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John Strong Newberry (1822-1892)

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2.5 linear inches (1 box)


John Strong Newberry (1822-1892) was born in Windsor, Connecticut on 22 December 1822 but lived in Ohio during his boyhood. Like many naturalists of the time, he was self-trained in botany and zoology. He graduated from the Cleveland Medical School in 1848 and traveled to Paris, France to continue medical studies, but he also took courses in botany at the Jardin des Plantes. In the 1850s he accompanied several expeditions and surveys to the American west from which he gained large botanical and geological collections. In 1863 the United States Congress elected him one of fifty original members of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1866 he accepted a professorship at the School of Mines of Columbia University where he taught geology and botany. Soon after he was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the Lyceum of Natural History (later the New York Academy of Sciences) serving for 30 years. Newberry led the Torrey Botanical Club during the period of its greatest activity and growth. At Columbia, he was the teacher and mentor of the young Nathaniel Lord Britton who served as his personal assistant and succeeded him as Professor of Geology and Botany at Columbia University. Newberry died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1892.


The John Strong Newberry collection consists of correspondence, lecture notes, and a manuscript of an address before the New York Academy of Sciences 28 April 1879.


Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Lecture Notes
Series 3: Manuscript

Series 1    Correspondence, 1919
                  0.2 linear in. Arranged by subject

There is one letter, from Professor James F. Kemp to Professor Harper, of Columbia University, regarding provenance and a packet envelope that serves as a record of accession. See Provenance below.

Series 2    Lecture Notes, c 1850
                  1.0 linear in. Arranged alphabetically

Consists of lecture notes, in French, of courses in botany, geology, paleontology, and microscopy taken by Newberry at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, France.

Series 3    Manuscript, 1879
                  0.5 linear in.

Consists of one hardbound notebook of a presentation by Newberry before the New York Academy of Sciences, 28 April 1879, entitled "On the Distribution of Seeds in Plants."


As the correspondence from Professor James F. Kemp to Professor Harper explains: "In some overlooked things in my office I have found the accompanying notes of lectures on Botany, Fossil Plants, and Geology, taken by Professor J. S. Newberry when he was student in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris somewhere about 1850. Will you not take them to Dr. Britton and ask him if he does not wish to put them in the library of the Botanical Garden."


New York Botanical Garden

RA    Torrey Botanical Club Records

Processed May 1999 by David Rose 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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