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5 linear inches (1 box)


A. T. (Alfred Tennyson) Beals (1870-1955) was an amateur bryologist and a professional photographer. He recorded events and persons in the educational and civic worlds of New York City and New Jersey. He succeeded E. B. Chamberlain as Secretary-Treasurer of the Sullivant Moss Society in 1925 and was active in the organization through the early 1930's. Beals also belonged to the Torrey Botanical Club and the American Fern Society. He donated his personal herbarium of 2,000 specimens to The New York Botanical Garden.

The name of the Sullivant Moss Society was changed to the American Bryological Society in 1948. Currently, it is the American Bryological and Lichenological Society. Its collections were donated to the University of Pennsylvania.

Beals was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts in 1870. He attended the Massachusetts Agricultural College, graduating in 1892.

In 1897, he married Jessie Tarbox Beals, the first female photojournalist, whose work is represented in many major photographic collections in the United States. The Beals traveled the country as peripatetic photographers, and then separated in the 1920's.  In her later years, Jessie Beals became known for her garden photography.

As a professional photographer, Beals was known as A. Tennyson Beals. His studio was located at 2929 Broadway, New York City. His correspondence from the Sullivant Moss Society bears this address as well.

A. T. married again to Marie Victoria (M.V.) Beals, and they had one daughter, Mrs. Henry Brainerd. They lived at 274 Summit Ave., Hackensack, New Jersey.  In 1951, Beals won a special citation from the Union County (N.J.) Park Commission for his work in providing park museum exhibits. A. T. Beals died in November 1955.


The A. T. Beals collection consists of lists, manuscripts, correspondence, translations, photographs, and one field notebook relating to his position as Secretary-Treasurer of the Sullivant Moss Society, its publication The Bryologist, and his collections of North American bryophytes. Much of the material originated with E. B. (Edward Blanchard ) Chamberlain, who preceded Beals as Secretary-Treasurer of the Sullivant Moss Society and who was eulogized by Beals in The Bryologist, Vol. 23, July and September, 1925, p. 42-51. Photographs of Chamberlain, taken by Beals, are found in the E. B. Chamberlain folder in the Vertical Files. Beals' field notebook is no. 628 in the Field Collectors' Notebooks Collection. The collection is arranged into five series.


Series 1: Sullivant Moss Society
Series 2: E. B. Chamberlain
Series 3: The Bryologist
Series 4: Musci
Series 5: Photographs and Art

Series 1     Sullivant Moss Society, 1882-1946
                        0.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.

Three files of lists of Musci and Hepaticae collected in North America by various members of the Sullivant Moss Society, and specimens sent from around the world to the Moss Exchange. The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium, now owns the Sullivant Moss Society lichen herbarium, which came to the Garden along with the papers of Gladys Anderson.

Series 2     E. B. (Edward Blanchard) Chamberlain, 1908-1924
                       1.5 lin. in. Arranged by subject.

Three files of material from The Bryologist, abstracted by Chamberlain for inclusion in Botanical Abstracts and instructions for abstractors. Other materials are translations of works by Okamura Shu and a typescript of the list of plants collected by Elisha Kent Kane on his polar expeditions. The correspondence file contains invoices for advertisements run by the Sullivant Moss Society. These are countersigned by Elizabeth Britton. Correspondence with A. J. Grout relates to the Sullivant Moss Society and his scientific bookshop.

Series 3     The Bryologist, 1921-1925
                        1.5 lin. in. Arranged by subject.

Contains cover proofs, correspondence with the printing company, and manuscripts for Vol. 28, 1925.

Series 4     Musci, n.d.
                       1 lin. in. Arranged by subject.

Contains typewritten charts of moss families from Engler and Prantl, and photographic reproductions of those charts.

Series 5     Photographs and Art, 1888-1935
                  .5 lin. in. Arranged by subject.

Contains photographs of plates illustrating pre-20th century botanical works and the Hortus Deliciarum from the 12th century. Other photographs are of unidentified people and architecture and specimens. Also in this series is a pastel drawing of an iris, illegibly signed, and dated 1888.


The New York Botanical Garden

CFN  Number 628

PP     Gladys P. Anderson Papers

Processed July 1999 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 Archivist
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8879

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