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Percy Wilson (1879-1944)

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Records of the Herbarium (RG4)
2.6 linear feet (1 box)


Percy Wilson (1879-1944) first worked at The New York Botanical Garden as a museum aide. Nathaniel Lord Britton, the Garden's Director-in-Chief, perceived a particularly effective employee and dispatched Wilson on several of the earliest New York Botanical Garden botanical expeditions. One of these was the "Total Eclipse Expedition" to the East Indies, where he was commissioned to establish official ties with certain botanic gardens of Asia. His success in this endeavor resulted in the procurement of specimens for the garden's young and growing Herbarium. In 1902 Wilson joined Dr. and Mrs. Britton on their initial botanical exploration of the island of Puerto Rico.

Soon afterwards, Britton appointed Wilson as his personal assistant, a relationship that lasted from 1905 to Britton's retirement in 1929. In 1914 Wilson became an Associate Curator. Three years later he published The Vegetation of Vieques Island, one of the studies which originated from The Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Britton and Wilson's chief collaboration in the survey was Part 7, Descriptive Flora, Spermatophyta. After Britton's retirement, Wilson provided continuity in the collaborative relationships established with the Puerto Rican scientific and governmental communities. He retired from the Garden in 1939 and died in 1944 following a long struggle with a degenerative illness.


The Percy Wilson collection consists of correspondence and a manuscript of A Provisional List of the Known Trees of Cuba pertaining to his work at The New York Botanical Garden. Several of Wilson's field notebooks are held in the Collectors' Field Notebooks series.


Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Manuscript

Series 1    Correspondence, 1908-1940
                  0.3 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically.

There are 4 files, including correspondence with Frances Horne and Robert C. Murphy.

Series 2    Manuscript, 1925
                  2.3 lin. in. One item.

There is one manuscript (with a duplicate copy) entitled A Provisional Life of the Known Trees of Cuba.


The New York Botanical Garden

PP     Frances W. Horne Papers

RG4     Nathaniel Lord Britton Records

CFN    Numbers 27-28, 41, 57, 68, 132-155, 157, 166-168

Processed April 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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