Archives and Manuscript Collections
HARRY DWIGHT DILLON RIPLEY PAPERS (1973, 1978)
1.6 linear feet (3 boxes)
Dwight Dillon Ripley (1908-1973), noted linguist, plantsman, artist, and
author, was born in London on October 23, 1908. He began his plant explorations
in the 1920's in Northern Africa and Spain with Rupert Barneby, whom he
met at Harrow where they both attended school. They collected plants to
grow at the Spinney, Ripley's home in Sussex, as well as specimens for
herbaria. The 1,138 species in their garden are identified in A List
of Plants Cultivated or Native at the Spinney, Waldron, Sussex
(1939). In 1939, the two men moved to California and traveled extensively
in Mexico and the western United States, again collecting plants for their
garden and for herbaria. Ripley wrote numerous articles about these collecting
trips that were originally published in The Quarterly Bulletin of the
Alpine Garden Society (U.K.). Excerpts are reprinted in Impressions
of Nevada: the countryside and some of the plants as seen through the eyes
of an Englishman, an occasional paper of the Northern Nevada Native Plant
Society (1978). Ripley and Barneby moved to New York in 1943 and they
did not return to Sussex. Their plant collection at the Spinney was auctioned
in 1951 with most of the rarities going to botanic gardens at Cambridge
A respected artist, Ripley exhibited his drawings at Peggy Guggenheim's
Art of This Century Gallery in New York. He was the major financial contributor
to the establishment of the Tibor de Nagy Art Gallery and had five one-man
Ripley and Barneby built two large rock gardens at their homes in New
York, first at Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County and subsequently in Greenport,
Long Island. In 1974, Ripley and Barneby were honored with the American
Rock Garden Society's Marcel Le Piniec Award for their plant explorations
and introduction of new rock garden species.
Index Kewensis lists six species named after Ripley: Cymopterus ripleyi,
Aliciella ripleyi, Astragalus ripleyi, Eriogonum ripleyi, Omphalodes ripleyana
and Senna ripleyi, the first three of which he co-discovered with Rupert
Barneby. Ripley, a cousin of the long-time Smithsonian director, S. Dillon
Ripley, was fluent in more than 15 languages and dialects.
The extensive manuscript held in the archives of the New York Botanical
Garden, the Etymological Dictionary of Vernacular Plant Names,
was nearing completion at the time of Ripley's death on December 17, 1973.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists entirely of one unpublished manuscript.
Series 1: Etymological Dictionary of Vernacular Plant Names
Series 1 Etymological Dictionary of Vernacular
1.6 lin. ft. Arranged alphabetically.
The manuscript begins with an explanatory note written by Rupert Barneby
in 1978. The note states that the aim of the manuscript is to assemble
a complete vocabulary of plant nomenclature developed by peoples of the
European language family. As it stands, the dictionary is a way of locating
common names for plant species and indicating their origin and meaning.
William Jewell College, Department of Biology
Processed June 2000 by Stephen Sinon 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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