Archives and Manuscript Collections
WENDELL HOLMES (RED) CAMP PAPERS
9.9 linear feet (15 Boxes)
Holmes (Red) Camp, botanical explorer, taxonomist, nomenclature theorist,
experimental botanist, educator, and landscape photographer, was born on
February 22, 1904, in Dayton, Ohio. He received his B.S. in geology from
Otterbein College in 1925 and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1932.
He took his first field trip that year - following the snowmelt at the timberline
in the far-western mountains of the Mexican Border into British Columbia.
Along with collecting, he preserved his memories with an extraordinary
series of landscape photographs which he saved in two scrapbooks.
In 1936, following an extended collection and photography field trip
through the Southern Appalachians (Virginia and Kentucky) and the Great
Smokey Mountains National Park, he joined the staff of The New York Botanical
Garden as Assistant Curator, a position he held until 1946. After his war
work with the Societé Haitiano Americain de Developpment Agricola
(1943) and the Mision de Cinchona in Ecuador (1944-1945) during the Second
World War, he was appointed Associate Curator until 1949.
H. W. Rickett remembers Camp's presence as a period of "pure intellectual
ferment" that has "been seldom equaled and never surpassed." While he was
at The New York Botanical Garden, Camp was engaged in issues of taxonomy.
His specialty was the Ericaceae, especially Vaccinium, but Rickett states
that "he was always looking for the generalizations, the answers to the
larger questions in relationship and evolution." During his time at The
New York Botanical Garden, Camp initiated and edited the Taxonomic Index
(1939-1949) for members of the newly formed American Society of Plant Taxonomists.
His major theoretical work Structure and Origin of the Species,
written in collaboration with C. L. Gilly, argued that there were many
forms of species and many ways in which species developed. Eventually,
Camp would come to doubt the concept of species entirely, focusing on the
unique elements of every specimen.
Camp bridged the worlds of botany and horticulture. As President of
the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (1949) and President of the American
Horticultural Council (1952), Camp took on the challenge of bringing horticultural
nomenclature into line with botanical nomenclature. At the Garden, he collaborated
with H. W. Rickett and C. A. Weatherby to produce the "Brittonia edition"
of the International Rules for Botanical Nomenclature, which had been enacted
by the International Botanical Congress in Stockholm (1950). Camp then
moderated the collaboration between the Stockholm Congress and the International
Horticultural Congress in London (1952) to produce the "International Code
of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants." His taxonomic work on the Vaccinium
led him to conduct extensive experiments in blueberry hybridization, while
his taxonomic work on Fagus developed into a study on the treatment and
prevention of beech bark disease.
But it is for his field work that Camp is most renowned. Immediately
upon his arrival at The New York Botanical Garden, Camp was sent on a collecting
expedition to Oaxaca with Thomas Baillie MacDougall (winter 1936-1937).
He took many photographs and purchased work from or exchanged it with native
photographers. Working with Carol Woodward, Camp secured a contract to
write a popular book on his experiences to be titled, Winter in Oaxaca.
This was never completed. However, one of his final publications was a
popular book published by the National Geographic Society in 1957. Entitled
World in Your Garden, it contains theories of plant migrations and
many anecdotes from his collecting expeditions.
Camp's adventurous spirit continued through World War II. In 1942 he
was given leave from the Garden to work with the Societé Haitiano
Americain de Developpment Agricola , a joint venture between the United
States and Haitian governments to produce cryptostegia and vital drug crops
for the war effort. Camp's participation in this venture was short-lived.
He resigned in a dispute over the way land was being appropriated for the
Following this, he became an agent for the American Sponge and Chamois
Company in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. He was charged with purchasing
loofahs which were being used by the Navy as oil filters. By 1944 the Foreign
Economic Administration (FEA) had established the U. S. Commercial Company
as a purchasing agency for the United States Government. This agency engaged
William Steere of The New York Botanical Garden to analyze Cinchona bark
purchased from Ecuador for its quinine content. Steere discovered that
second-growth specimens were weaker than those of materials from forests
that had never been harvested. It was decided that Camp be engaged by the
Misión de Cinchona de Ecuador in order to harvest Cinchona from
the 'cloud forests' at higher altitudes. After working with Steere during
the spring and summer of 1944, Camp and his assistants Francisco Prieto,
Manuel Giler, and Henning Jorgensen set off on an expedition into the mountains
which lasted about nine months. Camp kept careful records of their itinerary
through previously unmapped areas controlled by Jivaro Indians. During
the month of August, he was accompanied by William Steere.
The project was termed complete by the FEA in April 1945. At that time
The New York Botanical Garden, at the urging of then Director William J.
Robbins, fowarded funds to Camp to collect "medicinal plants." In all,
he collected 5,828 numbers (26,000 duplicates). John J. Wurdack organized
the distribution of specimens to authorities on each taxon. Three percent
of the material was designated as new taxa. In his field book, Camp recorded
ethnobotanical data on 335 collections.
Shortly after his return to the United States, Camp left the Garden
for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia for a position created
for him, Curator of Experimental Botany and Horticulture. This position
involved industrial contracts for research on Vaccinium, Veratrum, Hedera,
and forest conditions in Quebec. In addition, he designed the Taylor Arboretum,
which opened in 1951. In 1953 he accepted the Chair of the Department of
Botany at the University of Connecticut.
He returned to The New York Botanical Garden in 1962 to receive its
Distinguished Service Award. Some months later, on February 4, 1963, he
was dead. Rickett summarized his influence as that of "a stimulant, a catalyst,
a purveyor of ideas, a challenger of the established order." He predicted
that it would live for a long time.
In 1978, Elaine Joyal was curator of the Garden's neotropical collections.
She began sorting through Camp's Ecuadorian collections and was so impressed
with them that she published two articles on his work, one of which reproduced
his field collection notes in their entirety - including the ethnobotanical
data: "Ethnobotanical Field Notes from Ecuador: Camp, Prieto, Jorgensen
and Giler" (Economic Botany 41(2), 1987). The other, "Plant
Collectors in Ecuador: Camp, Prieto, Jorgensen and Giler" (Brittonia
32 (4), 1980) details the collectors' itinerary.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection documents the research of Wendell Holmes Camp in the
fields of taxonomy, horticulture, botanical exploration, and education.
The documentation of Camp's activities in South America on behalf of the
United States Government's economic botany programs during World War II
includes correspondence, reports, maps, determinations, and analyses of
Cinchona and other plants collected by Camp. A manuscript transcription,
produced in 1986, of Camp's field notebook is also included. Camp's noteworthy
photographs - landscapes, specimens, and records of activities at the Garden
make up a significant portion of the material. The collection contains
correspondence, articles, reports, unpublished essays, photographs, negatives,
glass slides and transparencies, collection lists, maps, and drawings.
Negatives, lantern slides, and motion pictures have each been designated
with separate series. The collection is organized into eleven series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Field Trips and Expeditions
Subseries A: Western U.S./ Virginia and Kentucky
Subseries B: Oaxaca
Subseries C: Haiti
Subseries D: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala
Subseries E: Cinchona
Series 4: Systematic Botany
Subseries A: Anthodendron
Subseries B: Araceae
Subseries C: Azalea
Subseries D: Ericales
Subseries E: Eupatorium
Subseries F: Fagus
Subseries G: Gautheria
Subseries H: Gaylussacia
Subseries I: Pernettya
Subseries J: Pyrolaceae
Subseries K: Quercus
Subseries L: Rhododendron
Subseries M: Themistoclesia
Subseries N: Thibaudieae
Subseries O: Vaccinium
Subseries P: Tilia
Subseries Q: Wolffia
Subseries R: Miscellaneous Studies
Subseries S: Literature and Specimen File
Series 5: Experimental Botany
Subseries A: Student Work
Subseries B: Vaccinium
Subseries C: Industrial Work
Series 6: Nomenclature
Subseries A: American Horticultural Council
Subseries B: American Horticultural Council, Commission on Nomenclature
Subseries C: Joint Session of Committees on Nomenclature of International
Botanical Congress and
International Horticultural Conference.
Subseries D: Nomenclature Literature
Series 7: Literature
Subseries A: Taxonomic Index
Subseries B: Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern States and Canada
Subseries C: Continental Tilt
Subseries D: Essays
Subseries E: Essays from Others
Series 8: Photographs
Subseries A: Biographical Material
Subseries B: Field Trips and Expeditions
Subseries C: Systematic and Economic Botany
Subseries D: Illustrations
Series 9: Lantern Slides
Subseries A: Glass Slides
Subseries B: Transparencies
Series 10: Negatives
Subseries A: Biographical Materials
Subseries B: Specimens
Subseries C: Line Drawings, Tables and Figures
Subseries D: Field Trips and Expeditions
Series 11: Motion Pictures
Series 1 Biographical
2.5 lin. in. Arranged chronologically.
Included in this series is Camp's C.V. ca. 1950, his desk calendar from
the years 1950-1951, a folder of miscellaneous visual materials, a folder
of Camp's original poetry and humorous verse, and a group of caricatures
of Camp and other Garden personnel in the mid-1930's by Margaret Sorenson.
Photographs of Camp, his family, and associates are located in Series 8:
Photographs, Subseries A and Series 9: Lantern Slides, Subseries A. Negatives
are found in Series 10: Negatives, Subseries A.
Series 2 Correspondence,
5.75 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
This series consists of Camp's professional correspondence. It contains
the full range of Camp's work from his collecting through his projects
in experimental botany and his work on international nomenclature committees.
Many collection and determination lists are found in this series filed
under the individual correspondent. These include Camp's determinations
of Salix collected in Oaxaca; specimens collected in Rio Piedras by L.
R. Holdridge and L. E. Gregory; Plants of Martinique collected by Frank
Egler; and Camp's determinations of material collected by him in Shenandoah
National Park, transmitted to F. R. Fosberg as an aid in preparation of
his Flora. The manuscript for an article "Stablization of Plant Names",
1952, is in the Frese folder. Other correspondence is located in the series
to which it pertains. Correspondence is found in Series 3: Field Trips
and Expeditions; Series 4: Systematic Botany, Subseries C, F, H, I, L,
M, N, P; Series 5: Experimental Botany, Subseries B, D; Series 6: Nomenclature,
Subseries A, B, C and Series 7: Literature, Subseries A, C.
Series 3 Field
Trips & Expeditions, 1936-1950
8 lin. in. Arrranged by subject.
This series contains materials preserved by Camp relating to his field
trips and expeditions to Virginia and Kentucky (1936), Oaxaca (1936-1937),
Haiti (1943), and Ecuador (1944-1945). Notable in this series is the personal
diary, written via correspondence to an unknown recipient, which records
the impressions of Camp regarding the effect of the war on Central America
as well as his intimate philosophical speculations. A complete record of
the analyses of the Cinchona samples from the 1944 expedition to
Ecuador can also be found here, as can important maps of this, at the time,
uncharted area. The manuscript of Elaine Joyal's publication of Camp's
Field Notes has been added to this series. Photographs, except for those
of botanical samples which would lose their context are found in Series
8: Photographs, Subseries B. Oversize photographs from this series of Oaxaca,
Guatemala, and Ecuador and analytical charts regarding Cinchona are found
in Box 13. The scrapbook of photographs of the western United States (1932)
and mounted landscapes from Virginia and Kentucky (1936) are located in
Box 5. Series 9: Lantern Slides contains 12 boxes of "Kodaslides" transparencies,
some of which are dated during the period of his expeditions but which
have not been identified. There are also 4 glass positives relating to
his field trips and expeditions. All negatives are found in Series 10:
Negatives, Subseries D, Boxes 8-10.
Series 4 Systematic
1.3 lin. ft. Arranged alphabetically by genus.
This series contains research notes, line drawings, correspondence,
and manuscripts related to Camp's taxonomic work, primarily with Vaccinium.
Camp's experimental work on Vaccinium is found in Series 5: Experimental
Botany. Oversize illustrations for Subseries F: Fagus and Subseries R:
Wolffia are located in Box 13. Illustration boards for the article "On
the Structure of Populations in the Genus Vaccinium" are found in Box 14.
Subseries S, Literature and Specimen File is located in Box 15. Some specimen
photographs are found in Series 4 in the files to which they pertain. Most
are found in Series 8: Photographs and in Series 9: Lantern Slides. Negatives
are located in Series 10: Negatives.
Series 5 Experimental
0.35 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
This series contains correspondence, reports, manuscripts, and similar
material related to Camp's experimental and theoretical studies, especially
the work he accomplished as Curator of Experimental Botany and Horticulture
at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Summaries of this work
are found in the Annual Reports folder. Also found here are correspondence
and reports covering the work he did for industrial clients such as Riker
Labs. Material relating to the Peony Test Garden is found in Box 14. Camp's
dissertation on hemp and other material from his student days also is in
this series. Photographs of the Taylor Arboretum are located in Series
8: Photographs. Negatives are located in Series 10.
Series 6 Nomenclature,
0.5 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
Found in this series are materials related to Camp's work with the American
Horticultural Council and its Commission on Nomenclature; Camp's collaboration
with Gilly on species structure and origin; and published and unpublished
manuscripts by Camp on nomenclature issues. Oversize materials related
to the Joint Sessions of the Committees on Nomenclature of the International
Botanical Congress and International Horticultural Conference 1951 and
a follow-up questionnaire are in Box 14.
Series 7 Literature
0.25 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
Manuscripts in this series are those not related to specific genera
or sponsored researches. Here is located Camp's files from the Taxonomic
Index, which he inititiated in 1939 and edited until 1948. Manuscripts
related to specific genera are found in Series 4: Systematic Botany and
Series 5: Experimental Botany. Manuscripts related to nomenclature are
found in Series 6: Nomenclature. Also in this series are manuscripts from
other authors sent to Camp for comments and work by Camp's students. Illustrations
from manuscripts are located with the manuscripts and in Series 8: Photographs,
Subseries D: Illustrations. Negatives are kept in Series 10: Negatives,
Subseries G: Systematic and Economic Botany and Subseries H: Miscellaneous.
Series 8 Photographs,
1.75 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
In this series are photographs that have been separated from subject
files, and Camp's landscape work. Included is Camp's western United States
scrapbook and documentation of the flowering of A. Titanum, Becc. at the
Garden in 1937. Negatives are located in Series 10: Negatives. Photographic
works in other media are found in Series 9: Lantern Slides and Series 11:
Series 9 Lantern Slides,
0.75 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
This series contains glass-plate positives of family portraits, and
photographic and line illustrations from lectures. Also in this series
is a 35mm mounted color slide portrait of Camp and a collection of unmounted
35mm color transparencies dated 1941-1953.
Series 10 Negatives,
3.30 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically by subject.
Found in this series are all available negatives for Camp's photographs.
Series 11 Motion
0.75 lin. ft. Arranged chronologically.
This series contains 12 magazines of 16mm Kodachrome motion pictures.
The New York Botanical Garden
FNC Field Collectors Notebook Series
Vols. 198, 212-215;
RA Records of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, 1938-1983
RG4 Henry A. Gleason Records
Harvard University, Gray Herbarium
Papers of Charles Alfred Weatherby
Stanford University, Dept. of Special Collections
Papers of Ira. L. Wiggins
Processed April 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
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Back to Top