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From the Mertz Library’s Seed and Nursery Catalog
Non-Book Collection

The Art and Illustration Collection is an important tool for taxonomic research and is a valuable resource for the scholarly comparison of original to published work and for locating illustrations of plants. The collection covers a broad range of techniques and media including line drawings, watercolors, oil paintings, sculpture, and photographs. It includes important Garden related material such as the drawings done to illustrate Britton and Brown's Illustrated Flora of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada, or other illustrations usually drawn to supplement botanical descriptions in such publications as Addisonia, Brittonia, Mycologia, or Flora Neoptropica. Other important collections include illustrations documenting early U.S. exploring expeditions; illustrations from unpublished floras such as Flora Borequeno or Flora Cubana; original illustrations from important taxonomic works as Les Liliacées; or Garden related material such as the presentation watercolors by the landscape design firm of Brinley and Holbrook of structures and horticultural features that the Garden sought to construct in the 1920s.

The Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection contains approximately 150,000 items, the earliest dating back to the first half of the 19th century. It is particularly strong in catalogs of American purveyors of seeds and plants in the 20th century. The holdings are not cataloged but have been inventoried in two local databases (Historical and Current) available in the Library.

Index Seminum (Seed Exchange Lists) Collection contains printed lists of documented seed collections made from wild plants and made available for distribution through exchange by botanical gardens and arboreta. These publications are of interest to scholars studying the introduction of new species. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the first descriptions of new plants sometimes appeared in such publications.

The Reprint Collection holds a large collection of scientific reprints arranged alphabetically by the first author’s name. These are copies of articles, printed separately as overruns from scientific and technical journals, for distribution by the author(s). The collection conveniently brings together many of the writings of a single author. It often contains articles from journals not held in the general research collection. The Library is presently creating records in the online catalog to indicate that an author is represented in the collection.

The Photograph Collection was gathered in the Library in the 1960s from a number of collections housed elsewhere in the Garden. Most important of these are the Garden’s historical photographs, especially those taken before WWII. These photographs were organized by WPA workers and mounted in albums in the late 1930s. These albums serve as important reference tools. Access to these collections is limited.

The Vertical File is a subject file containing magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs, ephemeral publications, and other miscellany. This collection, begun in the 1920s, now numbers over 40,000 file folders. The file is still maintained and added to, although the Library depends increasingly on searchable databases for the kinds of information once designated for the Vertical File.

Taxonomic Literature Data File is a resource of 1.2 million data sheets used in the preparation of the major botanical bibliographic reference work, Taxonomic Literature, second edition, compiled by Frans Stafleu and Richard Cowan. This assembled data file represents approximately 60 percent more bibliographic data than that appearing in the published seven volume work. These files have been augmented by additional documentation prepared for the Supplements.

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