Archives and Manuscript Collections
WILLIAM BALDWIN PAPERS (1811-1819)
2.5 linear inches (1 box)
Baldwin (1779-1819) was a physician and one of the first botanists to explore
the American Southeast, parts of Latin America and the West Indies. He
was the initial botanist on Stephen Long's expedition to find the headwaters
of the Missouri River. Sadly, he died at Franklin, Missouri, six months
into the expedition.
Baldwin was born in Newlin, Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a
child, he became interested in botany through his acquaintance with Dr.
Moses Marshall, nephew of Humphry Marshall. In 1802 he began the study
of medicine under Dr. William A. Todd at the University of Pennsylvania.
There he met William Darlington. Baldwin nursed him through an illness
and earned Darlington's lifelong friendship.
In 1805, short of money to continue his studies, Baldwin enlisted as
ship's surgeon on a merchant ship bound for Canton by way of Antwerp. In
1807 he was awarded his medical degree. He married Hannah M. Webster and
moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where he opened a practice. They would have
In 1811 he began a correspondence with Henry Muhlenberg, who introduced
him to Stephen Elliott. Baldwin's contributions to his Sketch of the
Botany of South Carolina and Georgia were acknowledged by Elliott in
his book. Baldwin collected in Georgia and in territory occupied by the
Creek Indians in Florida. He was extremely sympathetic to them, comparing
them favorably to those of his own race who would displace them. In 1817
Baldwin was named a corresponding member of the Academy of Natural Sciences
In 1818, he was appointed ship's physician on the U.S. Congress, and
accompanied Rodney's diplomatic mission to South America. He collected
in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero, and Uruguay.
The Long Expedition left on March 24, 1819. Baldwin fell ill at Franklin,
Missouri and resigned from the expedition, remaining behind. He died in
Franklin on September 1, 1819, and was buried beside the Missouri River.
Darlington tried unsuccessfully to obtain a military pension for Hannah
Baldwin and their children. In 1843 he published Baldwin's collected letters.
These were reprinted with a new introduction by Joseph Ewan in 1969.
Baldwin's personal herbarium was sold to Zaccheus Collins after his
death and subsequently purchased by Lewis David von Schweinitz. Although
von Schweinitz discarded Baldwin's labels, lists of his collections and
von Schweinitz's commentaries are found in the Lewis David von Schweinitz
Papers located in The New York Botanical Garden Archives. The von Schweinitz
herbarium is located at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The William Baldwin Papers document Baldwin's collections and plant
classification studies in the United States and South America, through
his correspondence with scientists in the United States and England. There
is one manuscript for a published article and the journal from which it
was drawn. Baldwin's journal recording his experiences on the Long Expedition
was removed to Columbia University in 1956. This collection contains correspondence,
journals, a manuscript, and a notebook.
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Journals
Series 3: Notices on the Sea Coast of E. Florida and the State of Georgia
Series 4: Plant Classification Studies
Series 1 Correspondence, 1811-1819
2 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
Correspondence and notes of collections exchanges with colleagues.
Series 2 Journals, 1812-1819
1.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
Manuscript records of Baldwin's observations in the southeastern United
States and South America.
Series 3 Notices on the Sea Coast of E. Florida
and the State of Georgia, 1816
Manuscript of one of two publications by Baldwin and the journal from
which it was drawn.
Series 4 Plant Classification Studies, n.d.
Two notebooks containing Baldwin's notes for a catalogue of American
plants and his studies of Monandria Canna.
The New York Botanical Garden
PP Papers of Lewis David von Schweinitz
Harvard University, Gray Herbarium
Papers of William Baldwin, 1803-1844
American Philosophical Society Library
Botanical Correspondence of Zaccheus Collins of Philadelphia, 1805-1827
Processed May 2000 by Laura Zelasnic under a grant from
the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-23141-98 and a grant
from the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation.
For more information and a complete description contact:
Susan Fraser, NYBG
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
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