Garden. Nuttall served Harvard for eleven years. He was well-liked by the natural history community and popular with students, but he considered himself to be "vegetating in Cambridge" because Harvard lacked a botanical library and herbarium to support his research. He resigned in 1834 to join the Second Wyeth Expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River.


The Garden drifted for the next decade. Natural history courses were taught by Augustus Addison Gould, a local physician with an interest in zoology, and Thaddeus William Harris, the Harvard librarian. Harris, a student of Peck, aspired to the professorship, and came nearer by securing the librarianship in 1831. Prospects improved in 1833 when Harvard received a $20,000 bequest from Beverly physician Joshua Fisher for the natural sciences. The College chose to invest the money until it could support an average annual salary of $1,500. The goal was finally reached in 1842 and, although Harris managed the natural sciences faithfully and well, Harvard and the local natural science community turned to Asa Gray, a young botanist from upstate New York.


By 1842 Gray had attained international prominence in the field of botany through his teaching, research, publications, and communications with the most prominent naturalists of the period. The New York native trained to be a physician but took every opportunity to turn his career toward botany. In 1832 he was offered the chance to teach chemistry, botany, zoology, mineralogy, and geology at the Utica Gymnasium. He encouraged his students to study nature out-of-doors and was free to travel and collect plants between terms. That same year he went to New York and met John Torrey who became his mentor. Torrey supported Gray's field trips, and collaborated on research and publications. Permanent positions in botany were unheard of at the time so Torrey helped Gray find a teaching position at Hamilton College, and later, a curatorial position at the New York Lyceum of Natural History.

Gray's early writings brought both acclaim and controversy. He became a regular contributor to the American Journal of Science, often interpreting European ideas for American botanists, and criticizing conventional notions. Gray's years in the classroom motivated him to write a botanical textbook to supplant the standard American texts he deemed to be of little scientific value. His Elements of Botany was published by G. & C. Carvill and Company in 1836. It was the first in a series of editions and texts that would be used continuously in high schools and colleges for more than a century.

Gray's textbook and his work at the Lyceum brought him to the attention of Jeremiah N. Reynolds who was lobbying in Washington for a government-sponsored scientific expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean and South Seas. Gray accepted his invitation to join the scientific team of the U.S. Exploring Expedition in the fall of 1836. Politics, incompetence, and indecision delayed the expedition for years. Gray continued to work at the Lyceum, but he also searched for stable employment. In 1838 he resigned from the expedition and accepted a professorship in botany at the newly founded University of Michigan. He was the university's first permanent faculty member. The appointment coincided with the publication of Torrey and Gray's first volume of the Flora of North America.

The university sent Gray on a tour of Europe to observe educational systems and to purchase books for the new library. Gray sailed from New York on November 1, 1838, and used the year abroad to accomplish not only the university’s goals, but also to establish relationships with leading botanists, to study in all of the major herbaria and botanical libraries, and to buy botany books for his own library. He gained relationships and knowledge that shaped the rest of his career. Gray realized that European herbaria held few specimens representing the flora of western North America and returned to New York in 1840 determined to explore the West.

Michigan was pleased with Gray's success, but found itself without the funds to support his salary. He shipped 3,700 books to Ann Arbor to form the nucleus of Michigan's library and stayed in New York until prospects in Michigan improved. He continued his research and writing with his expanded network of collaborators including some influential men in Boston.


By 1841 Harvard's Fisher fund neared $30,000, enough to support a professor's salary. Thaddeus William Harris still gave instruction in the natural sciences, and was an excellent entomologist, but he had no real claim on botany if a "first-rate botanist" could be found to teach and oversee the garden. The position was first offered to Francis Boott, a London physician, but he refused to teach zoology so the offer was withdrawn. Gray's travels had connected him to Boott's circle so he soon learned of the position at Harvard. In December of 1841 he contacted a Boston colleague, Benjamin D. Greene, for advice. Greene invited him to visit Boston to explore the opportunity and to meet his father-in-law, who happily turned out to be Josiah Quincy, the president of Harvard. Gray arrived in Boston in January,1842 and met President Quincy and a circle of local botanists at a dinner party arranged by Greene. The visit was such a great success that a formal offer was extended by Quincy in March. Gray quickly resigned from the University of Michigan to become the Fisher Professor of Natural History. This turning point ended the uncertainty in his life. The Fisher professorship marked the real beginning of continuous study in botany at Harvard and Gray had more resources for science than anyone else in the United States.

The 31-year old Gray arrived in Cambridge in July and envisioned the dilapidated botanical garden as his laboratory for propagating new plants to exchange with his colleagues in Europe. He set up lodgings in a boarding house, describing one small dark room as the place he would use for his herbarium. He also explored the local libraries and drew up a list of books needed to support his work to present to President Quincy.

Gray met his first Harvard students on Friday, March 3, 1843. He sent an account to Mrs. Torrey:

...Yesterday afternoon I met the first two sections of my class of Freshmen for recitation. It went off very well. I am pretty good at asking questions. The lads were well prepared. Next Tuesday I meet the third and fourth sections; and on Thursday, the ides of March, I give my first lecture on Botany. If I succeed well, I am sure no one will be more pleased and gratified than yourself, and that of itself is enough to incite me to effort. If I don't altogether succeed, neither satisfying myself nor others, I shall not be discouraged, but try again, as I am determined to succeed in the long run. Nil desperandum. I shall have the president to hear me; but he is said always to fall asleep on such occasions, and to be very commendatory when he awakes...


Gray became a popular lecturer and adapted quickly to intellectual life in Cambridge and Boston. He was already a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was invited to join the Boston Society of Natural History. He also organized a scientific club of mainly college faculty and joined the Congregational Church. John A. Lowell invited him to give a series of lectures at the new Lowell Institute which he gladly accepted.

While he laid the foundations for a career at Harvard he called on his American colleagues to send seeds and specimens from every corner of the continent so he could grow them in his garden and exchange them with European botanists. His scheme was so successful that he was soon tied to the herbarium, abandoning fieldwork to keep up with his extensive correspondence and to identify the thousands of new specimens that poured in. He and John Torrey, along with George Engelmann in St. Louis as the gatekeeper to the west, built a network of collectors and botanists.

Gray's personal library and herbarium grew rapidly. He moved into the Garden House in 1844 and a new wing was added in 1847 to house his important collections.


Dupree, A. H. 1988. Asa Gray, American botanist, friend of Darwin. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Graustein, J. E. 1950. Nuttall's travels into the old west. Chron. Bot. 14: 1-88.
Graustein, J. E. 1958. Harvard's only Massachusetts Professor of Natural History. Harvard Alumni Bull. 1958: 242-243; 257-258.
Gray, Asa. 1893. Letters of Asa Gray. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin.
The Harvard book. 1875. Cambridge: Welch, Bigelow, and Co.
Robinson, B. L. 1911. The removal of an old landmark. Harvard Graduates Mag. 75: 418-421.
Warnement, J. A. 1997. Harvard's botanists and their libraries. Taxon 46: 649-660.




John Torrey

John Torrey : A Biographical Notice

American Journal of Science and Arts : Ser. 3, v. 5, no. 30. June 1873.

Written & Presented by Asa Gray



'The following article forms a part of the Annual Report by the Council to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, before which it was read at the meeting on the 8th of April, ult [sic.]. This accounts for the form in which the biography is cast, and for the exclusion of many details and personal particulars which otherwise would naturally have found a place in it. It is the President of the American Academy rather than the companion and friend of many years who writes; yet the narrative must needs take tone and color from the intimate association of the writer with the subject of it. A. Gray.

John Torrey, M.D., LL.D., died at New York, on the 10th of March, 1873, in the 77th year of his age. He has long been the chief of American botanists, and was at his death the oldest, with the exception of the venerable ex-president of the American Academy (Dr. Bigelow), who entered the botanical field several years earlier, but left it to gather the highest honors and more lucrative rewards of the medical profession, about the time when Dr. Torrey determined to devote his life to scientific pursuits.

The latter was of an old New England stock, being, it is thought, a descendant of William Torrey, who emigrated from Combe St Nicholas, near Chard, in Somersetshire, and settled at Weymouth, Massachusetts, about the year 1640.

His grandfather, John Torrey, with his son, William, removed from Boston to Montreal at the time of the enforcement of the "Boston Port bill." But neither of them was disposed to be a refugee. For the son, then a lad of 17 years, ran away from Canada to New York, joined his uncle, Joseph Torrey, a Major of one of the two light infantry regiments of regulars (called Congress's own) which were raised in that city; was made an ensign, and was in the rear-guard of his regiment on the retreat to White Plains; served in it throughout the war with honor, and until at the close he re-entered the city upon " Evacuation Day," when he retired with the rank of Captain. Moreover, the father soon followed the son and became quartermaster of the regiment Captain Torrey, in 1791, married Margaret Nichols, of New York.

The subject of this biographical notice was the second of the issue of this marriage, and the oldest child who survived to manhood. He was born in New York, on the 15th of August, 1796. He received such education only as the public schools of his native city then afforded, and was also sent for a year to a school in Boston. When he was 15 or 16 years old his father was appointed Fiscal Agent of the State Prison at Greenwich, then a suburban village, to which the family removed.

At this early age he chanced to attract the attention of Amos Eaton, who soon afterwards became a well-known pioneer of natural science, and with whom it may be said that popular instruction in natural history in this country began. He taught young Torrey the structure of flowers and the rudiments of botany, and thus awakened a taste and kindled a zeal which were extinguished only with his pupil's life. This fondness soon extended to mineralogy and chemistry, and probably determined the choice of a profession. In the year 1815, Torrey began the study of medicine in the office of the eminent Dr. Wright Post, and in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in which the then famous Dr. Mitchill and Dr. Hosack were professors of scientific repute; he took his medical degree in 1818; opened an office in his native city, and engaged in the practice of medicine with moderate success, turning the while his abundant leisure to scientific pursuits, especially to botany. In 1817, while yet a medical student, he reported to the Lyceum of Natural History-of which he was one of the founders-his Catalogue of the Plants growing spontaneously within thirty miles of the city of New York, which was published two years later; and he was already, or very soon after, in correspondence with Kurt Sprengel and Sir James Edward Smith abroad, as well as with Elliot, Nuttall, Schweinitz, and other American botanists. Two mineralogical articles were contributed by him to the very first volume of the American Journal of Science and Arts (1818-1819), and several others appeared a few years later, in this and in other Journals.

Elliott's sketch of the Botany of South Carolina and Georgia was at this time in course of publication, and Dr. Torrey planned a counterpart systematic work upon the botany of the Northern States. The result of this was his Flora of the Northern and Middle Sections of the United States, i. e., north of Virginia,-which was issued in parts, and the first volume concluded in the summer of 1824. In this work Dr. Torrey first developed his remarkable aptitude for descriptive botany, and for the kind of investigation and discrimination, the tact and acumen, which it calls for. Only those few,-now, alas, very few,-surviving botanists who used this book through the following years can at all appreciate its value and influence. It was the fruit of those few but precious years which, seasoned with pecuniary privation, are in this country not rarely vouchsafed to an investigator, in which to prove his quality before he is haply overwhelmed with professional or professorial labors and duties.

In 1824, the year in which the first volume (or nearly half) of his Flora was published, he married Miss Eliza Robinson Shaw, of New York, and was established at West Point, having been chosen Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology in the United States Military Academy. Three years later he exchanged this chair for that of Chemistry and Botany (practically that of Chemistry only, for Botany had already been allowed to fall out of the medical curriculum in this country) in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, then in Barclay Street. The Flora of the Northern States was never carried further; although a Compendium, a pocket volume for the field, containing brief characters of the species which were to have been described in the second volume, along with an abridgement of the contents of the first, was issued in 1826. Moreover, long before Dr. Torrey could find time to go on with the work, he foresaw that the natural system was not much longer to remain, here and in England, an esoteric doctrine, confined to profound botanists, but was destined to come into general use and to change the character of botanical instruction. He was himself the first to apply it in this country in any considerable publication.


The opportunity for this, and for extending his investigations to the great plains and the Rocky Mountains on their western boundary, was furnished by the collections placed in Dr. Torrey's hands by Dr. Edwin James, the botanist of Major Long's expedition in 1820. This expedition skirted the Rocky Mountains belonging to what is now called Colorado Territory, where Dr. James, first and alone, reached the charming alpine vegetation, scaling one of the very highest summits, which from that time and for many years afterward was appropriately named James' Peak; although it is now called Pike's Peak, in honor of General Pike, who long before had probably seen, but had not reached it.

As early as the year 1823 Dr. Torrey communicated to the Lyceum of Natural History descriptions of some new species of James's collection, and in 1826 an extended account of all the plants collected, arranged under their natural orders. This is the earliest treatise of the sort in this country, arranged upon the natural system; and with it begins the history of the botany of the Rocky Mountains, if we except a few plants collected early in the century by Lewis and Clark, where they crossed them many degrees farther north, and which are recorded in Pursh's Flora. The next step in the direction he was aiming was made in the year 1831, when he superintended an American reprint of the first edition of Lindley's Introduction to the Natural System of Botany, and appended a catalogue of the North American genera arranged according to it.

Dr. Torrey took an early and prominent part in the investigation of the United States species of the vast genus Carex, which has ever since been a favorite study in this country. His friend, von Schweinitz, of Bethlehem, Penn., placed in his hands and desired him to edit, during the author's absence in Europe, his Monograph of North American Carices. It was published in the Annals of the New York Lyceum, in 1825, much extended, indeed almost wholly rewritten, and so much to Schweinitz's satisfaction that he insisted that this classical Monograph "should be considered and quoted in all respects as the joint production of Dr. Torrey and himself." Ten or eleven years later, in the succeeding volume of the Annals of the New York Lyceum, appeared Dr. Torrey's elaborate Monograph of the other North American Cyperacese, with an appended revision of the Carices, which meanwhile had been immensely increased by the collections of Richardson, Drummond, &c, in British and Arctic America. A full set of these was consigned to his hands for study (along with other important collections), by his friend Sir Wm. Hooker, upon the occasion of a visit which he made to Europe in 1833. But Dr. Torrey generously turned over the Carices to the late Professor Dewey, whose rival Caricography is scattered through forty or fifty volumes of the American Journal of Science and Arts; and so had only to sum up the results in this regard, and add a few southern species at the close of his own Monograph of the order.

About this time, namely in the year 1836, upon the organization of a geological survey of the State of New York upon an extensive plan, Dr. Torrey was appointed Botanist, and was required to prepare a Flora of the State. A laborious undertaking it proved to be, involving a heavy sacrifice of time, and postponing the realization of long-cherished plans. But in 1843, after much discouragement, the Flora of the State of New York, the largest if by no means the most important of Dr. Torrey's works, was completed and published, in two large quarto volumes, with 161 plates. No other State of the Union has produced a Flora to compare with this. The only thing to be regretted is that it interrupted, at a critical period, the prosecution of a far more important work.

Early in his career Dr. Torrey had resolved to undertake a general flora of North America, or at least of the United States, arranged upon the natural system, and had asked Mr. Nuttall to join him, who, however, did not consent. At that time, when little was known of the regions west of the valley of the Mississippi, the ground to be covered and the materials at hand were of comparatively moderate compass; and in aid of the northern part of it, Sir William Hooker's Flora of British America—founded upon the rich collections of the Arctic explorers, of the Hudson's Bay Company's intelligent officers, and of such hardy and enterprising pioneers as Drummond and Douglas,—was already in progress. At the actual inception of the enterprise, the botany of Eastern Texas was opened by Drummond's collections, as well as that of the coast of California by those of Douglas, and afterward those of Nuttall. As they clearly belonged to our own phyto-geographical province, Texas and California were accordingly annexed botanically before they became so politically.


'While the field of botanical operations was thus enlarging, the time which could be devoted to it was restricted. In addition to his chair in the Medical College, Dr. Torrey had felt obliged to accept a similar one at Princeton College, and to all was now added, as we have seen, the onerous post of State Botanist. It was in the year 1836 or 1837 that he invited the writer of this notice-then pursuing botanical studies under his auspices and direction-to become his associate in the Flora of North America.

In July and in October, 1838, the first two parts, making half of the first volume, were published. The great need of a full study of the sources and originals of the earlier-published species was now apparent; so, during the following year, his associate occupied himself with this work in the principal herbaria of Europe The remaining half of the first volume appeared in June, 1840. The first part of the second volume followed in 1841; the second in the spring of 1842; and in February, 1843, came the third and the last; for Dr. Torrey's associate was now also immersed in professorial duties and in the consequent preparation of the works and collections which were necessary to their prosecution.

From that time to the present the scientific exploration of the vast interior of the continent has been actively carried on, and in consequence new plants have poured in year by year in such numbers as to overtask the powers of the few working botanists of the country, nearly all of them weighted with professional engagements. The most they could do has been to put collections into order in special reports, revise here and there a family or a genus monographically, and incorporate new materials into older parts of the fabric, or rough-hew them for portions of the edifice yet to be constructed. In all this Dr. Torrey took a prominent part down almost to the last days of his life. Passing by various detached and scattered articles upon curious new genera and the like, but not forgetting three admirable papers published in the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge (Plantae Fremontianae, and those on Balis and Darlingtonia), there is a long series of important, and some of them very extensive, contributions to the reports of government explorations of the western country,-from that of Long's expedition already referred to, in which he first developed his powers, through those of Nicollet, Fremont, and Emory, Sitgreaves, Stansbury, and Marcy, and those contained in the ampler volumes of the Surveys for Pacific Railroad routes, down to that of the Mexican Boundary, the botany of which forms a bulky quarto volume, of much interest. Even at the last, when he rallied transiently from the fatal attack, he took in hand the manuscript of an elaborate report on the plants collected along our Pacific coast in Admiral Wilkes's celebrated expedition, which he had prepared fully a dozen years ago, and which (except as to the plates) remains still unpublished through no fault of his. There would have been more to add, perhaps of equal importance, if Dr. Torrey had been as ready to complete and publish, as he was to investigate, annotate and sketch. Through undue diffidence and a constant desire for a greater perfection than was at the time attainable, many interesting observations have from time to time been anticipated by other botanists.


'All this botanical work, it may be observed, has reference to the Flora of North America, in which, it was hoped, the diverse and separate materials and component parts, which he and others had wrought upon, might some day be brought together in a completed system of American botany.

It remains to be seen whether his surviving associate of nearly forty years will be able to complete the edifice. To do this will be to supply the most pressing want of the science, and to raise the fittest monument to Dr. Torrey's memory.

In the estimate of Dr. Torrey's botanical work, it must not be forgotten that it was nearly all done in the intervals of a busy professional life; that he was for more than thirty years an active and distinguished teacher, mainly of chemistry, and in more than one institution at the same time; that he devoted much time and remarkable skill and judgment to the practical applications of chemistry, in which his counsels were constantly sought and too generously given; that when, in 1857, he exchanged a portion, and a few years later the whole, of his professional duties for the office of U. S. Assayer, these requisitions upon his time became more numerous and urgent addition to the ordinary duties of his office, which he fulfilled to the end with punctilious faithfulness (signing the last of his daily reports upon the very day of his death, and quietly telling his son and assistant that it would not be necessary to bring him any more), he was frequently requested by the head of the Treasury Department to undertake the solution of difficult problems, especially those relating to counterfeiting, or to take charge of some delicate or confidential commission, the utmost reliance being placed upon his skill, wisdom, and probity.

In two instances these commissions were made personally gratifying, not by pecuniary payment, which, beyond his simple expenses, he did not receive, but by the opportunity they afforded to recruit failing health and to gather floral treasures. Eight years ago he was sent by the Treasury Department to California by way of the Isthmus; and last summer he went again across the continent, and in both cases enjoyed the rare pleasure of viewing in their native soil, and plucking with his own hands, many a flower which he had himself named and described from dried specimens in the herbarium, and in which he felt a kind of paternal interest. Perhaps this interest culminated last summer, when he stood on the flank of the lofty and beautiful snow-clad peak to which a grateful former pupil and ardent explorer, ten years before, gave his name, and gathered charming alpine plants which he had himself named forty years before, when the botany of the Colorado Rocky Mountains was first opened. That age and fast-failing strength had not dimmed his enjoyment, may be inferred from his remark when, on his return from Florida the previous spring, with a grievous cough allayed, he was rallied for having gone to seek Ponce de Leon's fountain of Youth. '' No," said he, " give me the fountain of Old Age. The longer I live, the more I enjoy life." He evidently did so. If never robust, he was rarely ill, and his last sickness brought little suffering and no diminution of his characteristic cheerfulness. To him, indeed, never came the "evil days " of which he could say, "I have no pleasure in them."

Evincing in age much of the ardor and all of the ingenuousness of youth, he enjoyed the society of young men and students, and was helpful to them long after he ceased to teach,-if, indeed, he ever did cease. For, as Emeritus Professor in Columbia College (with which his old Medical School was united), he not only opened his herbarium, but gave some lectures almost every year, and as a trustee of the college for many years he rendered faithful and important service. His large and truly invaluable herbarium, along with a choice botanical library, he several years ago made over to Columbia College, which charges itself with its safe preservation and maintenance.

Dr. Torrey leaves three daughters, a son, who has been appointed U. S. Assayer in his father's place, and a grandson.


'This sketch of Dr. Torrey's public life and works, which it is our main duty to exhibit, would fall short of its object if it did not convey, however briefly and incidentally, some just idea of what manner of man he was. That he was earnest, indefatigable, and able, it is needless to say. His gifts as a teacher were largely proved and are widely known through a long generation of pupils. As an investigator, he was characterized by a scrupulous accuracy, a remarkable fertility of mind, especially as shown in devising ways and means of research, and perhaps by some excess of caution.


Other biographers will doubtless dwell upon the more personal aspects and characteristics of our distinguished and lamented associate. To them, indeed, may fittingly be left the full delineation and illustration of the traits of a singularly transparent, genial, delicate and conscientious, unselfish character, which beautified and fructified a most industrious and useful life, and won the affection of all who knew him. For one thing, they cannot fail to notice his thorough love of truth for its own sake, and his entire confidence that the legitimate results of scientific inquiry would never be inimical to the Christian religion, which he held with an untroubled faith, and illustrated, most naturally and unpretendingly, in all his life and conversation. In this, as well as in the simplicity of his character, he much resembled Faraday.

Dr. Torrey was an honorary or corresponding member of a goodly number of the scientific societies of Europe, and was naturally connected with all prominent institutions of the kind in this country. He was chosen into the American Academy in the year 1841. He was one of the corporate members of the National Academy at Washington. He presided in his turn over the American Association for the Advancement of Science: and he was twice, for considerable periods, President of the New York Lyceum of Natural History, which was in those days one of the foremost of our scientific societies. It has been said of him that the sole distinction on which he prided himself was his membership in the order of the Cincinnati, the only honor in this country which comes by inheritance.

As to the customary testimonial which the botanist receives from his fellows, it is fortunate that the first attempts were nugatory. Almost in his youth a genus was dedicated to him by his correspondent, Sprengel: this proved to be a Clerodendron, misunderstood. A second, proposed by Rafinesque, was founded on an artificial dismemberment of Cyperus. The ground was clear, therefore, when, thirty or forty years ago, a new and remarkable evergreen tree was discovered in our own Southern States, which it was at once determined should bear Dr. Torrey's name. More recently a congener was found in the noble forests of California. Another species had already been recognized in Japan, and lately a fourth in the mountains of Northern China. All four of them have been introduced and are greatly prized as ornamental trees in Europe. So that, all round the world, Torreya taxifolia, Torreya California, Torreya nucifera, and Torreya grandis - as well as his own important contributions to botany, of which they are a memorial-should keep our associate's memory as green as their own perpetual verdure.


Additional Resources:

John Torrey Archives at The New York Botanical Garden

Torrey Botanical Society










Gray's Manual of Botany

1st edition 1848

'Keeping botanists well informed of the advances and ongoing research in their field was a challenging task in the 1840s. Correspondence between prominent botanists contained the most current information, yet those left out of the letter writing circle were ignorant of what was being discovered day to day. Asa Gray realized the need for a work to be published that would be within the financial grasp and scientific understanding of both the professional botanist and the inquisitive amateur. Gray wrote in a letter to William Hooker on January 15, 1841, "You will now and then see some little articles of mine in Silliman's Journal. I prepare these notices merely to awaken and deepen the interest of our scattered botanists and lovers of plants, most of whom see that journal, and few of whom have any other means of knowing what is going on in the botanical world." Hunter Dupree, biographer of Asa Gray, wrote this: "To keep his nationwide network of amateur botanists mobilized and functioning, Gray needed a stronger cement than even thousands of personal letters could provide. This he was forced to do by writing textbooks."


'On November 15, 1845, Gray wrote to John Torrey, saying that he was working on an "imperfect and hasty" botanical manual of New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Gray wrote that he planned to have copies of this manual bound with his "Botanical Text-Book" and sold at an affordable price. He notes in his letter to Torrey that he does not expect to make money on the first edition. Gray writes "How does this all strike you? I am convinced that something must be done, and I will see if we can't have a very popular, and at the same time a pretty good book." Thus, in the beginning of 1847, Gray began to earnestly work on A Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, or, simply, the Manual.

Little did Gray know that this project would take over a year of hard labor, grow to almost 800 pages, and leave him heavily in debt and emotionally drained. Asa Gray's frequent correspondence has become a link to his past, allowing us to piece together important parts of his life. His letters to friends and colleagues in the years surrounding work on the Manual tell a story of bitter dedication to his daunting task.

On January 17 of 1848 Gray wrote to collector and friend Charles Wright saying that he has run heavily into debt and cannot foresee how he will get through it. He writes that the first volume of Illustrated Genera and the Manual were "merely a labor of love for the good of the science and an honorable ambition." He says in this letter, "I should despond greatly if I were not of a cheerful temperament." Gray also mentions how the Manual has become almost 800 pages over twelve months of work, and that it will be difficult to get it between covers.

On March 10, 1848, Gray's frustration shows as he writes to his friend and colleague George Engelmann, saying, "Meanwhile my Manual is out; but not published till the 10th February. What can you expect from a man who takes up a job in February, 1847, to finish in May or June certain; but who, though he works like a dog, and throws by everything else, does not get it done till February comes round again."

In correspondence with his close friend John Torrey written September 28, 1848, Gray writes "As to the Manual, I have unwittingly made it so large, in spite of all my endeavors at compression, that I can make nothing to speak of from the first edition, even if it sells right off."

'The Manual was a task that Gray could not have completed on his own. Through the labor of plant collectors from whom Gray purchased specimens, the scientific studies, research and writings of other prominent botanists of the day, and the constant encouragement of his family and friends, Gray was able to compile, write, and prepare the volume for publication.


Gray dedicated the Manual to his friend John Torrey, inscribing in the front "This volume is dedicated by the author in grateful acknowledgment of the friendship which has honored and the counsel which has aided him from the commencement of his botanical pursuits."

John Carey was a botanist who came to the United States from London in 1830. He was a frequent guest and invaluable companion of Asa Gray in Cambridge until 1852 when he left the United States. Carey revised the proofs of the first edition of the Manual and contributed to the articles on Salix and Carex. Gray writes in his preface to the 1848 printing of the Manual, "I am under very great obligation to my excellent friend, John Carey, Esq., for important assistance rendered throughout the progress of this work, and especially for the elaboration of the WillowsPoplars, and the vast and difficult genus Carex, which are wholly from his hand."



Edward Tuckerman was a botanist from Boston who became interested in the lichens of New England. When Gray was working on the Manual Tuckerman offered his assistance with his specialty. Upon completion of his work, it was decided that the Manual was too long to include the lichens. Gray writes in his preface to the 1848 printing of the Manual, "Especially do I regret that this unexpected bulk has compelled the omission of the family of Lichenes, after they had very carefully been prepared expressly for this work, in compliance with my invitation, by the well-known Lichenologist of this country, Mr. Tuckerman. Nothing but the apparent impossibility of including the whole within the covers of a single duodecimo volume, and the assured expectation that it will immediately be given to botanists in another way, has reconciled me to the exclusion of this important contribution. In a second edition I still hope to give, by means of a supplementary volume, and through the aid of accomplished collaborators, not only the Lichens, but also the two remaining orders of the lower Cryptogamous Plants, namely, the Algae or Seaweeds, and the Fungi." In February of 1848 Tuckerman published A Synopsis of the Lichenes of New England, the Other Northern States, and British America.

William Starling Sullivant was a botanist from Ohio. He collected and studied the plants of the central part of Ohio, making sketches along the way. When Gray was working on the second edition of the Manual he contributed his account of the Musci and Hepaticae, which took approximately one hundred pages. Gray writes in the preface to the 1848 printing of the Manual, "Through his [Sullivant's] labors, it may be hoped that these beautiful but neglected tribes will become as familiar to botanists as our more conspicuous flowering plants now are."

Isaac Sprague (1811-1895) was an illustrator from Massachusetts well known for his work with John James Audubon. Sprague was the illustrator of Genera Florae Americae Boreali-orientalis Illustrata, which was published immediately after the Manual in February of 1848. In 1844 Sprague was introduced to Gray by a former president of Harvard, C.C. Felton. Gray was looking for a botanical artist to illustrate his works, and hired Sprague for the job. Gray called Sprague "the most accurate of living botanical artists" and wrote of him, "He has a singular aptitude for this kind of work and the most exact eye, and conscientious as well as skillful hand."

Self portrait of Isaac Sprague; drawings by Sprague from Genera Illustrata written by Asa Gray

Gray also thanked his "esteemed friends" Mr. Oakes of Ipswich "who is far more intimately acquainted with New England plants than any other botanist" and Mr. Olney of Providence, who "cordially rendered" him aid while working on the Manual. William Oakes was a botanist from Massachusetts. His death by drowning is reported in Hovey's Magazine in the September 1848 issue. Stephen Thayer Olney was a botanist from Rhode Island who specialized in algae and vascular plants.

Though the year was bitter, and his labors pained, Asa Gray completed his Manual and had it ready for publication by January of 1848. Its full title read A Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, but was shortened to the Manual by those speaking of it. Hunter Dupree, in his biography of Asa Gray, writes "The accuracy of the Flora, the use of the vernacular, and complete coverage of all families, made the Manual the most immediately useful and at the same time most palatable work that Gray had produced."

Walter Deane wrote in a biography of Asa Gray, "In 1848 appeared a work, which, perhaps, more than any other, has been the constant companion of botanists of the Northeastern United States, both at home and in the field. To all those interested in a knowledge of our plants, the Manual is a household word."

'"The Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States of which the first edition appeared in 1847, needs no words of praise here. There are probably few members of the academy who do not own, or have not at some time owned, a copy of this model work. Occasionally some over-wise person has discovered that certain plants grow a few inches taller or bloom a few days earlier than is stated in the Manual, but the botanist is yet to be born who could write a more clear, accurate, and compact account of the flora of any country." (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Proceedings, "Memorial of Asa Gray", 1888)

Reviews of Gray's Manual were glowing from the time of its publication, as not only did it fill a need for information, but also provided it in such a way that nearly anyone could find it useful. Four excerpts of reviews clipped from newspapers following the publication of Gray's Manual read:

"Although the technical terms of Botanists are used, they are so gradually unfolded, grow so progressively in the student's mind, that he may retain them in associative memory with little difficulty."

"An invaluable work of reference."

"Heretofore Botany has been a name to be dreaded by all but the most studious, and indicated a science of dull, hard Latin titles. Gray has made it deeply interesting to the general reader, and every fairly intelligent mind may be refreshed with his essays on plants and plant development."

"It is true, Prof. Gray draws largely from other authors and other men's experience, but this does not detract from his merits, as he makes the science so much more valuable to us, that he has our thanks for the performance of a labor so much to be prized, and so unlike the commonplace works of many college Professors - mere repeaters of the results of other men's experience as detailed in books - but so robbed of their vitality and hidden in mystical lore, as to be intelligible to none but those versed in Latin and Greek. We wish more real, earnest workers were in the field - men who give vitalized truths to the masses." There are now eight editions of the Manual printed, the last being a centennial version done by Merritt Lyndon Fernald. Through its many editions, Gray's Manual continues to be a valuable tool for botanists and enthusiasts, proving that the well done work of the past stands up to the test of time. The Harvard Botany Libraries is proud to own an 1848 volume (heavily annotated) which rests in our collection. Those interested are welcome to ask for it in our reading room.




American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Memorial of Asa Gray, 1888.

Deane, Walter. Asa Gray. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, March 1888, p. 59-72.

Dupree, A. Hunter. Asa Gray, 1810-1888. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959.

Gifford, George Edmund. Isaac Sprague: Audubon's Massachusetts artist. Massachusetts Audubon newsletter, v. 14, no. 5 (Jan. 1975), p. 7-10.

Gray, Asa. Genera florae Americae boreali-orientalis illustrata : the genera of the plants of the United States illustrated by figures and analyses from nature. Boston: J. Munroe and Co., 1848.

Gray, Asa. Letters of Asa Gray. New York : Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1893.

Gray, Asa. A manual of the botany of the northern United States: from New England to Wisconsin and south to Ohio and Pennsylvania inclusive, (the mosses and liverworts by Wm. S. Sullivant,) arranged according to the natural system. Boston: James Munroe, 1848.

Gray, Asa. Memorial of Edward Tuckerman. American Journal of Science, 1886.

Gray, Asa. William S. Sullivant: a biographical notice. Cambridge: Welch, Bigelow and Co., 1873.

Hovey, C.M. Death of William Oakes, Esq. The Magazine of horticulture, botany, and all useful discoveries and improvements in rural affairs. v. 14, 1848, p. 430-431.

White, Charles A. Memoir of George Engelmann, 1809-1884. Biographical memoirs. National Academy of Sciences. v 4, 1896, p. 1-21.

Jane Lathrop Loring Gray

By the summer of 1842, Asa Gray was settling in at Harvard and in Cambridge. He found lodgings halfway between the college and the Garden. For $3.00 a week he had a three room apartment: one room for his office, one for a bedroom, and the third, a "small nearly dark bedroom which I shall shelve and use for my herbarium."

Boston was surprisingly quiet, as many of the wealthier Cantabrigians were summering at the shore, but this affected Gray not at all. He spent his early days exploring and inspecting libraries and churches as well as introducing himself to local botanists. Even with a decreased population, Gray began to realize that the women of Massachusetts were unlike those he was used to. In a letter to John Torrey Gray writes:

There's nothing like down East for learned women. Why, even the factory-girls at Lowell edit entirely a magazine, which an excellent judge told me has many better-written articles than the "North American Review." Some of them having fitted their brothers for college at home, come to Lowell to earn money enough to send them through!! Vivent les femmes. There will be no use for men in this region, presently. Even my own occupation may soon be gone; for I am told that Mrs. Ripley is the best botanist of the country round.
Asa Gray to John Torrey, 25 July 1842
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

However, Gray did not have much time to contemplate the joys offered by eastern women. Much of his time was spent on his teaching duties, improving and developing Harvard's Botanic Garden, writing articles for Silliman's Journal, working on his Botanical Textbook, and involvement with his church, Albro's Congregational Church.


During these early years in Cambridge, Gray also became a member of the Boston Society of Natural History and was asked to give a few lectures, including their annual address in 1843. Meanwhile, Gray also served as corresponding secretary for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he even organized a scientific club comprising mainly college faculty and including such august members as historian Jared Sparks, philosopher Francis Bowen, and Harvard's president Josiah Quincy. As Gray reported to Mrs. Torrey in a letter dated 14 December 1842: "So you see I have work enough ahead, if I live, to give me both occupation and anxiety."

It would seem impossible for Gray to add any more obligations to his already overscheduled life. However, in early 1844 Gray was engaged to do a series of twelve lectures at the new Lowell Institute. (1) John A. Lowell offered Gray $1,000 for a series of twelve lectures. This was the equivalent of a year's salary at Harvard (or about $22,757 in adjusted dollars), and impossible for Gray to pass up.

The return of my birthday brings to mind, among other shortcomings that I have neglected to write home since my return. I have been very busy of course, since the 3rd of the month, when I reached Cambridge, in answering the heap of letters that had accumulated and in other business. And I have but just found time to commence the preparation of a course of lectures before the Lowell Institute, which is to commence on the 27th of February, and which will give me plenty of labor and anxiety until they are over.
Asa Gray to his father, 18 November 1843
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

Gray's lectures were a success and he was asked to offer a second series in 1845 and a third in 1846. Gray's protégé and Harvard professor William Gilson Farlow (1844-1919) wrote that it was at one of these Lowell lectures that Asa met his future wife, Jane Lathrop Loring.




Jane Lathrop Loring was born in Boston on August 21, 1821, the daughter of Charles Greely Loring and Anna Pierce (Brace) Loring. Charles Loring (Harvard AB 1812, LL.D. 1850) was a prominent Boston lawyer, a Harvard College fellow from 1838-1857, and a Massachusetts state senator in 1862. While the family lived in Boston, Jane spent a good deal of time in her mother's home town of Litchfield, Connecticut. She served as her father's hostess and mother to her two younger siblings, Susan Mary (b. 1823) and Charles Greely (b. 1828) after their mother died in 1836. She was only 15 at the time and often felt overwhelmed by the responsibility and worried that she was not doing as well by her siblings as a mother would. She felt, though, that caring for them and for her father was an important duty, not to be shirked. Charles G. Loring did marry again in 1840 but not even four years later, when Jane was 22, his second bride, Mary Ann Putnam, died as well, leaving Jane to once again assume the responsibilities of the household.

Jane was intelligent, curious, friendly, and warm hearted. According to Hunter Dupree's biography of Asa Gray, in her own opinion Jane was a wild and careless creature. She saw herself as full of natural life and high spirits and sometimes wanting in dignity. Gray's younger brother George, who lived with Asa in the Botanic Garden house before the marriage, described Jane as "womanly & good, laughs frequently & heartily as if she enjoys it."

Unfortunately, much like her father, Charles G. Loring, Jane was frequently in poor health. She tired easily and often. There was no clear medical diagnosis but often suffered from digestive complaints and would take to her bed for days at a time. Her condition worsened after their marriage and, with no clear cure, she suffered from this weakness for her entire life .

However, in the early 1840s, around the time that Gray was establishing himself in the Boston scientific community, Jane was still in relatively good health and, as a woman in her early 20s, had begun to think of her social life. She wrote to her mother's sister Mary Pierce:

I have not been able to make my grand coming out this winter, because there have been no balls. I do not know when there has been such a quiet winter in Boston, there has not been a ball this year. It is owing partly to the hard times and partly perhaps to the lectures which are without number & end; literally Bostonians are lecture-mad, the theatres even are obliged to be closed.
Jane Loring to Mary Pierce, 29 January 184_
Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society

Jane must have been caught up in this lecture fever and attended at least one of the Lowell Lectures that Asa gave during this time and they were somehow introduced. Sadly, almost all of the details surrounding Asa Gray and Jane Lathrop Loring's early relationship have been lost. What few clues there are can be gleaned from their correspondence to family and colleagues.

Jane met Asa at an opportune time in his life when he was seriously thinking about marriage. At least one of the reasons for this was time management. Writing to colleagues, Gray indicated that he needed a wife to help organize and reply to his correspondence. However, a few letters also seem to indicate a more emotional wish to marry than just having someone to serve as a secretary and help with his work. In 1843, Gray wrote to Elizabeth Torrey, wife of his mentor, Dr. John Torrey.

I found on my return a letter from my brother, announcing the approaching marriage of my youngest sister; which event took place, I suppose, on the 20th inst. the day I left New York. Had I received the letter in New York, I should have arranged to be present on the occasion. I wonder if my turn will ever come!
Asa Gray to Elizabeth Torrey, 22 July 1843
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

The events between their first meeting and the proposal are not available to us at this time. According to the customs of the time, Asa and Jane never spent time alone or discussed their feelings towards each other, as that would not have been appropriate. Instead Gray visited with the family, he helped them in their garden and rockery, and also shared Sunday dinner with them most weeks. By early 1847 Asa had decided that he would like to ask Jane to be his wife. However, her decision was a difficult one and her duty to her family came before any thoughts of romance.

On March 3, 1847, Gray decided it was time to make his intentions clear and wrote to Charles Loring, Jane's father, to request his permission to ask for Jane's hand in marriage. Charles Loring replied the next day:

I received your note yesterday at noon in the midst of an engagement from which I could obtain no release until late at evening, which prevented an earlier reply.

I appreciate & reciprocate the confidence in which it was written, & assure you that there is no person to whom I should, with some trust to cheerfully entrust the welfare of my daughter than yourself: and I could not express a higher regard for you, as she is dearer to me than life. I have no reason to doubt that her hand and affections are free.

To your remaining inquiry I am unable to give any satisfactory answer. You certainly possess her entire esteem and respect and your society is eminently agreeable to her as well as to myself. Her sentiments however, upon the subject of alliance are peculiar and may be affected by other considerations. I should not feel at liberty to anticipate her decision without reference to her, which the nature of your communication of course entirely precluded...

...I might perhaps add that from remarks occasionally made in conversation upon the general subject without reference to individuals I learned that she is [impressed] with the thought that her duty requires her to remain in her present position - I by no means concur in this opinion, but the subject is one upon which my views would probably have far less influence upon her than any other where my apparent comfort were not so deeply involved.
Charles G. Loring to Asa Gray, 4 March 1847
Harvard University Archives

By this time Jane's younger sister, Susan Mary Loring, had married Patrick Tracy Jackson and was pregnant with their second child. However, Jane's father was correct, her sense of responsibility to her family still weighed heavily on her mind. Whether correct or not, Jane felt that it was her job to care for her father and brother and leaving them was not something to be addressed lightly. Reading her letters from this time it is readily apparent that she cares for Dr. Gray, but she is constrained by her sense of duty to her family. The actual proposal comes sometime in March or April 1847. While Jane does not outright refuse Gray's offer of marriage, neither does she say yes. Her difficulty in deciding the proper course and the inconsistency of her feelings caused her quite a bit of anguish. She worried about hurting Gray and about abandoning her father. At the end of April 1847, almost 7 weeks after Charles's reply to Gray, Jane wrote again to her mother's sister, Mary Pierce, for advice.

I have been in a better state of mind for I have decided to let matters take their course & have an explanation if it comes - I am as determined as at first as to what the answer shall be, for I cannot see it right to leave father; but it is a satisfaction I believe I should not have strength to deny myself if I would now -I fear sometimes he [Dr. Gray] may think I have done very wrong, but it is not a wilful wrong to him I am sure - I still think my great fault has been in not having been more decided long ago - it is partly the consequence of his own perseverance - I wish father had never said a word for me! - He is very attentive in sending flowers & books - very kind! I do not like to think that he should blame me, that I have injured him! – Sometimes I think father must think me strange & not treating him with the confidence I have always used; he sees it is very different from what it was the first of the winter, & I say nothing to him! – But how can I speak? I know just what he would insist upon were I to tell him & I do not mean that he shall know the final explanation. And yet sometimes when he sits so still after Dr. - has gone I think he is thinking I am not the Jeannie I was, & that when my confidence would have been most valuable I am silent. And he trusts so perfectly in me!

The letter closes with a sad reminder of how the etiquette of the day made honest communication between Asa and Jane so difficult.

And yet it seems very selfish to be troubling you all who have cares enough - I sometimes wish you were here for I feel as if father might talk to you, & I should know more of what he thought & felt - I cannot speak to him - I cannot let him insist as I know he would on being left - I do not want him to know that I make any sacrifice - If we only met in company a little or sometimes alone! - But it is all so entirely in calls where father is almost always present, that he sees and knows everything that is going on -
Jane Loring to Mary Pierce, 25 April 1847
Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society

Although we do not have access to Jane's written reply to Gray, her later letter to her aunt charmingly illuminates how they became engaged. It was only a few short weeks after the previous letter but the entire landscape of their relationship had changed.

I must write to you, dear Aunt Mary, to tell you how happy I am! and I should have written before, had I not thought you would prefer waiting a day and getting a long letter, than to have a hurried line. And I am sure I am glad beside, for I am in a so much calmer frame of mind & understand my own feelings so much better, that I am sure my letter will be much more satisfactory - But I must begin & tell you the story from the beginning, that you may understand entirely how matters have been brought to so bright a conclusion -

I had a call a week ago yesterday [ ] but nothing different from usual, but Monday morng [sic] I received a beautiful box of the sweet little May flowers & a letter, so beautiful & noble, so afraid of being thought presumptuous & yet so perfectly keeping his own dignity! - Oh it is fortunate I am not a romantic young lady, or my sensibilities must have been very much shocked, for Nancy had come in to help me, & came up stairs as I was in the midst - I managed to tuck it behind the bed & sent her down to fix the flowers. But to get a chance for a second quiet perusal, I at last found my way into the garret & took a seat upon a roll of carpeting, thinking there I could not be interrupted without hearing that someone was coming - Then Lizzie came & I thought never would go; at last she & Nancy both took their departure, & I ran up stairs to write my answer. Just as I had begun Edmunds came to know about the carpets & some potatoes - I was seated again when back came Lizzie to sit & help me till I should go out. At last the only way to get rid of her, I put on my bonnet & went out. I went to the Dr.'s & Aunt Lizzie promised to come for my letter before dinner, & Uncle Charles would take care that it shld [sic] be sent - So I came home & stole into the house that no one need know I had got back, & managed to finish without interruption - I told him just the truth, that whatever my inclinations might be I could not leave father, and begged his forgiveness if he thought I had done wrong - I felt better after the letter had gone for I certainly had tried to do right, though I felt anxious to know what he would say - Tuesday morning I received a long letter, so kind and generous! Fully approving of all I had done, & saying he never had thought I could leave father; & proposing father should spend the winter at Cambridge, & how pleasant to him would be the summer at Beverly & asking whether I would not revise my decision, & propose this plan to father - He said so much about father, that it did not seem justice to Dr. G. that I should not show the letter to him, though I knew what he would say, & scarcely thought he would agree to the Cambridge plan - So Tuesday Evg [sic] I told him what had been going on, & why I had felt it should not be, & gave him the two letters to read telling him my answer to the first - he said at once that there must be no hesitation, that there was no hurry to make any arrangement about him, that he was the man of all others to please him, & that he felt my happiness quite secure - ...

I wrote a letter that evening saying, as I had before said to father, that the express & only condition which would make me consent, was that father's happiness was to be consulted first in all things, & I believe we both feel it most sincerely & will abide by it most strictly - I hope we may only persuade father of it - Oh such a condition as I was in by Tuesday night!

Jane actually made herself sick with overexcitement and took to bed until Wednesday afternoon when...

'...a message came upstairs that Dr. Gray wished to see me a few moments - Sue must have suspected something, for I started up to go down; but on second thoughts concluded to smooth my hair as I was just off the bed, [which] she quite advised & at last she went & I went down - But sentimental stars never reigned over me - I had on my shabby old packing dress & a violent cold in my head! You know what my colds are! - Then as we sat there Edmunds came in for bags for the carpets - & "please mum, where shall I go for the oil" - Then Augusta called me to the door to give me some knitting directions I had asked for & to say "good bye" - Do you wonder I sighed for the privacy of Beverly? - However any head-ache was much better after he had gone, & I went into Grandfather's to tea & bade them all good-bye...
Jane Loring to Mary Pierce, 9 May 1847
Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society


Once Jane agreed, Gray wrote to his family to let them know of his choice.

...The news is just this, I am engaged to be married to a lady who I think is every way calculated to make me happy. When we may look for the event is more than I can say, since it is only yesterday that the lady's promise has been obtained. - Certainly it will not be until fall, but I hope by that time, if it please God to spare our life and health. You will be anxious to know all about her, but it is not easy to give that information in writing. I hope you may see her and know her in due time. She lives in Boston where her father is a very eminent lawyer, and a man of the highest character. She has long been motherless, and her father lost a second wife very soon after marriage three or four years ago, since which Jane has been at the head of his family, her only sister (younger) having been some time married. Though born in Boston, her mother whose maiden name was Brace, was from Litchfield, Connecticut, where her relatives still reside. I have not yet told you her name. It is Jane Loring. Her age I suppose to be 25 or 26, though this of course I do not know directly. I suppose she would not be called handsome, but she has a face beaming with good temper and full of intelligence. - She is the perfect admiration of all her friends for her lovely and excellent qualities. - She is I believe a truly pious girl, and is indeed a person in whom I have the utmost confidence and trust. She moves in the best, though seldom the most brilliant circles of Boston. - Possesses all the usual accomplishments of persons in her station, but is most remarkable for a well-cultivated mind, and for her excellent practical powers.
Asa Gray to his mother, Roxana Gray, 6 May 1847
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

And Jane also wrote to her Aunt and described Gray, in much the same terms that he had described her to his mother.

And now, Aunt Mary, what shall I say about the object of my choice - Shall I try to give a personal description - He is not handsome - about father's height, very straight black hair, & bright black eyes - A very intelligent face, & lights up when he is interested - Perhaps you would not be so struck with him at first for his manner is so excitable that he does not do himself justice, but I am sure you could not be with him long & hear him talk without being interested in spite of yourself - He has so much enthusiasm & warm feeling, so much intelligence and general information, so quick sympathy with anything beautiful or touching - I do not think him perfection, & I hope & believe he does not think me so; but I feel I cannot respect him too highly, & that the more I shall know the more I shall find to love & esteem - He seems to me to have a strong judgment & good sense, & I am sure a most undeviating sense of right - He is quite distinguished as a botanist; & is held in very high esteem by all his friends & acquaintances.
Jane Loring to Mary Pierce, 9 May 1847
Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society

While originally it seemed that an autumn 1847 wedding was imminent, fate intervened. First, Harvard decided to build an addition to the Botanic Garden house where Asa & Jane would live so the nuptials were postponed. Then Jane became ill with jaundice, and lastly and most distressingly, Asa's younger brother George became very sick. According to Hunter Dupree, George came down with typhoid fever. His condition was very bad and he moved out of the Botanic Garden house and moved into the Loring's home in Beverly where he was constantly watched over by Jane. On January 9, 1848, while Jane read to him from the Bible, George Gray passed away.

Finally, in the spring of 1848, more than a full year after they had become engaged, they were married. May 4, 1848 was a lovely spring day. The wedding was beautiful and the reception was held in the Harvard Botanic Garden. The guests walked among the plants and were serenaded by the Aeolian Choir.

The Grays took a short wedding trip to Washington, D.C. in June of 1848 and, upon returning, Jane settled into the house in the garden quickly. More of a problem was her poor health. This kept her from assisting Gray as much as they had both hoped and kept her alone in the house quite a bit as Gray went about his duties. For someone so used to being the mistress of a bustling household, it was quite a change. Her sister offered her advice on dealing with the unexpected loneliness that she was feeling.

My dear little Jeannie,

How grievous I am to hear such sad accounts of you and much do I wish I could go and see you - but that cannot be & I must content myself with writing - They tell me that you are very lonely. ...I think however, as far as I can judge, that a much better plan would be for the Doctor to keep one of his libraries private, and you go down stairs in the morning, as I do, and stay there all day. - You can have one of those charming couches drawn in & watch him & be amused by seeing him work.
Susan Loring Jackson to Jane Loring Gray, December 1848
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

While the Grays never had children of their own, they often had a houseful of nieces and nephews as well as Harvard undergraduates, visiting botanists, scientists, and collectors such as Charles Wright. Jane did her best to aid Asa in his work as well as she could but her health often interfered.

...I believe my fate through life is to be in full drive to catch up with the amount of labour already far ahead - I wake in the morning to think how much there is to do in the day, & go to bed at night thinking how little is accomplished - And my poor husband is waiting for me to finish some necessary things, to take seriously hold & help him; all I do now being some odd tasks of writing now & then -I am afraid he is sadly disappointed as to the famous assistant he was to have when married; it is only many additional things to look after - But then I do not think I have quite had a fair chance, I have been sick so much; & now I sometimes lose a day, & that puts one back so much - I really think I sometimes lose time in feeling there are so many things to do; & scarcely knowing where to begin...
Jane Loring to Mary Pierce, 20 January 1849
Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society



Jane's legacy was more than the work that she performed for Gray but also the effort to preserve and chronicle his life's work. She organized his correspondence, manuscripts, and papers and deposited them at Harvard. She transcribed and edited a book of important Gray correspondence titled Letters of Asa Gray (1893). She then sent gift copies of the book to major university and garden libraries all over the world.

Jane also worked hard to expand and organize a collection of autographs that Asa Gray began in 1893. She toiled diligently to preserve his scientific contributions but also realized the importance of illuminating his more personal characteristics, as in her notes below.

He was quick and impetuous in temper, but the excitement soon over- and one might say of unfailing good nature. He was the cheeriest of household companions, very rarely depressed - only when greatly fagged with some tremendous pressure of work, or some worrying trouble, difficult to settle - very hopeful, with always a happy assurance that everything was going well when he was away, which was sometimes rather trying when his help was needed - and he was extremely fearless.

He had a knack in gathering a bouquet and in arranging it in his hand as he picked, the colors and forms seemed always to fall into their most effective places, and then he would roll them up in a piece of paper to the horror of the on-lookers; but they would bear the carrying so much better when loosely done that one would be surprised how fresh and charming the nosegay turned out to be!

Always on the lookout for plants he would step through the window of a stage-coach without opening the door, when going up a hill, to the alarm of the passengers, if he saw something he wanted - and though in later years he would say at first "My strength is gone, I cannot climb any longer" - yet after a day or two the power would come back and he could still outstrip the younger men.

He was steadfast, faithful in his affections, and with a childlike trust that anyone he wished to see wished to see him - of great simplicity of character and manner, and want of self-consciousness - and yet he had a decided business capacity, and managed money affairs and the many transactions that passed through his hands with great shrewdness and ability.

His feelings were tender & easily touched - so that he did not like to hear or read very moving stories or poetry, especially before people - He had the New England dislike of a display of emotion - But the eyes would moisten readily at anything which moved him in any way.

Because of Jane Lathrop Loring Gray we are allowed a rich glimpse of not only Asa Gray the botanist and champion of Darwin, but also Asa Gray the man, husband, and friend. This is a rich gift that should be acknowledged and celebrated.


(1)The Lowell Institute traces its roots to an 1836 bequest by John Lowell, Jr., a scion of the prominent New England family that introduced production machinery to the manufacture of cotton goods. In his will, John Lowell, Jr. left one-half of his fortune ($250,000) toward the development of public lectures for Boston residents on the topics of philosophy, natural history, and the arts and sciences. John Amory Lowell, the founder's cousin, was appointed sole trustee of the new Lowell Institute and organized the first lecture series in 1839. As set forth in the will, tuition for lectures was equivalent to the "value of two bushels of wheat." (Lowell Institute Archives at Northeastern University, Boston)



Dupree, A. Hunter.
Asa Gray, 1810-1888.
Cambridge : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959.

Farlow, W. G. (William Gilson), 1844-1919.
Memoir of Asa Gray 1810-1888.
Read before the National Academy, April 17, 1889.

Gray, Asa, 1810-1888.
Letters of Asa Gray / edited by Jane Loring Gray.
Boston and New York : Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1893.

Asa Gray papers
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

Jane Loring Gray correspondence,
Archives of the Gray Herbarium

Loring Family Correspondence
Litchfield Historical Society
Many thanks to archivist Linda Hocking for her assistance with these letters.





Museum of Vegetable Products

The Founding: Asa Gray and Sir William Jackson Hooker

In a letter dated April 30, 1858, Asa Gray wrote to Sir William Jackson Hooker saying "I must tell you that in humble imitation of Kew, I am going to establish a museum of vegetable products, etc., in our university." Thus began the Botanical Museum, originally called the Museum of Vegetable Products. William Hooker, director of the Royal Botanic Museum at Kew and good friend of Asa Gray, sent a donation of duplicate materials from Kew that formed the first collection of the Botanical Museum. Hooker originally suggested that Gray visit Kew himself to choose from the duplicates there, but Gray declined his invitation at the time. In addition to specimens sent from Hooker, Gray mentioned in his letters that he would be asking his students and correspondents to send him "every sort of vegetable thing" to help build the Museum.



The collection began with wood samples, cones, nuts, palms, and the like; materials that were valuable in teaching but not suited for public exhibition. Gray's vision for the Museum was in favor of instruction and not intended for financial gain or showmanship. In the early 1870s the collections were kept in ill-suited glass cases at the Botanic Garden. Later they were transferred to Harvard Hall. It was evident from the beginning that a space should be dedicated solely to the interesting materials being collected, as illustrated by an excerpt from The Development of Harvard University since the inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929: "Some of its [the Botanical Museum's] rare but grotesque objects proved far too tempting to students and were apt to roll mysteriously down aisles and stairways, giving incident to otherwise unexciting lectures." Conditions would soon improve.


George Lincoln Goodale: First Director, 1888

Following Gray's death in 1888, George Lincoln Goodale became the first director of the Botanical Museum. Goodale was originally from Saco, Maine. He had been an apprentice in his father's apothecary store for several years, where he acquired an interest in drugs and chemicals. He graduated from Amherst College in 1860 with an A.B. and in 1863 received his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School. Goodale practiced medicine for three years in Portland, Maine before accepting a professorship at Bowdoin College where he taught botany, zoology, and chemistry. In 1872 he accepted an appointment at Harvard as Instructor in Botany and University Lecturer in Vegetable Physiology. In 1878 he became full Professor of Botany. In 1888 Dr. Goodale was appointed Fisher Professor of Natural History, a position he held until 1909.

'George Goodale contributed to the Botanical Museum in many ways. He saw great prospects for the future, including a space with good light, attractive exhibits, accurate labels and interesting objects. Goodale was instrumental in acquiring funds for the Botanical Museum. L.B. Robinson wrote of Goodale "his soliciting always had a fine dignity. It was clear that it was impersonal in nature, for high purpose and unselfish ends." Goodale acquired the funds for the building, cases and other fittings. He then oversaw the process of building a structure suitable for the Museum. It was completed in 1890 and housed a museum display, collections space, a large lecture room, other smaller lecture rooms and laboratories for staff. To complement the new building, Goodale went in search of exhibits to draw the curiosity of the public. Through generous donations by Elizabeth Ware and her daughter, Mary Lee Ware, he was able to commission a collection of glass flowers by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka of Meissen, Germany.

Dr. Goodale gave painstaking attention to his exhibits to ensure that the labeling and arrangement was perfect. In a segment written for Harvard Graduates' Magazine in 1896 Dr. Goodale wrote "It has been the purpose of the one in charge [himself] to keep constantly in mind the admirable definition of museum’ given by the lamented Professor Goode of the National Museum at Washington, namely, 'a collection of labels fully illustrated by specimens.' As far as possible, all of the sections have been well-labeled and have been kept in proper proportion. The result has been, so far as can be judged by the apparent interest of visitors, well worth the trouble taken." With a feature exhibit as notable as the glass flowers, Dr. Goodale was then able to create clever and attractive exhibits of vegetable structures and products in adjacent rooms to inform the public. It was at this time that Goodale realized the other botanical establishments in the University were devoting their attention to plants as they occur in the wild, and so he thought the Museum would benefit more if prominence were given to the economic side of botany. In 1890 and 1891 Goodale made a journey around the world largely in the interests of the Botanical Museum. In 1909 he retired from most of his official duties but accepted the position of Honorary Curator of the Botanical Museum.


Oakes Ames: Director from 1923-1945

In 1923 Dr. Goodale was very weak, having suffered a long illness. It was on September 1st of this year that Oakes Ames was appointed Curator of the Botanical Museum. Ames had visited an anxious Goodale at his home, who claimed he had heard rumors that when he passed away the Botanical Museum would be "practically given up." Goodale secured a promise from Ames that he would stand by the museum should anything happen to him. The following May, Ames returned to the United States from an orchid collecting expedition in Honduras just in time to serve as a pallbearer in Goodale's funeral.

'Ames had spent many years in the study of economic botany, and had built up a reference collection at the Bussey Institution, which was transferred to the Museum. He also placed his own extensive library on economic botany at the service of the Museum. Oakes Ames admits that when he began his duties as Curator for the Botanical Museum he felt inadequate for the task. In his journal he wrote of the unattractiveness of the building; focusing on details such as the heavy ceiling beams and the "ugly golden oak cases" which he felt brought about a melancholy atmosphere. Through donations; mainly those of Mary Lee Ware and Susan Minns, Ames was able to undertake some work on the Museum. The golden oak cases were moved, and new table cases were brought in for the landing.

In June of 1932 the first issue of Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University was released. This journal was used for the publication of research done by the staff and students of the Museum, and were produced by the Museum's own printing shop. The leaflets served as an important source in acquiring an international reputation for the Museum. These publications were sent to botanical institutions in the Americas, Europe and Asia, where they were very successful.

Though reluctant to assume leadership of the Museum at first, Oakes Ames both broadened and strengthened the Botanical Museum. Under his directorship, the building itself was refitted, necessary funds were acquired, and its development in the field of economic botany was greatly enhanced.

Economic Botany exhibits at the Botanical Musuem, circa 1923


Paul Christoph Mangelsdorf (1945-1967)

In 1945 Paul C. Mangelsdorf became the third director of the Botanical Museum. Mangelsdorf was born on July 20, 1899, in Atchinson, Kansas. He majored in agronomy at Kansas State Agricultural College. His first job was with Donald F. Jones, a corn breeder at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Mangelsdorf's work led to his being offered the professorship of economic botany at Harvard; a post that carried with it the directorship of the Botanical Museum. He moved to Harvard in 1940 and remained there until he retired in 1968.

'Mangelsdorf was instrumental in attracting a number of outstanding researchers to the Museum who further strengthened the work done in economic botany, paleobotany and orchidology. According to a biography written by Kenneth Thimann, Mangelsdorf was known as a "commanding figure" at Harvard, as well as a devoted teacher. He was devoted to the welfare of Harvard, and the royalties of a patent he held were used to found the Mangelsdorf Chair in Economic Botany. Thimann says: "He was not only a researcher and plantsman, but also a humanitarian deeply interested in the lives of poor farmers everywhere in the world."


Richard Evans Schultes (1970-1985)

Richard Evans Schultes became the fourth director of the Botanical Museum, beginning in 1970. Originally from Boston, Schultes attended Harvard University as a premed student with a full scholarship. During this time he worked as a clerk in the library of the Harvard Botanical Museum. After taking a course with Oakes Ames called Plants and Human Affairs, he decided to change his major from premed to botany. Immediately after receiving his doctorate, Schultes accepted a position as a research associate of the Harvard Botanical Museum. Schultes spent many years traveling through the Amazon collecting specimens and learning the uses of plants of indigenous peoples. In addition to acting as director of the Botanical Museum, Schultes was also Harvard University faculty. He won numerous awards for his work in economic botany.


'Schultes wrote in "Harvard's Botanical Museum: A Centre for World-wide Research," "The [Botanical] Museum's activities spread not only across the lines of scientific fields but they are also international and spread across the globe. Here, from a small, old and certainly not pretentious building in Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, there are threads of research into ancient plant remains in Peru; orchids in Columbia, Venezuela, New Guinea and Burma; new sources of rubbers and medicines in the Amazon Valley; the world's oldest known fossil plants in Canada; studies of climate changes from pollen in borings in Panama; unusual races and strains of corn from Andean countries; wild corn with cobs an inch long from 7,000-year-old archaeological sites in Mexico; vision-producing narcotics in Mexico, South America, India, New Guinea, Burma and elsewhere; toxic plants of Venezuela; plants that have never been analyzed chemically from many places, near and far. In addition to this, its students and visiting scientists come from countries the world over. The Botanical Museum truly is in the forefront in penetration of Nature's secrets in many parts of this shrinking world."


The Botanical Museum Today

The Botanical Museum today consists of the Economic Botany Collections, the Economic Herbarium of Oakes Ames, the Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants, the Paleobotanical Collection (including the Pollen Collection and the Margaret Towle Collection of Archaeological Plant Remains), the Economic Botany Library and Archives, the Archives of the Oakes Ames Orchid Library, and the Orchid Library of Oakes Ames and Herbarium. The collections are currently housed in the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Harvard University Herbaria.



Bailey, I. W. Botany and its applications at Harvard : a report to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1945.

Current Biography, (1995) v. 56 (3), March, p. 41-46.

The Development of Harvard University since the inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1930.

Economic Botany Archives, Harvard University. Archives of the Botanical Museum.

Gray, Asa. Letters of Asa Gray (1893). New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co.

Gray Herbarium Archives, Harvard University. Correspondence of Asa Gray.

Gray Herbarium Archives, Harvard University. Correspondence of William Hooker.

Harvard Gazette (1990), September 28, p. 11-12.

Jackson, Robert Tracy. (1923) George Lincoln Goodale. Harvard Graduate's Magazine V. 32, p. 54-59.

Kahn, E. J., Jr. Jungle Botanist. The New Yorker (1992), v. 68, p. 35-58.

Lessem, Don. The plant man: Richard Schultes: the life and times of a gentleman and a scholar. Boston Globe Magazine (1987), p. 18-19, 29-36.

Schultes, R. E. 1965. Harvard’s Botanical Museum—a centre for world-wide research.In (Ed. G. Bowden) Journey through New England—a guide. Boston, Mass. 68-69.

Thimann, Kenneth Vivian. (1991) Paul Christoph Mangelsdorf (July 20, 1899-July 22, 1989). Philadelphia: The Society, p. 467-472.





Gray Herbarium and Library

"Dr. Asa Gray has presented to the University his invaluable Herbarium and his Botanical Library; which have been safely transferred to the fire-proof building furnished, at a cost of over twelve thousand dollars, by the generosity of Nathaniel Thayer, Esq., of Boston. A fund has also been raised by subscription, for the support and increase of the collection.... The gift of Dr. Gray cannot be estimated in money, but it embraces the results of many years' labor faithfully given by that distinguished botanist, aided by the generosity of his collaborators and correspondents in various parts of the world."

Annual Report of the President of the University to the Board of Overseers, January 1864



In the beginning...

A handwritten note by Mrs. Jane Loring Gray housed within a folder of documents in the Gray Herbarium Archives says: "When Dr. Gray first came to Cambridge he kept his herbarium in a closet in the Munroe house where he boarded. Finding this too small he applied for the house at the Garden which was granted to him as soon as a house could be erected for Prof. Walker, the present inhabitant."

Asa Gray first arrived in Cambridge in 1842. Starting from the closet of his first room in Massachusetts, his herbarium collection has grown quite a bit since.

In the early 1860s Asa Gray was again in need of a proper place to keep his collections. As we see in the annual report written for the years 1862-1863: "The very valuable collection of plants belonging to Dr. Gray, and deriving great additional value from the fact that the specimens have all been identified by his authority, is now scattered in various apartments of two wooden buildings, and constantly exposed to the danger of fire. Dr. Gray offers to give it to the University, provided the College will put it into a fire-proof building, and provide for its maintenance and increase."

The offer of such a valuable collection as Asa Gray's was impossible to refuse. Just one year later the report from 1863-1864 reports: "Dr. Asa Gray has presented to the University his invaluable Herbarium, and his botanical library, which have been safely transferred to the fire-proof building furnished, at a cost of over twelve thousand dollars, by the generosity of Nathaniel Thayer, Esq., of Boston. A fund has also been raised by subscription for the support and increase of the collection." The following year Mr. John A. Lowell added to Gray's collection with a valuable collection of books from his own shelves, even sending a case in which to store them.

From the American Journal of Science, March, 1865, we find a description of the Herbarium: "The building, to which these treasures are consigned, is 32 feet in front and 56 feet deep, a story and a half high, the walls all hollow and ventilated, for greater security from dampness.... The principal room, for the herbarium, is about 30 1/2 by 35 feet, and 19 feet high to the vaulted ceiling. It is lighted by a domed skylight, and by a large double window in the north-western end. At the height of about 8 feet, an iron gallery, four feet deep, surrounds the apartment, interrupted only by a large window. The space between the floor and the gallery is completely filled by the herbarium-cabinets, except upon one side of the entrance, where a sort of furnace or stove, of soapstone, chiefly in the front room, comes through the partition wall, and supplies warm air by registers. The walls above the gallery are reserved for a second similar tier of cabinets, to be constructed when needed. The cabinets, casings, and all the woodwork except the floors (which are of hard pine, bedded in mortar) are of chestnut wood. The building was constructed by Mr. Edward D. Harris, in a thorough and durable manner, and it is hoped will form a safe and permanent place of deposit for the collections which have been and may hereafter be consigned to it."



In 1879 it was proposed to expand the Herbarium to accommodate the library. "It was thought that the Herbarium-building erected by Mr. Thayer in 1864, and the Laboratory and lecture-room adjoining, the gift of Mr. Hunnewell in 1871 would be sufficient. And it might be so except for the great increase of the botanical classes and the great and permanent extension of the instruction in the department. In consequence of this the rooms in which the botanical library is kept, already too small for this purpose, have become a thoroughfare, to the danger and detriment of the books, and they are much wanted for other purposes". (Herbarium of Harvard University, June 2, 1879).


Sereno Watson, a botanist well-known for his work on the Clarence Kind Expedition to the Great Basin, was appointed curator on June 29, 1874, and remained until 1892, when, upon his death, he was succeeded by Benjamin L. Robinson. Robinson wrote of Watson: "Watson was tall, very erect, had good features, a high-bridged nose, and a carefully tended beard of great length and whiteness. Almost to the end of his life he walked with a brisk elastic step suggesting physical energy remarkable for a man of his years. Though capable and scholarly, Watson was in many ways very unlike Gray, lacking his geniality, wit, and magnetism, and being on the contrary almost painfully shy and reticent. However, he made a capable curator for the Gray Herbarium, patiently perfecting its collections and thriftily building up its resources, the latter end being accomplished by savings from its tiny income rather than by any personal success in soliciting outside aid."

Asa Gray withdrew from teaching at the close of the year 1882-83. His work in teaching was then taken up by George Lincoln Goodale, then an assistant professor. Gray retained his professorship and remained in charge of the Herbarium. From an Annual Report of 1882-1883: "The Herbarium is one of the most interesting and valuable of the scientific collections belonging to the University. It is one of the permanent fruits of Professor Gray's long and diligent life as a systematic botanist, and of his recognized position as the highest authority in the world upon the flora of North America."



'Following Watson's death, B.L. Robinson was appointed curator of the Gray Herbarium on June 20, 1892. According to Merritt L. Fernald in his biography of Robinson, the Gray Herbarium and Library were both in dire straits upon his appointment as curator. Fernald writes: "The Gray Herbarium was housed in the Botanic Garden in a compact brick structure with wooden sheathing and furnishings and already overflowing when Robinson took charge. Reference books were banked in double rows of the library shelves and the specimens were suffering from crowding in their pigeon-holes; and those with latex, essential oils and resins (even though timber-dry) were being riddled and destroyed by grubs and mites. Strenuous measures were imperative to save for future generations the valuable and scientifically irreplaceable Type collections to which monographers will wish constantly to refer."

Fernald went on to describe the financial difficulties of the Herbarium. In 1892 the total income of the Herbarium was $3600, a sum which was meant to support the entire staff of a librarian, assistants, a mounter of specimens, all supplies and publications, as well as building maintenance and repair costs. Needless to say, it was in need of additional funding. The Gray Herbarium was not financed through the College. Robinson appeared to agree with Fernald's statement, writing in a report spanning 1892 to 1935: "In 1892 the Gray Herbarium was in small, crowded, and, in many regards, inconvenient and unsafe quarters."

Robinson then described the library: "The library, already notable from the rarity of many of its works, was sadly cramped in shelving and grown Topsy fashion, books being inserted on the principle of temporary convenience rather than any logical system. The previous librarian, Miss Clark, well trained at the Albany Library School, had sought to bring it into order, but her tenure had been short, the cramped conditions had hampered progress, and she had never been given much freedom in making changes in the shelving. Conditions could not have been very encouraging for a new incumbent."


On January 1, 1893, Miss Mary A. Day was given the position of Librarian, for which the salary was, according to B.L. Robinson, lamentably small (from financial records at the Gray Herbarium Archives this was $600 per year). Robinson described Miss Day as: "of medium height and slight in build, suggested 'wiriness' rather than robust health. Her hair was already graying and without being asked she stated her age to be forty. She conveyed the impression of capability, evenness of temper, and probable industry, with a goodly dash of the 'New England conscience.' Offsetting her inexperience in botany she showed more than ordinary confidence that she could make good if allowed to try and perfect herself in this new field."

It was in 1897 that several important events took place at the Herbarium. After considerable argument, the President and Fellows voted that the establishment be officially called the Gray Herbarium. Up until this point the name had been used unofficially manner. Also in this year the Herbarium was provided with its own Visiting Committee to help raise funds for its survival. The Visiting Committee was made up mostly of personal friends of Gray, or by students who had studied in his classes. From its first recorded meeting in 1897 the Committee wrote: "The Gray Herbarium has been through more than a generation by far the most important one in America, is known throughout the civilized world as the chief representative of descriptive botany in the new world and ought not to be allowed to lose its rank through lack of adequate means of support." During this meeting Dr. Robinson read a letter from a Boston lawyer addressed to the Corporation of Harvard University. The lawyer offered, on behalf of a client who wished to remain anonymous, to give the Gray Herbarium twenty thousand dollars on the condition that the Corporation raise by subscription an additional sum of thirty thousand dollars. This fund was to be called the Asa Gray Memorial Fund and its income to be applied to a descriptive botany professorship, a position which would also serve as the curator of the Gray Herbarium. It was decided in their 1897 meeting that the Committee would henceforth devote its energy to raising the thirty thousand dollars required for the Asa Gray Memorial Fund.

From a booklet describing the Asa Gray Memorial Fund: "It may be safely said that no American has done more than Dr. Gray to encourage a taste for natural sciences, or give pleasure and interest to the amateur in this field. His many botanical works, combining to an extraordinary degree accuracy of statement with simplicity of expression, have for years held the highest rank among books on their subject. Thousands of persons who never had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Gray or experiencing the charm of his genial personality have through his writings come to know, admire and love him. All such persons will surely agree that no form of memorial could be more fitting for Dr. Gray than a permanent fund to assure continued support for the Herbarium, which his untiring efforts brought to its present high plane of scientific efficiency."

The monetary woes of the Herbarium appear to have been widely known in the community. According to an article in the Boston Evening Transcript for May 20, 1899: "The Gray Herbarium, although one of the oldest and most carefully developed scientific establishments connected with Harvard University, has never had endowment at all proportionate to the activity which its scientific prominence imposes. The importance and usefulness of such an establishment are at once apparent. Not only are its publications numerous, embodying the latest results of botanical exploration, but its staff is constantly engaged in answering gratuitously hundreds of botanical inquiries sent in from all parts of the country."


Between 1909 and 1915, through the generosity of the Visiting Committee, the Herbarium was able to rebuild and greatly enhance its quarters. The new structure was built exclusively of incombustible materials and equipped with enameled steel furniture. The building was in the Botanic Garden in Cambridge. From an article in the Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 1915: "Entirely rebuilt in steel and concrete, the Gray Herbarium at Harvard is now ready to house the priceless collection of books and botanical specimens which have made this institution at Cambridge famous throughout the world. The process of rebuilding has been a long one, the work having been started in 1910 and carried forward from time to time according to the contributions made to the project."

Benjamin L. Robinson was instrumental in acquiring funds and expanding the growth of the Herbarium and library during his time in charge. In 1892, there were 210,000 sheets of mounted plants in the main collections of the Herbarium. There were 10,054 books and pamphlets in the library. The total assets of the Gray Herbarium were $31,274.45. When Robinson left in 1934, there were 865,210 sheets of mounted plants, 39,250 books and pamphlets, and total assets of $550,496.90.


A report from the Harvard University Herbarium in 1955 recorded: "The building is modern in design and functions. The ground floor contains lecture and laboratory rooms, storage, sorting, mounting and fumigation areas. The library reading room, offices and stacks occupy most of the second floor. The third and fourth floors devoted to herbarium and offices. The entire building is air conditioned. The clean air and constant temperature afford better care for the books and specimens. Recessed ceiling lights in the herbarium and offices make this the best lighted herbarium. Prior to the move, wooden cases held a portion of the collections of the Gray Herbarium. So that all herbarium specimens would be housed in steel herbarium cases and to allow for future expansion, 440 steel herbarium cases were included in the cost of the building. During April and May of 1954 the Gray Herbarium was completely moved from its former location on Garden Street into the new herbarium building at 22 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge."


Today at the Gray Herbarium

The Gray Herbarium and Library are still housed at 22 Divinity Avenue today. They are now a part of the larger Harvard University Herbaria and Harvard University Botany Libraries. The Harvard University Herbaria includes the collections of the Gray Herbarium, the Herbarium of the Arnold Arboretum, the Economic Herbarium of Oakes Ames, the Oakes Orchid Herbarium, and the Farlow Herbarium. The Harvard University Botany Libraries includes Gray Herbarium and Arnold Arboretum collections, the Economic Botany Library, the Orchid Library of Oakes Ames, and the Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany. The 35,000 volume horticultural library at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain is managed separately, but works in close cooperation with the libraries at 22 Divinity Avenue. The staff at the Botany Libraries also provides access to a wide range of rich archival collections, including the Archives of the Gray Herbarium, The Archives of the Farlow Herbarium, the portions of the Arnold Arboretum Archives, the Economic Botany Archives, the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium Archives, the Archives of Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka and the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, the Tina and R. Gordon Wasson Ethnomycological Collection Archives, and the Henry David Thoreau Herbarium.

The Harvard University Botany Libraries are open to the public and welcome all who are interested. They are non-circulating and have closed stacks, but staff are happy to assist researchers and retrieve items from the collections for use in their reading rooms. For archival requests, please make an appointment with the archivist at



A brief account of some of the scientific institutions of Boston and vicinity / prepared by the local committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for distribution to members of the Association, at the Boston meeting, August, 1880. Boston: Published by the local committee, 1880 (Cambridge, Mass.: University Press).

Archives of the Gray Herbarium: Administrative, Employment, Miscellaneous Records and Papers.

Collins, Reed C. "Gray Herbarium." Botanical activities at Harvard. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1965-1976.

Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. "Biographical memoir of Benjamin Lincoln Robinson, 1864-1935." Washington: National Academy of Sciences, 1937.

The Development of Harvard University since the inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1930.

Harvard University Herbarium. American Journal of Science, Volume 39, March 1865.

Howard, Richard A. "The Harvard University Herbarium." Flora Malesiana Bulletin. No. 11, February 1955.

Robinson, B.L. "The Gray Herbarium at Harvard College." Harvard Alumni Bulletin, May 9, 1929.

Robinson, B.L. "Miss Day." Rhodora. Volume 26, No. 303, March 1924.

Warnement, Judith A. "Botanical libraries and herbaria in North America. 3. Harvard's botanists and their libraries." Utrecht, Netherlands, International Bureau for Plant Taxonomy and Nomenclature, 1997.


Gray's Peak

"But gloriously tipped with gold are the crest-ridges, and steadily the luster crawls down the steep rock-faces, until at last the glowing day is everywhere, save in those profound coverts where the cold, clear springs are hidden under tufted mosses and closely-twined arms of Dryads, and in the subterranean recesses of shaft, or tunnel, or stope, where the swart miner swings the sledge in perpetual midnight"

From Camp and cabin: sketches of life and travel in the West by Rossiter Worthington Raymond from the chapter "The Ascent of Gray's Peak".



"One can ride to the summit of Gray's Peak in a carriage, but we preferred to go on horseback. The morning was breezy and cloudless, the ascent gradual, and as we mounted higher and higher toward the clouds, the green valley with its shady nooks and silvery streams was as charming as glimpses of fairy land."

From Alice Polk Hill's 1915 book Colorado pioneers in picture and story.


Gray's Peak is in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, standing approximately 14,350 feet high. It is beside Torrey's Peak, named for Gray's close friend and colleague, John Torrey. Both peaks were named by botanist Charles C. Parry. Dr. Parry wrote: "In my first botanical exploration of the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, in 1861, I applied the name of 'Torrey and Gray' to twin peaks which, from a distant view, had often attracted my attention."

Charles Christopher Parry was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1823. Nine years later his family relocated to Washington County, New York. Parry studied medical botany and later obtained the degree of Doctor of Medicine from Columbia College. His earliest botanical collecting was done near his home in New York. For nearly thirty years his time was spent observing and collecting in the field.

It is a common practice among botanists to name newly discovered plants after one another. It is a sign of respect to bestow the name of a colleague or friend upon a newly described specimen. Charles Parry went a step further when he named mountain peaks after his friends and colleagues Asa Gray and John Torrey.

On the August 14, 1872, Parry again visited Gray's Peak, along with Asa Gray, his wife Jane Loring Gray, and others, for its proper dedication. Hunter Dupree, biographer of Asa Gray, wrote:

"With Parry as a host and a whole party of local citizens in attendance, both Dr. and Mrs. Gray ascended Gray's Peak to take possession of one of the loftiest spots in Colorado. It was, of course, an easy climb, but "such a sea of peaks, north, south, east & west, - patches of snow, little green vallies, mountain sides, the South Park a long stretch of green far away to the S.E., below us a blue-green little lake in a mass of snow, close around us the sharp base mt. ridges, & far away on the horizon, the misty plains, reaching away to the East. What greater honor could come to a man than to have his name attached to such a spot?"


Recorded in a newspaper article, signed "John Cree, President of Party and R.L. Martin, Secretary," which had been preserved in a scrapbook devoted to Asa Gray housed in the Gray Herbarium Archives, we find the following address, delivered to Gray upon this day:

"Honored and Respected Sir:-

It gives me no little pleasure to extend to you this welcome to the summit and center of the Rocky Mountains. And although many of us who surround you on this lofty and sublime spot are strangers to you, you are not altogether a stranger to us. The instructive books you have written, and the fame you have honestly and justly acquired, have gone as far as the waves of our civilization have dashed their fertilizing spray! Most of us learned to respect and honor you when we were students. We, sir, well recollect the difficulty we had in committing then to us, the hard technical terms of your Botany to memory, but our old Latin tutor used to repeat the old saying, "Memoria augetur excolendo," and we found in after years that he was right.

"The human mind is a wonderful contrivance, unlike all other things of capacity, the more you put into it the more it will hold. And in no department of science is this peculiarity of the mind better illustrated than in your favorite science of Botany, and in no individual case do we find a more illustrious example than in your own. The man who can name, and rank and file more than 100,000 plants, must have a better memory than ever was possessed by the King of Pontus."

The address continued in this manner for some time more, praising Gray and Torrey and naming their contributions to science. The newspaper article then recorded that Asa Gray made a "short and appropriate" speech in response. Gray said that he was on his way home from a long journey, and that he had visited famous localities in his recent travels, but that "nowhere had he seen any scenery equal to the view from this peak." After the speeches had been made, the women sang "America (My Country, 'tis of Thee)" for all who had gathered. It happened that the son of the author of that song was also present, and helped them sing. The party then enjoyed the scenery for some time more, before leaving again for Georgetown.

We have also a personal account of the trip recorded in letter from Jane Loring Gray to Dr. Farlow, written October, 18, 1872:

"Dr. Gray's ascent of his own peak made quite a stir, & all Georgetown, the base of ascent, apparently turned out in honor! _ We had a dinner there, & then went off to sleep some 8 miles up a valley. Next morning rode in carriages up mts. to within 3 miles of the summit, then took horses to the top, above grass, flowers, & vegetation, over some patches of snow, then rough crumbling rocks, savage wildness about us & so to the summit, some 20 of us, where the view was the grandest & most extensive I ever saw - There we had speeches, & resolutions that Gray's Peak was a fixed name, & so also should be Torrey's Peak. The newspaper report would delight you, were it worth sending - We came down to our carriages for lunch, & so back to Georgetown-"

Photographs from the trip Gray's Peak, 1872. Archives of the Gray Herbarium

The mound of stones in the images above may seem strange to be piled upon a mountaintop. Rossiter Worthington Raymond explains in his 1880 book Camp and Cabin: Sketches of Life and Travel in the West:

"The peak seems to be formed of loose fragments of rock, piled up in confusion. How did they get here? They didn't get here: they were here always. This heap of stones is the effect of ages of frost and snow and wind upon the once solid rock. At our left, as we ascend, stands a solitary crag, which has not yet quite yielded, nor toppled into ruins, but is seamed and cracked through and through."

Asa Gray's memory and name live on today in a multitude of ways. From his library and herbarium at Harvard University, to the descriptions of plants he dedicated his life to, we are reminded of him through the lasting impressions he left upon this world. His lofty peak in the Rocky Mountains will stand for generation upon generation to come, reminding us of his vast contributions to botany.

In the book Birds of the Rockies (1902) by Leander Sylvester Keyser, it is written:

"The panorama from Gray's Peak is one to inspire awe and dwell forever in the memory, an alpine wonderland indeed and in truth. To the north, northwest, and west there stretches, as far as the eye can reach, a vast wilderness of snowy peaks and ranges, many of them with a rosy glow in the sunshine, tier upon tier, terrace above terrace, here in serried ranks, there in isolated grandeur, some just beyond the dividing cañons, others fifty, sixty, a hundred miles away, cyclopean, majestic infinite".

"The summit of Gray's Peak is a favorable viewpoint from which to study the complexion, the idiosyncrasies, if you please, of individual mountains, each of which seems to have a personality of its own. Here is Gray's Peak itself, calm, smiling, good-natured as a summer morning; yonder is Torrey's, next-door neighbor, cruel, relentless, defiant, always threatening with cyclone or tornado, or forging the thunder-bolts of Vulcan. Some mountains appear grand and dignified, others look like spitfires. On one side some bear smooth and green slopes almost to the top, while the other is scarred, craggy, and precipitous."


Rossiter Worthington Raymond wrote of his ascent to Gray's Peak in his 1880 book Camp and Cabin: Sketches of Life and Travel in the West:

"Gloriously tipped with gold are the crest-ridges, and steadily the luster crawls down the steep rock-faces, until at last the glowing day is everywhere, save in those profound coverts where the cold, clear springs are hidden under tufted mosses and closely-twined arms of Dryads, and in the subterranean recesses of shaft, or tunnel, or stope, where the swart miner swings the sledge in perpetual midnight. The mountain-sides are still covered with timber, though sadly scarred by great fires which the recklessness of the inhabitants occasions or permits. The straight, dead pines, first charred and afterwards bleached, bristle like gray porcupine-quills on the back of the range. In the more accessible places wood-cutters are at work, felling the dry timber, and shooting it down the steep precipices to the valley. All along the base of the mountains are the mouths of inchoate tunnels, reminding us of those curious organisms that begin with a mouth only, and develop their bowels afterward."

Raymond continues further on:

"Eastward, another turn of the marvelous kaleidoscope, and a new combination of the endless beauties of outline, tiny, and shade; and beyond all ending and blending in the illimitable sky, the case ocean of the Plains. Upward, the empty heavens, speaking unutterable things; and everywhere the thin, pure, sweet mountain air, which one rather drinks than breathes, feeling the while that intoxicating combination of inspiring stimulus and delicious languor which nothing else bestows. It takes a good while to go up to Gray's Peak; but mark how short a tale shall put you down. A climb for descending the steep summit, leading the horses, - a brisk ride, with gallops interspersed, down the valley, through deepening twilight - and at last, beneath the glamour of a full white moon - Georgetown, Denver, C.P.R.R"


Archives of the Gray Herbarium. Papers of Charles C. Parry.

Dupree, A. Hunter. Asa Gray, 1810-1888. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959.

Gray, Asa. Letters of Asa Gray. New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1894.

Hill, Alice Polk. Colorado pioneers in picture and story. Denver: Brock-Haffner Press, c1915.

Keyser, Leander Sylvester. Birds of the Rockies. Chicago, A. C. McClurg and Co., 1902.

Raymond, Rossiter Worthington. Camp and cabin: sketches of life and travel in the West. New York, Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1880.

Weber, William A. King of Colorado botany: Charles Christopher Parry, 1823-1890. Niwot, Col.: University Press of Colorado, c1997.








Shortia galacifolia

A Plant Rediscoverd


This is the story of a botanical mystery. A treasure hunt for a small, modest plant that eluded great botanists for generations. While working in the field, botanists will often write or sketch locations in which discoveries were made ... these notes and maps could potentially be misread, misunderstood, or simply misplaced by future generations. Without a full account of where and when a plant was discovered, something of a botanical treasure hunt can result. It was one of these such situations that plagued the mind of Asa Gray for nearly forty years; when a little plant became the Holy Grail for botanists. The story of Shortia galacifolia (commonly known as Oconee bell) begins in December of 1788 when a French botanist by the name of Andre Michaux was botanizing in the United States. Mixhaux kept a journal during his travels, written in French. Through his journal, as through the journals of other great early explorers, we are able to relive the adventures and hardships of his work in the field. Michaux wrote:

"The roads became more difficult as we approached the headwaters of the Keowee on the 8th of December, 1788... Two miles before arriving there I recognized the Magnolia motana which has been named M. cordata or auriculata by Bartram. There was in this place a little cabin inhabited by a family of Cherokee Indians. We stopped there to camp and I ran off to make some investigations. I gathered a new low woody plant with saw-toothed leaves creeping on the mountain at a short distance from the river. The weather changed and it rained all night. Although we were in the shelter of a great Strobus pine our clothing and our covers were soaked. About the middle of the night I went to the cabin of the Indians, which could scarcely hold the family composed of eight persons, men and women. There were besides six big dogs who added to the filth of this apartment and to its inconveniences. The fire was placed in the middle without any opening in the top of the cabin to let the smoke out; there were plenty of holes, however, to let the rain through the roof of this house. An Indian came to take my place by the fire and offered me his bed which was a bear's skin. But finally the rain having stopped and annoyed by the dogs which kept biting each other continually to keep their place by the fire, I returned to the camp."

Further on in his journal Michaux wrote: "I came back to the camp with my guide at the head of the Keowee and gathered a large quantity of the low woody plants with the saw-toothed leaves that I found the day I arrived. I did not see it on any other mountain. The Indians of the place told me that the leaves had a good taste when chewed and the odor was agreeable when they were crushed, which I found to be the case."

"The head of the Keowee is the junction of two torrents of considerable size which flow in cascades from the high mountains. This junction takes place in a small plain where there was once a Cherokee village. On descending from the junction of these two torrents with the river to one's left and the mountains which face north on the right one finds at about 200-300 feet from the junction, a path formed by the Indian hunters. It leads to a brook where one recognizes the site of an Indian village by the peach trees which still exist in the midth of the underbrush. Continuing on this path one soon reaches the mountains and one finds this plant which covers the ground along with the Epigaea repens."


Michaux sent many specimens from the United States home to France, among them the the low woody plant described in his journal. An incomplete and somewhat misleading label on the herbarium specimen read "Hautes montagnes de Carolinie" (High mountains of Carolina), which contradicted the location Michaux had written in his journal. The specimen of this mysterious plant was housed in a herbarium cabinet in France and remained untouched until 1839. Asa Gray was on a year's absence from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and was on a trip to examine the original sources of American flora as they existed in the principal herbia of Europe. In March of this year Gray reached Paris, where he worked over the collections of Andre Michaux. In a cabinet of unidentified plants Gray came across a faded dry specimen with the label "Hautes montagnes de Carolinie". His interest was piqued, but his time in France was short, and he was obliged to return to work shortly thereafter. Having found the specimen, Gray claimed the right to name the plant, and thus called it Shortia, after a botanist from Kentucky, Charles Wilkin Short.

'Gray returned from his trip abroad in November of 1839 and went back to his work on the Flora of North America. It was not until 1841 that Gray, along with his friends John Carey and James Constable, first went in search of the mysterious plant. Relying almost entirely on Michaux's reference to the High Mountains, Gray and his companions searched in areas over 5000 feet in height. In correspondence written for Sir William Hooker Gray wrote: "We were unsuccessful in our search for a remarkable undescribed plant with a habit of Pyrola and the foliage of Galax, which was obtained in the high mountains of Carolina. The only specimen extant is amount the 'Plantae incognitae' of the Michauxian herbarium, in fruit only; and we were anxious to obtain flowering specimens, that we might complete its history; as I have long wished to dedicate the plant to Professor Short, of Kentucky, whose attainments and eminent services to North American botany are well known and appreciated both at home and abroad.


In 1843 Gray, with his friend William Sullivant, spent three months searching the same territory for his mysterious plant. Again, he was unsuccessful. Gray was not the only botanist in search of this mysterious plant. Shortia had become a treasure hunt for many important botanists of the day. In September of 1851 M.A. Curtis wrote to Dr. Short; "I rather think, if I had a whole summer to myself in those "hautes montagnes", that I could bring it to light. I would give no small sum to rediscover it." John Torrey wrote to Dr. Short in August of 1851 "I wish you would send a young botanist into the mountains of North Carolina to look for Shorta. What would I not give to see complete specimens of that plant!" Torrey writes further on "If I had less to do at home, I would find it, if it has not become an extinct species."

In 1858 Asa Gray studied a collection of Maximowicz's Japanese plants and recognized in his Scizocodon uniflorus another species of Shortia almost identical with the Carolina plant. While the Japanese specimens confirmed the validity of the genus, they gave no more information on the mysterious Carolina plant which no botanist could find.

In 1863 Charles Short passed away; having never seen the specimen of Shortia in the Paris herbarium or witnessed his namesake growing in the wild. In a memorial Asa Gray penned for Dr. Short, Gray wrote "Two or three species of Kentucky plants commemorate the name of Dr. Short as their discoverer. Also a new genus, Shortia, inhabiting the Alleghany Mountains, was dedicated to him by the present writer. But, alas! too like the botanist for whome it was named, it is so retiring in its habits that it is not known as it ought to be, but lives as yet unseen, except by a single botanist of a former generation, in some secluded recess of the Black Mountain of North Carolina. It will some day be found again and appreciated."

In the end it was not Gray, nor Torrey, nor any botanist who discovered the plant in the wild. In May of 1877 a seventeen year old boy named George McQueen Hyams, of Statesville, N.C. was walking beside the Catawba River when he came across a plant he did not recognize. His father, an amateur botanist, sent the specimen to a friend, who in turn wrote to Gray, telling him he thought he had Shortia. In a letter written by Alice Gray in June of 1928, Alice remembers her uncle, Asa Gray, receiving a specimen of the "lost plant" after its rediscovery. Alice recalls her uncle crying "Eureka! Eureka!" to her aunt, upon its arrival.

The search was over.

Charles Wilkin Short was never able to view the herbarium specimen, or see his namesake growing in the wild. In a letter to Dr. Short's daughter written in August of 1879, Gray says "Year after year have I hunted for that plant! and I grew sorrowful at having named after Dr. Short a plant that nobody could find. So conspicuous for its absence had this rarity become, that friends of ours, botanizing in the mountains two years ago, were accosted with the question - "Found Shortia yet?" from people who had seen our anxious search for it. After all, the rediscovery was accidental, and by one not a botanist. Few botanical events have excited more interest at home and abroad; and your honored father is commemorated by perhaps the most interesting flower in N. America, with a counter-part in Japan."

In 1879 Gray organized an excursion to see Shortia growing in the wild. He, his wife, and three other botanists were in the exploring party. Gray says that it was a delightful journey, during which they encountered a small partch of Shortia at the foot of the mountains. Gray expresses regret that he did not find the plant growing higher in the mountains where he thought it had been originally discovered by Michaux, but says "I am not yet 69 years old, and I hope to try once more, having now narrowed the region in which the search should be made with some confidence."

In 1888 Charles S. Sargent visited the mountain region of North and South Carolina, using Michaux's journal as a guide. Following the described location, Sargent found the fertile plain at the junction of the two streams. He came across the footpath, which, "since trodden by the feet of many moonshiners", still existed. Sargent wrote "It was by the side of this path that Michaux, just 100 years ago this month, discovered his 'Arbuste', which denticulate leaves, and here, ninety-eight years later, I found Shortia."

Shortia galacifolia was never found in the mountains, as it grows in lower elevations. It was the reference "Hautes montagnes de Carolinie" written on the Paris herbarium sheet that inspired the minds of generations of explorers, and brought great scientists trudging to mountaintops in a botanical goose chase. Asa Gray's brief first encounter with the mysterious specimen kept his interest peaked for many years. Thankfully he was able to see its resolution while he had the time and strength to visit his little white flowers growing in the wild.



Gray, Asa. Letters of Asa Gray. New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1893.

Jenkins, Charles F. Asa Gray and his quest for Shortia galacifolia (1942). Arnoldia, Vol. 2 No. 3-4, pp. 13-28.

Sargent, C.S. Some remarks upon the journey of Andre Michaux to the high mountains of Carolina, in December, 1788, in a letter addressed to Professor Asa Gray (1886). American Journal of Science, Vol. 32, pp. 466-473.

Sargent, C.S. The Story of Shortia (1888). Garden and Forest, Vol. 1, pp. 506-509.

Savage, Henry and Elizabeth Savage. Andre and Francois Andre Michaux, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986.

Asa Gray Correspondence, Gray Herbarium Archives, Cambridge, Massachusetts.





Expedition to Mexico & the West

"It is one of the occupations to dry plants & papers,
& we spare our room carpet by keeping it covered with papers!"
Jane Gray's diary, 21 March 1885

In 1885 Asa Gray (1810-1888), his wife Jane Loring Gray (1821-1909), and William Gilson Farlow (1844-1919) took a four-month collecting trip that began in Alabama and ended in California. It was the Grays' penultimate trip-Asa was 75 and this was to be the last true collecting trip of his life. The couples' final sojourn, to Europe in the fall of 1887, was "a holiday of art galleries and cathedrals from Vienna to Normandy". [Hunter Dupree, Asa Gray, pg 411]

Asa Gray showed his interest in botanizing in Mexico from an early age. In 1832 he wrote to his mentor and colleague, John Torrey (1796-1873), that he was looking for a position and that he wished to collect in Mexico. "I have for some time been inclined to prefer Mexico, both on account of the salubrity of its climate and of its botanical and mineralogical riches, which so far as I know have never been thoroughly explored." [Asa Gray to John Torrey, 6 April 1832 Letters, I, pg. 36, Library of the Gray Herbarium] It would be another 53 years before this trip would occur, but by then he would travel with W.G. Farlow, a botanist whom he had mentored.

It is unclear if any event precipitated this trip. Gray wrote to Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) in January of 1885 that they were thinking of "getting off for the later part of winter" and that, although they had no definite plans, were leaning toward visiting Arizona and California. Certainly many West Coast botanists were encouraging the Grays to visit them. William Scrugham Lyon (1852-1916), the author of Gardening in California, wrote to Jane in 1884 that the winter weather in California would be beneficial to Asa's health. He wrote "...wishing I were his medical advisor and I would promptly insist on California climate ad lib." [W.S. Lyon to Jane Loring Gray, 18 April 1884, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

Farlow was also encouraged to come West by many of his contemporaries and the trip was quickly planned. On Tuesday, February 3, 1885, the Grays left Cambridge for the first stop on their journey, St. Louis, Missouri.

"We left home February 3, in bitter cold, for St. Louis, where I had an interview with old Shaw, and heard him read his rearranged will, which is satisfactory, as it will allow his trustees, and the corporation of Washington University there to turn his bequests to good account for botany; will be an endowment quite large enough for the purpose. Thence, rail-two nights, and a day-to Mobile, where it was warm and springlike, but no flowers out, barring an early violet." [Asa Gray to J.D. Hooker, 22 Feb 1885, Letters, II, pg. 761, Library of the Gray Herbarium ]

According to Jane's diary this first leg of the journey was not without incident. The snow detained them in Detroit and they missed their first connection. The weather in St. Louis was poor and both the Gray's were not feeling well. St. Louis was not impressive, as Jane writes, "the mud! like Washington in war time, & the smoke, & so dirty!" [Jane Gray's journal sending from 8 February 1885]. On Friday, February 6th, they were back on the train headed for Alabama. The train was very crowded with passengers heading to the World's Fair in New Orleans (also known as the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition). The Grays reached Alabama on February 8th expecting to meet Farlow the next day. Unfortunately, Farlow experienced many of the same problems and missed his connecting train because of bad weather. He sent a telegram to the Grays to let them know that he was delayed a full half day or more. Asa was on edge because their next stop was New Orleans and all his requests for hotel rooms were met with replies of "impossible!" with the Exposition in town. [Jane Gray's journal sending* from 14 February 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]. He decided to take an earlier train to secure lodgings and left Jane to Farlow so they could proceed to New Orleans together.

The next morning Jane was sick with a cold, but headed to the telegraph office only to discover that there was no word from Farlow. She left a note for him with the clerk, explaining the situation and asking him to meet her at the hotel. Mrs. Gray returned to the hotel where she packed and rested prior to checking out at 4:00 p.m., but still with no word from Farlow.


Jane returned to the telegraph office where she found a telegram waiting from Asa. He sent the good news that he found a hotel and would wait for them at the train station. Alas, there was still no word from Farlow so Jane asked the clerk to hold a card for him that gave the name of the New Orleans hotel. Then she "...went to the coming train, it came in two sections, I looked thro' the passengers getting out on the first, & in the Battle House omnibus, no Dr. F. The Woodbridges [a couple she met at the hotel] were getting into an empty car, so I thought it best to join them rather than go alone-If I had only waited for the second section in which Dr. F. was!-and that clerk gave him my note & never the card, & he did not know how to find us!" [Jane's journal sending from 14 February 1885] It took another two days for the party to be reunited. Farlow was in Mobile with no idea where the Gray’s were and Gray in New Orleans "bothered and worried" but not able to reach Farlow. Finally Farlow took a train to New Orleans and contacted their mutual botanist friend, John Gill Lemmon (1832-1908), to explain that he was staying at the Hotel Royale and he was ill and going to head home. He wondered if Lemmon be kind enough to tell him where Grays were? Lemmon sent word to Gray and, as Jane writes in her diary, Asa rushed out to meet him. "It seemed despairing on both sides of finding each other-But after that was a happy ending & I think now we shall be shy of separation." [Jane Gray's journal sending from 14 February 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium].

Dr. Farlow had a surprise when he finally reunited with the Grays: He was given free passes for the Mexican Central Railroad from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City and back to El Paso, the junction with the road to California. They only had to pay for their berths and seats in the Pullman car and Gray, "could not resist the temptation." [Asa Gray to Richard Church, 30 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

During the three months of the trip the Grays and Farlow rode many trains. The party traveled on both the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad and the Mexican Central Railroad, which were both newer lines. In fact, the Mexican Central Railroad had been running for less than a year, which might be why they were offered free passes.

Train travel during the 1800s was very different than it is today. Passengers could pay for different levels of service and were assigned to specific corresponding cars. The third class, or cheapest fares, allowed a passenger access to an open car with a hard wooden seat. There was no dining facility so travelers packed their own food and the men and women shared a single washroom. Second class travelers enjoyed an enclosed car with padded seats and separate "facilities." They could also choose to bring their own food or dine in buffet car. First class passengers luxuriated in an enclosed car with leather upholstered seats and a first class dining car and a buffet car. The washrooms were segregated and located a different ends of the car to ensure privacy. Some early first class cars had wooden bunks, but it was not until the introduction of the Pullman Sleeping car in the late 1850's that long distance train travel became comfortable for those who could afford to pay.

The Pullman cars had padded velvet seats that unfolded into plush beds. Other styles pulled down from the ceiling and had privacy curtains. The cars were often made from fine woods like mahogany, black walnut, or oak, and had etched glass doors, and beautiful chandeliers to light the space. The men had a salon equipped with a wash room and lavatory with hot running water while the ladies enjoyed similar luxuries and a dressing room at the opposite end of the car.


By the early 1880s when the Grays and Farlow were on their West Coast adventure, Pullman cars were on nearly two-thirds of the nation's tracks. According to Jane's diary and journal sendings the majority of their travel was spent in these Pullman cars. After they left Mississippi for San Antonio, on the way to Mexico, they had to change to a Silver Palace Sleeper and it was not the same. She wrote "Silver Palace don't believe in Lady's room or brushing teeth!" [Jane Gray diary, 14 February 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

Gray's health continued to deteriorate. When they arrived in San Antonio he took to his bed while Farlow and Jane strolled about town. On February 17th he was well enough for them to continue their journey. As their train traveled along the Rio Grande toward Mexico, Jane wrote:

"The old army road lay along our track a good deal of the day, the same Ch. Wright so many years ago accomplished the laying out ...The men seem to wear nothing but a loose jacket or shirt & pantaloons of white cotton, though when very hard at work they will have a leather apron before & behind, like split up trousers - And their feet have on sandals, held by innumerable leather thongs...As for the men's hats! Immense things of felt or straw, tall crowns, wide brims - Felt generally light, & many have a deep scalloped black band, or various cords & silver ornaments & binding- The straw have often a pattern of silver worked on the crown and again on the brim - The variety is immense...We were startled in the night by a crash, & found a stone had been thrown through one of the windows, it made such a round hole through the double windows it seemed like a shot - Fortunately no one was in that section - We woke to Yuccas as big as trees - Big trunks some 8 or 10 ft high, branching off & looking like rather abortive attempts at trees. " [Jane Gray's journal sending undated, Archives of the Gray Herbarium].

The party reached Mexico City at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 21, 1885. Both Asa and Jane were very sick, their colds had gotten much worse and the altitude was making it even more difficult to breathe.

"We are comfortably placed in the Hotel Iturbide. Farlow and I have looked about somewhat, though I am still suffering from catarrh and cough; Mrs. Gray laid up with hers. This afternoon an[sic] Mexican gentleman to whom we took letters called and drove Farlow and me out to Chapultepec, whence a most magnificent view of the whole Valley of Mexico and the surrounding mountains, including Popocatapetl and its more broadly snowy companion, -with its more difficult name, meaning White Lady, -at this season always with cloudless tops. The cypress of Chapultepec are glorious trees, plenty of them, full of character, and of a sort which should help to distinguish the Mexican species from the North American. I wish you could see them. And such old trees of Schinus molle, the handsomest of trees either old or young, the old trunks wonderfully bossed. Is it a native of Mexico? I thought only of Chili? But it is well at home here. Such yucca trees as we have seen on the way here, with trunks at base two or three feet in diameter, weirdly branched, looking like doum palms. Opuntias of two or three arborescent species, some huge, and other cacti not a few." [Asa Gray to J.D. Hooker, 22 Feb 1885, Letters, II, pg. 761, Library of the Gray Herbarium ]


The Grays' colds did not improve and a physician was called in. He prescribed some medication but also told them that the best thing they could do would be to leave Mexico City for Orizaba. As Asa wrote, "Farlow and I have been mousing about the city of Mexico, I coughing most of the time, in a clear, dry air and nearly cloudless sky, weather which should be most delightful, but somehow it is bad for the throat (for the natives as well as for us), and the rarefied air puts one out of breath at a little exertion." [Asa Gray to J.D. Hooker, 27 Feb 1885, Letters, II, pg. 763, Library of the Gray Herbarium]

Because of their difficulty breathing (the altitude was about 8000 feet), the party took the doctor's advice and traveled down to Orizaba, approximately 4000 feet lower. The hotel they found was a bit strange. "It was a queer, rambling house, rooms opening any where, no galleries or passages except from the entrance stairs, & all above the ground floor-We had to take a room inside Dr. Farlow's, but large and comfortable tho!" [Jane Gray's journal sending, 26 February 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

They thoroughly enjoyed Orizaba. The climate was much better for their breathing and the local food was much to their liking. Jane wrote that the oranges were plentiful and among the best she had ever eaten. Gray was even more impressed and, in a letter to Richard Church, reported that all the fruit there was the best that he had ever tasted. [Asa Gray to Richard Church, 30 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium] The collecting was plentiful and the vegetation beautiful as well. "I saw real papaya trees which look like great Euphorbias 20 or 30 ft high, & big rough eggplants growing below the tufts of leaves on top-He gave us a black sapote [Diospyros digyna called Chocolate Pudding Fruit or Black Persimmon] which I tho't very tasteless-And as Dr. F. said, "why would anyone grow zinnias & larkspur & such things when such lovely things were to be found on all sides?" [Jane Gray's journal sending, 28 February 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]


After three and a half days in Orizaba the party made a further descent of 2000 ft by a "wonderful piece of railway" to Cordoba. The accommodations were very primitive; especially for Farlow "he had nothing but the door for air or flight & was next to the stables!" [Jane Gray's diary, 1 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]. The men went out botanizing but, while searching the river bank, they accidentally stumbled across a hornet nest. While trying to rush away from the stinging insects, Gray's spectacles dropped into the water and, while Farlow fished them out, they were both badly stung. Jane was forced to stay in the hotel because there were no carriages available to let in Cordoba. But her time was not without adventure. "As I sat writing in our room I heard steps in the courtyard, & peeping thru' our upper door, I saw 4 men bringing a stretcher & 2 soldiers accompanying-They went to the room opposite ours, across the court, lifted it in, & I saw them take something apparently from the bed, lay it down on the stretcher, adjust the pointed cover, then they carefully lifted it out & over the railing, the 4 men took each an area, the soldiers accompanied, & marched off-Was it not mysterious? An hour or two after the man came & cleaned out the room-But no one from the hotel seemed about at the time." [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 2 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

Their time in Cordoba was not all bad. "Mrs. Dock & her son returned about 2pm from a walk with Dr Russell, & brought Dr. G. such an Aristolochia blossom, half a foot in diameter certainly & a foot long! How beautiful the velvety inside was! Dr. G. tried to preserve it, but had to give it up. -It spoiled everything..." [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 2 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium] [According to Favio González at the Colombian National Herbarium, this was probably a flower of Aristolochia grandiflora.]


After two days, the party headed back up to Mexico City. They stayed in Mexico City a couple of nights and, on the morning of March 5th, left Mexico on a train headed to El Paso, Texas. The train ride back into the states was picturesque but very crowded. While heading into Mexico they were the only passengers going all the way from Texas to Mexico City; going the other way the train was packed. Every section was full and for every person that got off, another was waiting to fill his or her place.

The party reached Santa Monica, California on March 15th. It was quite lovely there but Jane was beginning to miss Cambridge. "It certainly is very charming & fascinating to see things growing so beautifully out of doors, roses & geraniums & calla lilies & heliotrope & begonias & passion flowers that are green house plants with us, but I do not think Los Angeles very attractive. It is a large burg town, with rows of showy stores & there are many pleasant private houses-But it looks new, and one misses anything like an old tree-Eucalyptus, pepper trees, & the occasional sycamore are the general shade trees..." [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 15 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium] They stayed in Santa Monica for two days and then split up. Farlow took the quicker method, a boat to san Diego, and the Grays continued on by train because Jane was not comfortable sailing. Unfortunately, the train was crowded, with many screaming babies, and Asa had begun to feel poorly again. They arrived in San Diego the afternoon of March 18th, and by this time Gray was miserable and had to spend the first few days mostly in their room, resting. His breathing was very labored and he was often feverish. While Jane worried about him she was also a little amused to see that the newspaper The San Diego Union included a large notice, heralding their arrival but indicating that while Farlow was out collecting Gray was in poor health and "will devote the time entirely to recuperating his somewhat enfeebled health". [San Diego Union, 20 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]


While Gray rested Farlow went out collecting. It was a chilly and windy day and he returned to the hotel with a sick headache. Saturday, March 21st was spent indoors, recuperating and receiving visitors. Jane tried in vain to keep Asa resting but he could not stop talking about botany with Farlow and other local botanists Charles Russell Orcutt (1864-1929) and Daniel Cleveland, who were working with them on area plants and hurt his throat.

The party left San Bernadino on March 26th and arrived in Santa Barbara on Sunday March 29th to some unexpected fanfare. The Mayor of Santa Barbara, George W. Coffin, was awaiting their arrival and took them by carriage to their hotel. "Then we were usher [sic] to our rooms, which adjoined each other, pleasant, good sized rooms, the beds in adjoining rooms like alcoves, and found there bowers of flowers! There were ten bunches of the most lovely roses & other flowers, & a large bouquet of wild flowers-The richest of Bougainvillea, cape bulbs, etc-On my bureau in one glass were 14 buds of the most exquisite & enormous Marechal Niel [a type of tea noisette rose] & a long wreath of Banksia roses-You may be sure it was quite enchanting! And was it not kind?" [Jane Gray's journal sending, 29 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium] Gray later told Hooker that "Mrs. Gray was fairly taken off her feet." [Asa Gray to J.D. Hooker, 1 May 1885, Letters, II, pg. 767, Library of the Gray Herbarium ]

Soon after their arrival Gray and Farlow were invited to a meeting of the Natural History Society and Farlow was asked to address the membership. He gave a very well received talk on the fungus diseases of plants. Santa Barbara was very pleasing to all of them; the weather was warm but not hot, the scenery was beautiful, there were many friends to visit with, and many plants to collect. Gray described it as "the most delicious part of California". [Asa Gray to Richard Church, 30 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

Farlow was able to reconnect with an old correspondent, Sarah B. Cooper, who was interested in ferns and algae. During the next few days he spent quite a large amount of time collecting with Mr. & Mrs. Cooper as well as with Henry C. Ford. The Gray's went along one day as well. "When the road & valley became too rough, we left the wagon and walked on-The rocks each side rise some 100 feet or more-Dr. Gray was finding plants & flowers, Dr. Farlow lichens & fungi-He found in the garden on the hollyhocks a fungus which has been a great pest in Europe, but never know [sic] before in the United States, and he found some on a mallow in the canyon." [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 29 March 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

The Grays and Farlow took a break from collecting to attend the Santa Barbara Flower Show on both April seventh and eighth. Gray had been asked to give an address and was feeling good enough so, on Wednesday afternoon, he spoke on Nature and Art and the wonders of California. On the tenth they traveled to Santa Paula and then on the twelfth to San Francisco, their penultimate stop in California. The day after they arrived they slept in a little and as they had their late breakfast, "We had a little earth-quake at Newhall (?), that Dr. Farlow might complete his California experiences! I wondered what they were doing down stairs to shake the wall so, & as it came again thought 'an earthquake!' And as I looked up met Dr. F's cry 'an earthquake!' Dr. Gray was more in the middle of the room & reading did not notice it-It was quite severe in some places." [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 13 April 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]


That evening classmates of Farlow, Dr. Brigham & Mr. Taylor, invited them to stay for the Thursday Evening dinner of the Harvard Club. Jane really enjoyed San Francisco. She writes, "The street cars in San F. are quite wonderful, many of them, all up the steep hills, & very steep they are, like climbing a house roof, going by underground cable, so you seem to move by magic. A closed car, & open car in front like an Irish jaunting car.**" [Jane Gray’s journal sending, 15 April 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

The party traveled to Berkeley and there split up. Farlow traveled to Cypress Point for collecting. He rejoined them, but had found so much he said then and there that he must return. On Friday April twenty-fourth they said their final goodbyes. Farlow headed to Santa Cruz, where he would stay for almost another month, and the Grays to Sacramento. On April thirtieth Asa wrote to William Canby that he and Jane were heading home via the "Atlantic and Pacific (Mohave to Albuquerque) making at least one stop-thence to St. Louis perhaps direct, perhaps by a round through the Texas, Pacific, and Iron Mt. Road." [Asa Gray to William Canby, 30 April 1885, Archives of the Gray Herbarium]

The Grays took almost two more weeks to return to Cambridge. Their trip lasted ninety-four days and they visited seven states. They worked with many West Coast botanists and met many new people, and collected a good number of plants. In Asa's own words, "Well, this trip, which will nearly round out to three and a half months, has been long and enjoyable indeed." [Asa Gray to J.D. Hooker, 8 May 1885, Letters, II, pg. 772, Library of the Gray Herbarium ]


* Jane kept a small diary with brief descriptions of their activities each day. However most of the information about this trip comes from Jane's journal sendings. She would send letters to her sister Susan Loring Jackson or niece Alice Gray that described in detail where they were each day and what they did. These letters were returned to her once the GRays were back in Cambridge and she organized them to form a more detailed diary of their trip.

**The Irish form of the sprung cart, called a jaunting car or jaunty car, was a light, horse-drawn, two-wheeled open vehicle with seats placed lengthwise, either face to face or back to back.


75th Birthday Celebration


Oft-times it haps the singer's voice is dumb
When most is needed eloquence of song;

And oft the heart, though stirred by passions strong,
Can make no sign, nor will fit language come
The depth of its affection to make known:

So it is with myself. I fain would pay
Some tribute worthy one whose wealth is shown

In kindness to others -- Asa Gray!
But my full heart refuses to express

Its affluence of love. I can but praise
A feeble voice and wish him happiness

On this birthday, when friends have come to praise
His virtues and his works. To such as he
There cometh certain immortality!

George E. Davenport
Lines on Dr. Gray's Seventy-fifth Birthday
November 18th 1885.

With Dr. Gray's 75th birthday fast approaching a gift committee was quickly formed. This committee consisted of three botanists; Joseph Charles Arthur (1850-1942) an American botanist known for his investigations into rusts and the first head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology Purdue University; Charles Reid Barnes (1858-1910) a nationally recognized authority on the taxonomy of mosses and the first professor of plant biology at the University of Chicago; John Merle Coulter (1851-1928) head of the department of botany at the University of Chicago and founder and editor of the Botanical Gazette.

They printed and distributed circulars to all the botanists that came to mind. By October 31, 1885 they had received many repliies and donations and were estimating a fund of about $300 (approximately $7,070 in adjusted dollars). They contacted a local company, Bigelow, Kennard & Company to design a silver vase.

John Bigelow, was born 26 May 1802 at Westminster, Massachusetts. He moved to Boston as a young man, around 1824, and was soon joined by his brothers Alanson and Abraham. He was engaged as a dealer in watches and jewelry, and with his brothers formed Bigelow Brothers Co.. This was later called Bigelow, Kennard, & Co. The company maintained an excellent reputation as importers and dealers in watches and jewelry until it closed in 1922.

A vase of solid silver with floral designs was submitted to the committee on Novermber 3, 1885. After consulting as many Cambridge botanists as possible a few modicications were made and a final design was approved. The vase was very quickly made and, only two weeks later the vase and its pedestal were completed.


The vase, on its pedestal, was presented to Asa on the morning of the 18th. The cards and notes of congratulations from Gray's colleagues were presented on a silver tray. Gray was thrilled. That same day he crafted a letter to the committe but also to "the numerous Botanical Brotherhood represented by them". He wrote:

As I am quite unable to convey to you in words, any adequate idea of the gratification I received on the morning of the 18th inst. from the wealth of congratulations and expressions of esteem and affection which welcomed my seventy-fifth birthday, I can do no more than to render to each and all, by this circular letter, my heartiest thanks. Among fellow-botanists - more pleasantly connected than in any other pursuit by mutual giving and receiving, - some recognition of a rather uncommon anniversary might naturally be expected. But this full flow of benediction from the whole length and breadth of the land whose flora is a common study and a common delight, was as unexpected as it is touching and memorable. Equally so is the exquisite vase which accompanied the messages of congratulations, and is to commemorate them, and upon which a few of the flowers associated with my name or with my special studies are so deftly wrought by art, that of them one may almost say, 'The art itself is Nature.' "


Selected Tributes to Asa Gray

James Russell Lowell

TO A. G.
On his Seventy-fifth Birthday.
Just Fate, prolong his life well-spent
Whose indefatigable hours
Have been as gaily innocent
And fragrant as his flowers!

Charlotte Fiske Bates

November 18th, 1810-1885.

Over the earth is reachless, living light
In flaming marvels that defy the sight;
Under the earth are brilliant things, but dead;
Who toil among them are disquieted.

The world of green
That moves between-
With sweets and colors, flowering turf and height-
Comes close with health aud beauty as with bread,
Touches us fondly, foot and hand and head,
Till we are glad and healed as well as fed.

The child, the feeble, and the lusty man,
Each finds a mother in the green earth's plan.

Thou who art wise with searching all her looks,
And givest ages wisdom through thy books;
The secrets of her breath are in thy hold-
In years and science only art thou old.

The flowers' faces
Have sent such graces
Into thine own, as bless their native nooks.

Ferns, grasses, ancient trees of mighty mould
Whose mazy roots run deep, whose aim is bold,
Their varied forces in thy life have told;
For, while intent on flower or tree or sod,
Thy soul's full eye hath been upturned to God.

Congratulatory Address, adopted by the Senate of the University of Michigan, November 9, 1885.

To Professor Asa Gray,

The Senate of the University of Michigan, mindful of the approach of the seventy-fifth anniversary of your birth, take great pleasure in sending you their greetings on the occasion. We congratulate you that life and health and usefulness have been prolonged till three-quarters of a century have passed over your head. We entertain the hope that many years of activity yet remain.

With our congratulations we beg to give expression to a lively sentiment of gratitude for services rendered to your chosen science during a long and devoted life. You found the science of botany barred by a hedge of technicalities against the approach of the common student. You have made it the delight and inspiration of the youth of the land. You have subjected the science of botany in its higher departments to lucid and masterly exposition. Many of the comprehensive and critical reviews of the American flora have proceeded from your pen. The botanical pages of the American Journal of Science reveal labors sufficient in volume and value to fill and honor a lifetime. And those labors are yours. We hail you as the Nestor of American botany. Few of us there are who do not feel gratefully proud to testify our personal obligations to you for aid and inspiration in our earlier studies; and none of us fail to appreciate the services and honor which you have rendered to education and cultivated scholarship. We recall the catholic spirit and breadth of view with which you have treated questions of the interpretation and philosophy of science. We thank you for your acute but just and conservative criticisms and estimates of the doctrine of evolution through natural selection, at a time when the doctrine was new and rising into overshadowing importance which filled many honest minds with apprehension. We thank you again for stepping to the defense of fundamental religious truth through the power of the very philosophy which so many thought sent into the world to destroy religion. But for all that you have done we do not release you from service. We expect you to serve yet many years the cause of education and sacred truth; and we expect to concede you the highest honors of all for the labors which, we trust, are to adorn the last quarter of your century.

With us the pleasure of these congratulations is quite peculiar, since we can hail you as an ex-professor in our University. Your memory readily reverts to the crude infancy of this institution, when your name was chosen to stand first in its list of professors. You recall your actual participation in the labors of our early organizers; and we trust that while your recognized gifts of mind and heart found early employment in a broader field than was offered in Michigan, you have never ceased to entertain an interest in the University which you aided to inaugurate, and have some personal satisfaction in seeing the slender shoot of 1838 grown to the dimensions of the sturdy oak of 1885.

Accept, Respected Sir,
Our Kind Remembrance
And Our Cordial Greeting.

November 20, 1885.
Prof. W. H. Pellee, Secretary of the Senate of the University of Michigan:


I can not well say how deeply I was touched and gratified by the Congratulatory Address from the Senate of your University, which I found on my table on the morning of my seventy-fifth birthday, accompanied by your official and friendly note. I was particularly impressed with the breadth of its survey of the labors of my life, and with the discriminating reference to some of them which would escape ordinary notice. I beg you to conveyto the Senate my grateful acknowledgement of the very kind notice thus taken of my endeavors. I recognize, moreover, the fitness of its intimation that I should make the most of the few years that may perhaps remain. I am happy to be able to declare that my appetite for work is as yet unabated; also that labor is still attended with joy rather than with the sorrow which the Psalmist contemplates.

I am much pleased that, although a deserter from the ranks before the war began, I am generously recognized as an ex-professor of the University of Michigan. I suppose that the only direct service I ever rendered it was that of getting together, when in Europe in 1838-9, the books which were the small foundation of its library. I well remember the gratified feeling with which, long afterwards, I incidentally heard that the first President of the University, on viewing this slender collection, expressed the opinion that the books had been well selected for the purpose.

I have never ceased to be particularly interested in the University in which I expected to pass my life. I regret that circumstances have hitherto almost wholly prevented me from personally verifying the impressions which I have received of the amplitude of its appliances for the higher education and of the worthy and efficient use that is made of them. I am, indeed, glad that I have lived to see the acorn which was planted in my youth develop into " the long-surviving oak," vigorous and beneficent in its youth, and rich in the promise of future years. May its leaf never wither nor its fruitage fail.

Please convey to the Senate my heartiest thanks for such "kind remembrance and cordial greetings," and believe me to be Very truly yours,
Asa Gray



with annotations by Jane Loring Gray


"A Sketch of the Mineralogy of a portion of Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, (N. Y.)": by Drs. J. B. Crawe, of Watertown, and A. Gray, of Ulica, (N. Y.). Am. J. Sol, XXV, 346-350.
[J.L.G. - It was printed May 8th]

North American Gramineaa and Cyperacese (exsiccatse). Part I, 1834; Part II, 1835.


"A Monograph of the N. American species of Rhynchospora." Ann. N. Y. Lyc., III, 191-220 (reprint, 191-219), t. 1. [Hook. Comp. Bot. Mag., 11, 26-38.]

"A notice of some new, rare, and otherwise interesting plants from the northern and western portions of the State of New York." Ann. N. Y. Lyc., 221-238 (reprint, 220-236).


Elements of Botany. New York, 1836.


"Remarks on the structure and affinities of the order Ceratophyllacese." Ann. N. Y. Lyc., IV, 41-60.
[J.L.G. - pages 41-50]

"Melanthacearum Americae Septentrionalis Revisio." Ann. N. Y. Lyc., IV, 105-140.

"Remarks on the progress of discovery rotative to vegetable fecundation: being a preface to the translation of A. J. C. Corda's Beitrage zur Lehre von der Befruchtung der Pflanzen.Am. J. Sci., XXXI, 308-317.


A Flora of North America: containing abridged descriptions of all the known indigenous and naturalized Plants growing north of Mexico; arranged according to the Natural System. By John Torrey and Asa Gray. Vol. I. New York, 1838-1840.-Vol. II. 1841-1843, pp. 504.

"Remarks chiefly on the Synonymy of several North American plants of the Orchis tribe." Am. J. Sci., XXXVIII, 306-311.


"Notices of European Herbaria, particularly those most interesting to the North American Botanist." Am. J. Sci., XL, 1-18.
[Ann. Nat. Hist., VII, 132-140, 179185; Hooker's Journ. Bot., III, 353-374.]

"Notice of the Botanical Writings of the late C. S. Rafinesque." Am. J. Sci., XL, 221-241.


"Notes of a botanical excursion to the mountains of North Carolina, etc., with some remarks on the botany of the higher Alleghany Mountains." Am. J. Sci., XLII, 1-49.
[Hook. Lond. Journ. Bot., I, 1-14, 217-237; II,113-125: III, 230-242.]

The Botanical Text-Book for Colleges. Schools and Private Students. New York. 1842.
Edition 2d, ib. 1845; 3rd edit., ib. 1850; 4th edit., ib. 1853; 5th edit. under the title, Introduction to Structural and Systematic Botany, being a fifth and revised edition of The Botanical Text-Book, New York, 1857-1858. A second issue bears date 1860. Edition 6th, Part I. Structural Botany, or Organography on the basis of Morphology. New York, 1879.


"Selections from the Scientific Correspondence of Cadwallader Colden with Gronovius, Linnaeus, Collinson and other Naturalists." Am. J. Sci., XLIV, 85-133.


"Characters of some new genera [Monoptilon, Amphipappus, Calliachyris, Anisocoma] and species of plants of the natural order Composite, from the Rocky Mountains and Upper California. "Proc. Bost. So. Nat. Hist, 1, 210-212 (abstract); Journ. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., V, 104-111, with plate.

"The Longevity of Trees." N. A. Review, July, 1844, 189-238.


"The Chemistry of Vegetation." N. A. Review, Jan, 1845, 3-42.

"Plants Lindheimerianae; an enumeration of P. Lindheimer's collection of Texan plants, with remarks, and descriptions of new species, etc. By George Engelmann and Asa Gray."Journ. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., V, 210-264.


"Musci Alleghanienses, sive Spicilegia Muscorum atque Hepaticarum quos in itinere a Marylandia usque ad Georgiam per tractus montium A. D. mdeccxliii decerpserunt Asa Gray et W. S. Sullivant (interjectis nonnullis aliunde collectis)." [Review, with notes.] . Am. J. Sci., II, i, 70-81, 312.

"Notice of a new genus of plants of the order Santalaceae (Darbya)." Am. J. Sci., II, i, 38G-389; Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., 11, 115-116 (abstract); Journ. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., V, 348-351.

"Scientific Results of the Exploring Expedition." N. A. Review, July, 1846, 211-226.

"Analogy between the Flora of Japan and that of the United States." Am. J. Sci., II, ii, 135-136.

"Characters of some new genera and species of Composite from Texas." Proc. Am. Acad., I, 46-50.
[Am. J. Sci., II, iii, 274-276. in part.]

"Chloris Boreali-Americana. Illustrations of new. rare, or otherwise interesting North American Plants, selected chiefly from those recently brought into cultivation at the Botanic Garden of Harvard University. Decade I." Mem. Am. Acad., III, 1-56, tt. 1-10.


"Food of the Mastodon." Am. J. Sci., II, iii, 436.

"Note upon Carex loliacea, Linn, and C. gracilis. Ehrh." Am. J. Sci., II, iv, 19-22.


Genera Florae Americae Boreali-Orientalis Illustrata. The Genera of the Plants of the United States illustrated by figures and analyses from nature, by Isaac Sprague, Superintended and with descriptions, etc, by Asa Gray. Vols. I, ii (1848, 1849).

A Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, from New England to Wisconsin and South to Ohio and Pennsylvania inclusive (the Mosses and Liverworts by Wm. S. Sullivant), arranged according to the Natural System. Boston and Cambridge, 1848.
[Later editions are given under dates of publication.]


"Plante Fendlerianie Novi-Mexicanae: an account of a Collection of Plants made chiefly in the Vicinity of Santa Fe, New Mexico, by Augustus Fendler." Proc. Am. Acad., II, 5-9 [abstract]; Mem. Am. Acad., IV, 1-116.

"On some plants of the order Composite from the Sandwich Islands." Proc. Am. Assoc., II, 397-398.

"On the composition of the plant by phytons, and some applications of phyllotaxis. " Proc. Am. Assoc., II, 438-444.

"Note on the genus Thelesperma, Leasing." Hook. Journ. Bot., I, 252.


"Plante Lindheimerianse, Part II. "Journ. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., VI, 141-233.


"Characters of some Gnaphalioid Composite of the division Angiantheae." Hook. Journ. Bot., III, 97-102, 147-153, 172-178.

"Characters of a new genus (Dissothrix) of Compositie-Eupatoriaceaa, with remarks on some other genera of the same tribe. " Hook. Journ. Bot., III, 223-225.


"Account of Argyroxiphium. a remarkable genus of Composite, belonging to the mountains of the Sandwich Islands." Proc. Am. Acad., II, 159-160.

"Characters of three new genera of plants of the orders Violaceae and Anonacoae, discovered by the naturalists of the United States Exploring Expedition [Agatea, Isodendrion, Richella]. Proc. Am. Acad., II, 323-325.

"Plante Wrightianaa Texano-Neo-Mexicans;: an account of a Collection of Plants made by Charles Wright, A.M.. in an expedition from Texas to El Paso, New Mexico, in the summer and autumn of 1849. Part I. Smithsonian Contributions, III, 1-146, tt. 10.

"Remarks on Menodora, Humb. and Bonpl., and Bolivaria, Cham, and Schlecht." Am. J. Sci., II, xiv, 41-45.

"Note on Tetratheca." Hook. Journ. Bot., IV. 199-200.

"Characters of some Southwest Australian Composite, principally of the subtribe Gnaphaliesfi. " Hook. Journ. Bot., IV, 225-232, 206-276.


"Plante Wrightianae Texano-Neo-Mexieanac. Part II. An account of a collection of plants made by Charles Wright, A.M., in Western Texas. New Mexico and Sonora, in the years 1851 and 1852." Smithsonian Contributions, V, 1-119, tt. 4.

"Brief characters of some new genera and species of Nyctaginaceie, priucipally collected in Texas and New Mexico." Am. J. Sci., XV. 259-263, 319-324.

"On the discovery of two species of Trichomanes in the State of Alabama, one of which is new." Am. J. Sci., II, xv, 324-326.

"Characters of Tetraclea, a new genus of Verbenacea;." Am. J. Sci., II, xvi, 97-98.

"Note on the parasitism of Comandra umbellata ," Nutt. Am. J. Sci., II, xvi, 250-251.
[Ann. Nat. Hist., XII, 365-366.]

"Characters of some new genera of Plants, mostly from Polynesia, in the collection of the United Slates Exploring Expedition under Captain Wilkes. Proc. Am. Acad., III, 48-54, 127-129.


"On the age of the large tree recently felled in California." Am. J. Sci., II, xxii, 440-443.
[J.L.G. - Proc. Amer. Acad., - 111 - 94-97]

"Note on the genus Buckleya." Am. J. Sci., II, xviii, 98-100.

"Plantae Novae Thurberianae: The characters of some New Genera and Species of Plants in a Collection made by George Thurber, Esq., of the late Mexican Boundary Commission, chiefly in New Mexico and Sonora. " Mem. Am. Acad., n.s., V, 297-328.

"On the Affinities of the Genus Vavaja, Benth.; also of Rhytidandra, Gray." Mem. Am. Acad., n. s., V, 329-336. [Hook. Journ. Bot., VII, 189-190.]

United States Exploring Expedition, during the years 1838, 1839, 1840. 1841, 1842, under the command of Charles Wilkes, U. S. N. Vol. XV. Botany. Phanerogamia. With a folio Atlas of one hundred plates. Part I. Philadelphia. 1854.

"Mammoth Trees of California." Am. J. Sci., II, xviii, 286-287.

"On the age of a large Californian coniferous tree." Proc. Am. Acad., III, 94-97.
[J.L.G. - this was listed under 1857 but should be in 1854]


"The Smithsonian Institution." Am. J. Sci., II, xx, 1-21.

"Botanical Report, by John Torrey and Asa Gray, upon the Collections made by Captain Gunnison, Topographical Engineers, in 1853, and by Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, Third Artillery, in 1854." Pacific R. R. Surveys, II 115-132,with tea plates.

"Report on the Botany of the Expedition [under Captain John Pope], by John Torrey and Asa Gray. Pacific R. R. Surveys, n, 157-178, with ten plates.

"Note on the Development and Structure of the Integuments of the Seed of Magnolia. " Hook. Journ. Bot., VII, 243-245; VIII, 26.


A Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States: Second Edition; including Virginia, Kentuckv, and all east of the Mississippi; arranged according to the Natural System. (The Mosses and Liverworts by Wm. S. Sullivant.) With fourteen plates, illustrating the genera of the Cryptogamia. New York, 1856.

"Note on Obolaria virginica, L. " Journ. Linn. Soc, I. 129-130.

"For what purpose were plants created? (Addressed to Prof. Dana)." Am. J. Sci., II, xxi, 428, 429.

"Statistics of the Flora of the Northern United States." Am. J. Sci., II. xxn, 204-232; XXIII, 62-84, 369-403.

"Wild Potatoes in New Mexico and Western Texas." Am. J. Sci., II, xxii, 284, 285.


Centrostegia. Pacific R. R. Surveys, VII (Botany), 19.

List of Dried Plants collected in Japan, by S. Wells Williams, Esq., and Dr. James Morrow. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, performed in the years 1852, 1853 and 1854, under the command of Commodore M. C. Perry, II, 303-329.

Report of the Botany of ihe Expedition [under Lieutenant A. W. Whipple].
(By John Torrey. The Composite, Plantaginacere, Orobanchaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Bignoniaceae, by Asa Gray).
Pacific R. R. Surveys, IV, 95-115, 117-122, with eight plates.

General Catalogue of the Plants collected on the Expedition [under Lieut. R. S. Williamson and Lieut. H. L. Abbot]. (By J. S. Newberry. Ivesia, Composites, Hemitomes and Monotropeae, Serophulariaceae, Hydrophyllaceae, and Gentiauaceae, by Asa Gray). Pacific R. R. Surveys, VI, 72-73, 76-87, with six plates.

First Lessons in Botany and Vegetable Physiology. New York, 1857.
[There are later issues.] Revised Aug., 1868.


"A short exposition of the structure of the ovule and seed-coats of Magnolia." Journ. Linn. Soc., II, 106-110.

How Plants Grow: a simple introduction to Structural Botany. With a Popular Flora. New York, 1858.

"Note on the coiling of tendrils of plants." Proc. Am. Acad., IV, 98-99. [Ann. Nat. Hist, III, 613-514; Am. J. Sci., II, XXVII, 277-278.]

"Notes upon some Rubiacese, collected in the South Sea Exploring Expedition under Capt. Wilkes." Proc. Am. Acad., IV, 33-50, 306-318.

"Action of foreign Pollen upon the Fruit."Am. J. Sci., II, xxv, 122, 123.


"Neviusia, a new genus of Rosaceas." Mem. Am. Acad., vi, 373-376, with plate.
[J.L.G. - January 11, 1859 Pro. Am. Acad.]

"Diagnostic characters of new species of phanogamous plants, collected in Japan by Charles Wright, botanist of the TJ. S. North Pacific Exploring Expedition. With observations upon the relations of the Japanese Flora to that of North America, and of other parts of the Northern Temperate Zone." Mem. Am. Acad., VI, 377-452. [Bibl. Univ. Archives, IX, 32-43; Canadian Naturalist, IV, 296297; Am. J. Sci., II, xxviii, 187-200.]

"On the genus Croomia, add its place in the Natural System." Mem. Am. Acad., VI, 453-457, with plate.

"Characters of Ancistrophora, a new genus of the order Composite, recently detected by Charles Wright." Mem. Am. Acad., VI, 457-458.

"Notes upon some Polynesian plants of the order Loganiaccae." Pro. Am. Acad. IV, 319-324.

"Diagnoses of the species of Sandal-wood (Santalum) of the Sandwich Islands." Pro. Am. Acad. IV, 326-327.

"A revision of the genus Forestiera." Pro. Am. Acad. IV, 363-366.

Report of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, by William H. Emory. Vol. 11, Part I. Botany of the Boundary. (Note on Synthlipsis, Compositse, Scrophulariacese, note on Datura, conspectus of the genera of Nyctaginacea; and the species of Mirabilis and Oxybaphus, by Dr. Gray), pp. 34, 73-107, 110-121, 154, 172-175, with five plates.

"Lists of Plants collected by Emanuel Samuels, in Sonoma County, California, in 1856." Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., vn, 142-145.

"List of a collection of dried plants made by L. J. Xantus, at Fort Tejon and Vicinity, California, near lat. 35° and long. 119°, 1857-8." Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., vn, 145-149.

Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. Revised [Third] Edition; including Virginia, Kentucky and all east of the Mississippi; arranged according to the Natural System. With six plates, illustrating the Genera of Ferns, etc. 1859.

"British National Museums of Natural History." Am. J. Sci., II, xxvn, 277.

"Trichomanes radicans, Swartz." Am. J. Sci., XXVin, 440, 441.


"Catalogue of Plants collected East of the Rocky Mountains." Pacific R. R. Surveys, XII, part 2, 40-49, with three plates.

Report upon the Colorado River of the West, explored in 1857 and 1858 by Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives. Part IV. Botany (the orders preceding Verbenaceaa, excepting the Cactaceffi, by Prof. Gray), pp. 1-20.

"Potamogeton crispus. L.; Marsilea quadrifolia, L." Am. J. Sci., II. xxx, 139, 140.

"Discussion between two readers of Darwin's Treatise on the Origin of Species." Am. J. Sci., II. xxx, 226-239.
["Design versus Necessity.-Discussion between two readers of Darwin's Treatise on the Origin of Species, upon its natural theology." Darwiniana, pp. 62-86.]


"Note on the species of Nissolia."Journ. Linn. Soc, v. 25-26.

"Characters of some Composite in the collection of the United States South Pacific Exploring Expedition under Capt. Wilkes; with observations, etc." Proc. Am. Acad., V, 114-146.

"Notes on Lobeliaceae, Goodeniaceae, etc., in the collection made by the South Pacific Exploring Expedition." Proc. Am. Acad., V, 146-152.

"Enumeration of a collection of dried plants made by L. J. Xantus. at Cape San Lucas, etc., in Lower California, between Aug, 1859. and Feb., 1860." Proc. Am. Acad., v, 153-173.

"A cursory examination of a collection of dried plants made by L. C. Ervendberg around Wartenberg, near Tantoyuca, in the ancient province of TTuasteca, Mexico, in 1858 and 1859." Proc. Am. Acad., v, 174-190.

"Note on the genus Grapliephorum. Desv., and its synonymy." Proc. Am. Acad., V, 190-191; Ann. Bot, Soc. Canada, I, 55-57.

"Notes upon a portion of Dr. Seemann's recent collection of dried plants gathered in the Feejee Islands." Proc. Am. Acad., v, 314-321.

"Characters of new or obscure species of plants of Monopetalous orders in the collection of the United States Pacific Exploring Expedition; with occasional remarks, etc." Proc. Am. Acad., v. 321-352; vi, 37-55.

"Heath (Calluua vulgaris) in North America." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxii, 290, 291; xxxviii, 122-124; 428, 429; xxxix, 228; xliii, 128, 129. [Calluna atlantica. Seem.; also Seemann's Journ. Bot., V, 84, 85.]

"Aira caryophyllea in the United States." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxil, 291.


"Plantfe Yilienses Seemanuiante. Remarks on the Plants collected in the Titian or Fijian Islands by Dr. Bcrthold Seemann." Bonplandia, X. 34-37.

"Enumeration of the Plants of Dr. Parry's collection in the Rockv Mountains in 1861." Am. J. Sci., II. xxxiii, 237-243. 404-411; xxxiv, 49-261,330-341.

"Notes upon the "Description of New Plants from Texas by S. B. Buckley." Proc. Phila. Acad. Nat Sci., 1862, 161-168.

"A Report upon Mr. S. B. Bucklev's 'Description of Plants, No. 3, Gramineae.' " Proc. Philad. Acad., 1862, 332-337.

"Additional note on the genus Rhytidandra." Proc. Am. Acad., VI, 55-56.

"Synapsis of the genus Pentstemon." Proc. Am. Acad., VI, 56-76.

"Revision of the North American species of the genus Calamagrostis, sect. Deyeuxia." Proc. Am. Acad., vi, 77-80.

"Fertilization of Orchids through the Agency of Insects." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxrv, 420-429.


"Darlingtonia california, Torr." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxv, 136-137.

"Botanical Collections in the Rocky Mountains." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxv, 137.

"Species considered as to Variation, Geographical Distribution and Succession." Ann. Nat. Hist., XII, 81-97. [Darwiniana, pp. 178-204.]

"Enumeration of the species of plants collected by Dr. C. C. Parry and Messrs. Elihu Hall and J. P. Harbour, during the summer and autumn of 1862, on and noar the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Territory, lat. 36°-41°." Proc. Philad. Acad. Nat. Sci., 1863. 55-80.

"Structure und fertilization of certain Orchids." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxvi, 292-294.

Manual of the Botany, etc. Fourth revised Edition. To which is added Garden Botany, an Introduction to a knowledge of the common cultivated Plants. With twenty-two plates, illustrating the Grasses, Ferns, Mosses, etc. New York, 1863.

"Synopsis of the species of Hosackia." Proc. Acad. Philad., 1863, 346-352.


"On Streptanthus, Nutt., and the plants which have been referred to that genus." Proc. Am. Acad., VI, 182-188.

"A revision and arrangement (mainly by the fruit) of the North American species of Astragalus and Oxytropis." Proc. Am. Acad., VI, 188-236.

"On scientific nomenclature." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxvii, 278-281. [Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., XIII. 517-620; Seemann's Journ. Bot., II, 188-190.]

"Radicle-ism." Am. J. Sci., XXXVII, 125-126.

"New Scirpi of the Northern United States: S. Caubyi, S. Clintonii." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxviii, 289-290.

[J.L.G. - Heath Calluna vulganis, Am. J. Sci., II, xxxviii]


"Najas majorRuppia maritima, etc., discovered at Salina, N. Y." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxix, 106-107.

"Harvard University Herbarium." Am. J. Sci., II. xxxix, 224-226.

"Story about a Cedar of Lebanon." Am. J. Sci., II, xxxix. 226-228.

"New or little known Polynesian Thymelese." Seemann's Journ. Bot., III, 302-306.

"The Tennessee Yellow-Wood (Cladrastis lutea)." Am. J. Sci., II, xl, 273.

"Characters of some now plants of California and Nevada, chiefly from the collections of Professor William H. Brewer and of Dr. Charles L. Anderson, with revisions of certain genera or groups." Proc. Am. Acad., VI. 519-556.


"Professor Treadwells Improvements in constructing Cannon": Address of the President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Prof. Asa Gray) upon the presentation of tho Rumford Medal to Professor Treadwell. November 15, 1865. Proc Am. Acad., VII, 44-51; Am. J. Sci., II, xli, 97-10:t.

"Scolopendrium ofneinarum in Western New York." Am. J. Sci., II, xli, 417.

"A new Fijian Hedycaria: H. dorstenioides." Seemann's Journ. Bot., IV, 83-84.

"Note on a regular dimerous flower of Cypripedium candidtim." Am. J. Sci., II, xlii, 195; [Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., XVIII, 341-342: Seemann's Journ. Bot., IV, 376-379.]


"An innovation in nomenclature in the recently issued volume of the Prodromut." Am. J. Sci., II, xliii, 126-128; [Seemann's Journ. Bot., V, 81-84].

Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, including the District east of the Mississippi and north of North Carolina and Tennessee, arranged according to the Natural System. Fifth Edition, with twenty plates, illustrating the Sedges, Grasses, Ferns, etc. New York, 1867. A second Issue in 1868 has four pages of addenda.

"Morphology of stamens and use of abortive organs." Am. J. Sci., II, xliii, 273-274.

"Botanical Notes and Queries. On Sanibucus canadensisRobinia hispida, and Clerodendron thompsons;. Am. Nat., I, 493-494.

"May-apples in Clusters; Invasions of Foreign Plants." Am. Nat., I, 494-495.

[J.L.G. - Alvan Clark - Address of the Presdent upon the presentation of the Rumford Medal - Proc. Am. Acad., VII, 244, 1867.]


"Botanical Notes and Queries. On Tillandsia usneoides; Robinia hispida." Am. Nat., I, 673-674.

"Monstrous Flowers of Habenaria flmbriata; The Elder (Sambucus canadensis) as a native plant; German Ivy, so-called, flowering under peculiar circumstances." Am. Nat., II, 38-39.

"Descriptions of eleven new Californian plants." Proc. Calif. Acad., III, 101-103.

"Characters of new plants of California and elsewhere, principally of those collected by W. H. Brewer and H. N. Bolander." Proc. Am. Acad., VII, 327-401.

"Shortia. Torr. & Gray, and Schizocodon, Sieb. & Zucc, identical." Am. J. Sci., II, xlv. 402-403.

"Remarks on the laws of botanical nomenclature." Am. J. Sci., II, xlvi, 74-77.

"Planera aquatica, the Planer-tree." Am. Nat., n, 441.

"Saxifraga Virginiensis." Am. Nat., II, 484

Field, Forest and Garden Botany. A simple introduction to the common plants of the United States east of the Mississippi, both wild and cultivated. New York. 1868. A second revised issue, 1870. Bound with the "Lessons," this forms the School and Field-book of Botany.

Preface to the American edition of Darwin's Animals and Plants under Domestication, pp. iii-iv (March 1868)


"A revision of the Eriogoneae. By Asa Gray and J. Torrey." Proc. Am. Acad., Vlil, 145-200.

"Dialysis with Staminody in Kalmia latifolia." Am. Nat., lv, 373-374.

"Botanical Contributions-1. Reconstruction of the Order Diapensiaceae.-2. Revision of the North American Polemoniaceae.-3. Miscellaneous Botanical Notes and Characters." Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 243-296.


"On hypocotyledonary gemmation." Am. J. Sci., III, ii, 63; [Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., VIII, 220.]

"Arrangement for Cross-fertilization of the flowers of Scrophularia nodosa." Am. J. Sci. III. ii, 150-151.

"Characters of a new genus (Eophyton) consisting of two species of parasitic Gentianese: E. tenellum, E. Lobbii." Journ. Linn. Soc, XI, 22-23.

"A new species of Erythronium: E. propnllans." Am. Nat., V, 298-300. [Canadian Naturalist, V, 465-466.

"Anthers of Parnassia." Am. J. Sci. III, ii. 306. [Am. Nat., V. 649-650.]

"Baptisia perfoliata: the arrangement of morphology of its leaves." Am. J. Sci., III, ii, 462-463. [Seemann's Journ. Bot., X, 84-85.]

"Drosera (Sundew) as a Fly-catcher." Am. J. Sci., III, ii, 463-464.


"Dismissal of the late Botanist of the Department of Agriculture." Am. Nat., VI, 39-45. [ Am. J. Sci., III, v. 315-318.]

Botany for Young People. Part 11.-How Plants Behave: how they move, climb, employ insects to work for them. etc. New York, 1872.

"Plant Dryers." Am. Nat.. VI, 107-108.

"New parasitic plant of the Mistletoe family: Arceuthobium minutum." Am. Nat., VI, 166-167.

"Botanical Contributions-1. Notes on Labiate.-2. Determinations of a collection of Plants made in Oregon by Elihu Hall during the summer of 1871, with characters of some New Species and various Notes." Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 365-412.

"Rumex Britannica, L. Seemann's Journ. Bot., X, 211-212 (from Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 399).

"Address before the American Association at Dubuque, Iowa. August, 1872. Am. J. Sci., III, iv, 282-298; Am. Nat, VI, 577- 596 ("Sequoia and its history"); Trimen's Journ. Bot., X (1872), 309-313 (extract, "Origin of the Flora of Atlantic North America"); Proc. Am. Assoc., xxi, 1-31 (with corrections and appendix). ["Sequoia and its history; the relations of North American to Northeast Asian and to Tertiary Vegetation". Darwiniana, pp. 205-235.]

"Wild Double-flowered Epigaea repens." Am. Nat., VI, 429.

"Acer nigrum with Stipules." Am. Nat., VI, 767.


"The Horse Disease." Am. Nat., VII, 167.

"Gelsemium has dimorphous flowers." Am. J. Sci., III, v, 480.

"Note on apples which are half like one and half like another species." Am. Nat., VII, 236.

"Fly-catching in Sarracenia." Am. J. Sci., III, vi, 149-150; 467-468; vii. 440-442.

"Botanical Notelets. Equisetum arvense; Cypripedium acaule; Acer nigrum; Anemone nemorosa or trifolia; Dimorphism in Forsythia." Am. Nat., VII, 422-423.

"Dionsea." Am. J. Sci., Ill, vi, 150.

Plantae Texanus: a list of the Plants collected in Eastern Texas in 1872. and distributed to subscribers by Elihu Hall. Salem, 1873.

"Rubus deliciosus, Torr.; Spiranthes romanzoviana." Am. J. Sci., III, vi, 389-390.

"Characters of new genera and species of plants." Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 620-631.

"Notes on Composite and characters of certain genera and species, etc." Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 631-661.

"Cleistogenous Flowers in Oxybaphus nyctagineus." Am. Nat., VII, 692.

"Note on movements of leaves of Drosera and Dionsea." Am. Nat., VII, 738-739.

[J.L.G. - "Index to Notes on Compositae." Proc. Am. Acad., VIII, 661-680.]

Phanerogamia of Pacific North America (of the United States Exploring Expexdition) by John Torrey, edited by Asa Gray. Washington, 1873.


"Yucca gloriosa: Arundo donax in Virginia; Trichomanes radicans in Kentucky." Am. J. Sci., III, vii, 65.

"How Trees grow tall." N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, Feb. 20, Mar. 6, Mar. 13.

"Insectivorous Plants." Nation, No. 457, pp. 216-217; No. 458, pp. 232-234. [Darwiniana, pp. 289-307]

"Notes on Compositas and characters of certain genera and species." Proc. Am. Acad., IX. 187-218.

"Were the Fruits made for Man, or did Man make the Fruits?" Am. Nat.., VIII, 116-120. (Reprinted from the "Horticulturist.")

"Sphseralcea aeerifolia in Illinois." Am. J. Sci., III, vii, 239.

"Pachystima canbyi Gray; Woodsia ilvensis, why so named? Villars and Villarsia." Am. J. Sci., III, vii, 442-443.

"Insectivorous Plants-additional investigations. N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, June 5.

"Note on the origin of " May Apples." N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, June 12.

"A Vegetable Steel-trap." N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, Nov. 6.

"The Office of Leaves." N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, Nov. 27.

"Do Varieties wear out or tend to wear out? " N. Y. Semi-weekly Tribune, Dec. 8. [ Am. J. Sci., III. ix, 109-114; Darwiniana, pp. 334-355. Noticed in Am. Nat., IX, 53.]

"Contributions to the Botany of North America." Proc. Am. Acad., X, 39-78.
1. A Synopsis of the North American Thistles.
2. Notes on Borragiuaceae
3. Synopsis of North American Species of Physalis.
4. Characters of various New Species."

Johnson's New Universal Cyclopedia.-Botany, 1., 566-571.-Leaf, 11, 1694.-Morphology, III, 627.

[J.L.G. - "Sarracenia as Fly Catchers"]


"Revision of the Genus Symphoriearpus." Journ. Linn. Soc, XIV, 9-12.

"Note on Nemacladus, Nutt." Journ. Linn. Soc, XIV, 28-29.

"A conspectus of the Worth American Hydrophyllacea,'." Proc. Am. Acad., X, 312-332.

"Aestivation in Asimina." Am. J. Sci., III, x, 63.

"Note on peas from mummies and clover from greensand marl." Nation, No. 523, p. 27.

"The Potato Rot; Slitting down the Bark of Fruit Trees in Early Summer." Am. Agriculturist, July, pp. 262-263.

"A Pilgrimage to Torreya." Am. Agriculturist, July, pp. 266-267.

"The Box-Huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera Gray)." Am. J. Sci., III, x, 155.

"Spontaneous Generation of Plants." Am. Agriculturist, Oct.

"Aestivation and its Terminology." Am. J. Sci., III, x, 339-344. [Trimeu's Journ. Bot., XIV, 53-58.]

"Menyanthes trifoliata; Botrychium simplex, with pinnated divisions to the sterile frond." Am. Nat., IX, 468.

"The Botanic Garden." The Harvard Book, 1, 313-315.

[J.L.G. - Address Con. Valley Bot. Soc. - Oct. - printed in newspaper]


"Miscellaneous Botanical Contributions." Proc. Am. Acad., XI, 71-104.

"Burs in the Borage Family." Am. Nat., X, 1-4.

"Plantain." Am. Agriculturalist, Jan., p. 19.

"How Flowers are Fertilized." Am. Agriculturalist.
Art. I. "Campanulas or Bell Flowers", Jan., p. 22;
Art. II. "Compound Flowers", Feb., p. 62;
Art. III "Clerodendron and Fire-weed", Apr., pp. 142-143;
Art. IV. "Houstouia and Partridge-berry", May, p. 182;
Art. V. "Dicentra or Bleeding-hearts". June, p. 222;
Art. VI. "Laurel", July, p. 2G2;
Art. VII. "False Indigo and Ked Clover", Aug., p. 303;
Art. VIII. "Beans and other Flowers of the Pulse Family", Oct., pp. 382-383;
Art. IX. "Ground-nut or Apios", Jan., 1877, pp. 22-23;
Art. X. "The Busy Bee", Feb., pp. 62-63; Art. XI. "The Good of Cross-fertilization", Mar., p. 102;
Art. XII. "How Cross-fertilization benefits", May, p. 182;
Art. XIII. "Lady-slippers", June, pp. 222-223.

"Cheilanthes alabamensis; Dichogamy in Epilobium angustifolium; Dimorphism in Claytonia." Am. Nat., X, 43-44.

"Comparative Zoology, Structural and Systematic." Nation, No. 578, p. 63-64.

"Seeds that float in water; Use of the hydrometric twisting of the tail to the carpels of Erodium." Am. J. Sci., III, xi, 157-158.

"Our Wild Gooseberries." Am. Nat., x, 270-275.

"Tolmiaja monziesii." Am. Nat., X. 300.

Botany of California. [Saxifragaceae and Gamopetalse by Asa Gray].-Vol. 1, 192-208, 277-622.

Darwiniana: Essays and reviews pertaining to Darwinism. New York, 1876.

"Schoenolirion, Torr." Am. Nat., X, 426-427, 552-553.

"Anthers in Trillium." Am. Nat., X, 427-428.

"Notes on Acnida [Trimeii's Journ. Bot., xiv, 310-312]; Large Elm; Calluna vulgaris, the Ling or Heather, rediscovered in Massachusetts." Am. Nat., X, 487-490.

"Sedum reflexum, L." Am. Nat., X, 553.

"Nymphaaa flava, Leitner." Am. J. Sci., III, xi, 416.

"Heteromorphism in Epigsea." Am. J. Sci., III, xii, 74-76; [ Am. Nat., X, 490-492.]

"Contributions to the Botany of North America.-1. Characters of Canbya (n. gen.) and Arctomeeon.-2. Characters of New Species, etc." Proc. Am. Acad., XII, 51-84, with two plates.

"Subradical solitary Flowers in Scirpus, Relation of Coloration to Environment." Am. J. Sci., III, xii, 467.

[J.L.G. - "Plastic Instinct of hens." Am. Agriculturalist, Jan 1876]


"Date of Publication of Elliott's Botany of South Carolina and Georgia." Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 81, 392.

"Homogone and Heterogone (or HomogoDOus and Heterogonous) Flowers." Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 82-83. [Am. Nat., XI, 42.]

"Notice of Darwin on the Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom." Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 125-141.

"Dextrorse and Sinistrorse." Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 236-237.

"Fertilization of Gentiana andrewsii." Am. Nat., XI, 113.

"On some remarkable specimens of Kalrnia lutifolm, L." Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist, XIX, 75-76; [ Am. Nat., XI, 175.]

"Characters of some little-known or new genera of plants." Proc. Am. Acad., XII. 159-165.

"Notes on the History of Helianthus tuberosus, the so-called Jerusalem Artichoke." By J H. Trumbull and Asa Gray. Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 347-352; xiv, 428-429.

"The Jerusalem Artichoke once more'. Am. Agriculturist, p. 142. [Gardeners' Chronicle, n. ser., vii, 472.]

"The Germination of the genus Megarrhiza. Torr." Am. J. Sci., III, xiv, 21-24; [Bot. Gazette, II, 130-132.]

"Orchis rotundifolia, Purah." Am. J. Sci., III, xiv, 72. [ Am. Nat., xi, 431.]

"Athamantha chinensis, L." Am. J. Sci., III, xiv, 160.

"Saxifraga Virginiensis." Am. Nat., XI, 366.

"Three-flowered Sanguinaria." Am. Nat., XI, 431.

"Fertilization of Browallia elata." Proc. Phil. Acad., XXIX, 11-12.

[J.L.G. - "On the Right-Handed and Left-Handed Relations in Space." Am. J. Sci., III, xiii, 391.


"Plants May Thrive on a Meat Diet." Am. Agriculturist, Apr, p. 131.

"The two wayside Plantains." Bot. Gaz., III, 41-42.

"Contributions to the Botany of North America." Proc. Am. Acad., XIII, 361-374.
1. Elatines Americana?.
2. Two New Genera of Acanthaceoe.
3. New Astragali.
4. Miscellaneae.

Synoptical Flora of North America. Vol. 11.-Part I. Gamopetalas after Compositae. New York, May, 1878.
Second Edition [with Supplement, etc., in connection with vol. 1, Part II]. New York, January, 1886.
Reissued, with corrections, April, 1888, as Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. xxxv.

"Early Introduction and Spread of the Barberry in Eastern New England." Am. J. Sci., III, xv, 482-483.

"Forest Geography and Archaeology": a lecture delivered before the Harvard University Natural History Society, April 18, 1878. Am. J. Sci., III, xvi, 85-94, 183-196. ["Geographie et Archeologie forestieres de l'Amerique du Nord", (a French translation by Ch. Naudin.) Ann. Sci. Nat, VI, vii, 126-163.]

Classification of the Botanical Collection made during the San Juan Reconnaissance of 1877, in Colorado and New Mexico. Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1878. Appendix SS, pp. 1833-1840.

"Some Western Plants." Bot. Gaz., III, 81.

"Dr. Newcomb and the Uniformity of Nature." By a Country Reader. Independent, No. 1558, p. 1.
Letters on the same subject in No. 1555, p. 16, and No. 1564, p. 15.

"The Animal Poison of the Far West-" Loco" or "Crazy-weed." Am. Agriculturist, Oct., pp. 380-381.

"Does Nature forbid Providence?" By a Country Reader. Independent, No. 1562, pp. 1-3.

"What is a Sweet Potato? "Am. Agriculturist, Nov., p. 423.

"On a form of Scirpus supinus, L." Trimen's Journ. Bot., XVI, 346.

"Shortia galacifolia rediscovered." Am. J. Sci., III, xvi, 483-485. [ Bot. Gaz., IV, 106-108.]

"Note sur le Shortia galicifolia et Revision des Diapensiacees." Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot., VI, VII, 173-179, with plate.

"Diclytra. Dielytra, Dicentra; Sporting Trillium grandiflorum." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, VI, 277-278.

"Prof. Virchow vs. Advances German Evolutionists."Independant, March 24, 1978.


"Gerardia tenuifolia, Vahl, var. asperula." Bot. Gaz., IV, 153.

"Bentham on Nomenclature." Bot. Gaz., IV, 158-161.

"Notes upon "Notes of a Botanical Excursion into North Carolina" (by J. H. Redfleld)." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, VI, 331-338.

"Epipactis helleborine, var. viridens (E. viridiflora, Reichenbach). a North American plant." Bot. Gaz., IV, 206.

"Roots and "Yarbs."-In the Mountains of North Carolina." Am. Agriculturist, Sept., p. 337-338.

"Botanical Contributions." Proc. Am. Acad., XV, 25-52.
"Characters of some new Species of Compositae in the Mexican Collection made by C. C. Parry and Edward Palmer, chiefly in the Province of San Louis Potosi, in 1878."
2. "Some New North American Genera", Species, etc."

"Pertinacity and Predominance of Weeds." Am. J. Sci., III, xviii, 161-167.

"On the Self-fertilization of Plants." Bot. Gaz., IV, 182-187.

"Who finds White Partridge-berries?" Bot. Gaz., IV, 190.

"Duplicate Corolla of Campanula." Bot. Gaz., IV, 207.

"Scutia ferrea and Reynosia latifolia." Bot. Gaz., IV, 208.

"Nomenclature in Atlantic IT. S. Polypetala:" Bot. Gaz., IV, 210.

"The beheading of flies by Mentzelia ornata; The Dichogamy of Spigelia marilandica; The most arctic timber; "Carnivorous Plants." Bot. Gaz., IV, 213-215.

"The Gymnospermy of Conifers;" Bot. Gaz., IV, 222-224.

"Vaccinium macrocarpon, var. intermedium; Common and Troublesome Weeds near Santa Barbara, Cal." Bot. Gaz., IV, 226.

"On the Genus Garberia. "Proc. Acad. Philad., 1879, 379-380.


"The Flora of Boston and its vicinity, and the changes it has undergone." Winsor's Memorial History of Boston, I, 17-22 (with autograph).

"Tennessee Plants." Bot. Gaz., v, 3.

"Littorella and Schizsea in Nova Scotia." Bot. Gaz., v, 4. [Gard. Chron., XIII, 4.]

"Note on trapping of moths or butterflies by cortain plants." Am. Nat., XIV. 50.

"Natural Science and Religion: Two Lectures delivered to the Theological School of Tale College." New York, 1880.

"The Genus Leavenworthia; Automatic Movement of the Frond of Asplenium trichomanes." Bot. Gaz., V, 25-27.

"Flora of Kerguelen's Land." Bot. Gaz., V, 39.

"Notuhb exiguae." Bot. Gaz., V, 53. 63, 75, 87, 88.

"On a point of botanical nomenclature." Trimen's Journ. Bot., XVIII, 186 (from Am. J. Sci., III, xix, 420).

"Meanwhile, what should be done and how?" Independent, XXXII, No. 1652, p. 1.

"Action of Light on Vegetation." Am. J. Sci., III, xx, 74-76.

"Contributions to North American Botany." Proc. Amer. Acad., XVI, 78-108.
1. "Notes on some Compositae."
2. "Some Species of Aselepias."
3. "A New Genus of Gentianaceae."
4. "Miscellanea; of the North American Flora."

"Mesembrianthemum, not Mesembryanthemum." Trimen's Journ. Bot., XVIII, 243 (from Bot Gaz., V, 89).

"Botany of the Black Hills of Dakota. Report on the Geology and Resources of the Black Hills of Dakota", by H. Newton, E. M., and W. P. Jenney, E. M. [U. S. G. G. Survey R. M. R.], pp. 529-637.

[J.L.G. - "Remarks on the Centennial Celebration of the American Academy, May 26, 1880." Mem. Am. Acad., XI, 13-15]


"The Vegetation of the Rocky Mountain Region and a Comparison with that of other Parts of the World." By A. Gray and J. D. Hooker. Bull. Bull. U.S. Geol. and Geogr. Survey of the Territories, VI, 1-77.

"A Chinese puzzle by Linnaeus." Trimen's Journ. Bot., XIX, 325, 326.

"Review of the North American climbing species of Clematis, with compound leaves and thick or thickish erect sepals." Curtis's Botanical Magazine, CVII, under plate 6594.


"Chrysogonum Virginianum, var. dentatum." Bot. Gaz., VII, 31-32.

"Githopsis." Bot. Gaz., VII, 40.

"Plucheas." Bot. Gaz., VII, 45.

"Ranunculus." Bot. Gaz., VII. 47.

"The Relation of Insects to Flowers." The Contemporary Review, XLI, 598-609. [Eclectic Magazine, XXXV, 732-739.]

"The citation of botanical authorities." Trimen's Journ. Bot., XX, 173-174.

"Contributions to North American Botany." Proc. Amer. Acad., xvn, 163-230.
1. "Studies of Aster and Solidago in the Older Herbaria."
2. "Novitiaet Arizonica, etc.; Characters of the New Plants of certain Recent Collections, mainly in Arizona and adjacent Districts, etc."

"Parishella californica." Bot. Gaz., VII, 94-95.

"Evolution versus Evangelical Religion." Boston Evening Transcript, Sept 13th, 1882.

"Note on the Musaratic Chapel of the Cathedral of Toledo." Nation, No. 884, p. 482.

"Mimulus deutatus, Nutt.; Linnam borealis." Bot. Gaz., VII, 112.

"Remarks concerning the Flora of North America." Am. J. Sci., III, xxiv, 321-331. [Reprinted in part in Bot. Gaz., vn, 129-135, 139-143.]

"Note on the Lignified Snake." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, IX, 152.

"Synopsis of species of Nama. Godman & Salvin," Biologia Centrali-Americana; Botany, II, 360-365.


"The Lignified Snake from Brazil." Am. J. Sci., III, xxv, 79-81. [ Bot. Gaz. (in part), VIII, 153-154.]

"Natural Selection and Natural Theology." Nature, XXVII, 291-292, 527-528; XXVIII, 79.

"Reports as Director of the Herbarium of Harvard University." Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer, 1882-83, p. 114-116; 1883-84, p. 136; 1884-85, p. 142-143; 1885-86, p. 118-119; 1886-87, p. 123.

"Gonolobus shortii." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 191.

"Hibiscus moscheutos and H. roseus; Stipules in Saxifragacese; Vincetoxicum." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 244, 245.

"Condurango." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 260.

"Lonicera grata." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, X, 94-95; xi, 76.

"Rhododendrou (Azalea) vaseyi." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 282.

"Aquilegia longissima." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 295.

"Contributions to North American Botany. Proc. Amer. Acad., XIX, 1-96.
1. "Characters of New Composite?, with Revisions of certain Genera, and Critical Notes."
2. "Miscellaneous Genera and Species."

"Letter on publication of a letter by Dr. Torrey, etc." Bot. Gaz., VIII, 317.


"Antirrhina prehensilia." Bot. Gaz., IX, 53-54.

"Lonicera grata." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, XI, 76.

"A Revision of the North American species of the Genus oxytropis, DC." Proc. Amer. Acad., XX, 1-7.

"Notes on the Movements of the Audrcecium in sunflowers." Proc. Acad. Philad., 1884, 287-288.

Synoptical Flora of North America.
Vol. I.-Part II. Caprifoliacese-Composite. New York, July, 1884.
Second Edition [with Supplement, etc., in connection with vol. II, Part I]. New York, January, 1886.
Reissued, with corrections, April, 1888, as Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. XXXV.

"Notes on some North American Species of Saxifraga." Proc. Amer. Acad., XX, 8-12.

"Veatchia, nov. Gen. Anacardiacearum." Bull. Calif. Acad., I, 4-5.

"Gender of Names of Varieties." Am. J. Sci., XXX, xxvii, 396-398.

"Breweria minima." Bot. Gaz., IX, 148.

"Hypopitys or Hypopithys? " Am. J. Sci., III, xxviii, 238-239.

"Characteristics of the North American Flora: an address to the botanists of the Brit. Assoc, for the Adv. Sc. at Montreal. " Am. J. Sci., III, xxviii, 323-340; Rep. Brit. Assoc, 1885.

"The name Trilisa." Am. J. Sci., III, xxviii, 402.


"The Scientific Principles of Agriculture." Science, V, 76.

"Notes upon the Plants collected on the Commander Islands (Bering and Copper Islands) by Leonard Stejneger." Proc. U. S. Nat. Museum, VII, 527-529.

"Pine needles." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, XII, 102.

"Contributions to the Botany of North America." Proc. Amer. Acad., XX, 267-310.
1. "A Revision of some Borragineous Genera."
2. "Notes on some American Species of Utricularia."
3. "New Genera of Arizona. California, and their Mexican Borders, and two additional species of Asclepiadacese."
4. "Gamopetalse Miscellanea?."

"The Monterey Pine and Cypress." Science, V, 433-434.

"How to reach the Grand Canon." Science, V, 516-517.

Circular Letter to American Botanists. Published separately, Nov. 19, 1885.

" Report of the International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska." [By Lieut. P. H. Ray.] (Plants. By Asa Gray. pp. 191-192.)


"Notes on Myosurus." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, XIII, 1-4.

"Anemone nudicaulis." Bot. Gaz., XI, 17.

"Anemonella thalictroides, Spach." Bot. Gaz., XI, 39.

"Contributions to American Botany." Proc. Amer. Acad., XXI. 363-413.
1. "A Revision of the North American Ranunculi."
2. "Sertum chihuahuense."
3. "Miscellanea."

"The Genus Asimina." Bot. Gaz., XI. 161-164.

"Tiarella cordifolia." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, XIII. 100-101.

"Vancouveria." Bot. Gaz., XI, 182-183.

"Corydalis aurea and its allies; The Arillus in Asimina." Bot. Gaz., XI, 188-190.

"Essay towards a revision of Dodecatheon." Bot. Gaz., XI, 231-234.

"Letter to the Botanical Club of the A. A. A. S." Bot. Gaz., XI, 245-246.

"Memoranda of a revision of the North American Violets." Bot. Gaz., XI, 253256, 289-293.

"Ambrosia bidentata x trifida." Bot. Gaz., XI, 338.

"Note on Shortia." Am. J. Sci., III, xxxii, 473. [Note to Prof. Sargent's article on Journey of Andre Michaux.]


"The Genus Iris." Bot. Gaz., XII, 16-17.

"Delphinium, an attempt to distinguish the North American Species." Bot. Gaz., XII, 49-54.

"Contributions to American Botany." Proc. Amer. Acad., XXIII, 270-314.
1. "Revision of some Polypetalous Genera and Orders precursory to the Flora of North America."
2. "Sertum chihuahuense; appendix."
3. "Miscellanea."

"Capitalization of Botanical Names." Amer. Florist, II, 294

"List of Plants collected by Dr. Edward Palmer in the State of Jalisco, Mexico, in 1886 [Gamopetalse by Dr. Asa Gray]." Proc. Amer. Acad., xxu, 416-446.

The Elements of Botany for Beginners and for Schools (based upon First Lessons in Botany). New York, 1887.

"Coptis, section Chrysocoptis." Bot. Gaz., XII, 296-297.

"Annotations. [Nelumbo lutea and Nemacaulis.]" Bull. Torr. Bot. Club, XIV, 228-229.

"Botanical Nomenclature." Britten's Journal of Botany, XXV, 353-355.

Editorial preface to The Botanical World of the Late George Englemann; edited by William Trelease and Asa Gray, March 1887

"Science and Immortality."Christian Register, April 7, 1887.
Science and Immortality: The Christian Register Symposium. Edited by S.J. Barrows. 14-15


"New or Rare Plants." Bot. Gaz., XIII, 73.

"Contributions to American Botany. Notes upon some Polypetalous Genera and Orders." Proc. Amer. Acad., XXIII, 223-227.