Previous owners

The Curious and Profitable Gardener

There are several criteria by which a book can be deemed "rare" or "exceptional." It could be one of a small number printed in a certain year. It could be signed by the author. It could have a remarkable or unique binding. It could have been owned, in the course of its life, by a well-known person.

The volume of The Curious and Profitable Gardener owned by the Botany Libraries is of historical interest for the text it contains, one of its known previous owners, and the bookbinder who created its current binding. It was previously owned by Oakes Ames (1874-1950), a respected American botanist who specialized in the study of orchids. Ames was very interested in the field of economic botany and spent his entire professional career at Harvard University. He was married to Blanche Ames, an accomplished artist, and together they amassed a large botanical library. In the early 20th century, Ames had a number of his early 15th to 18th century botanical works rebound in fine leather bindings to suit his own particular aesthetic tastes. This particular volume came to the Botany Libraries in 1918 when Ames donated a collection of economic botany material from his personal library.