Persons, Collections and Topics
The Hunt Institute is committed to making its collections accessible for research. To that end, we are digitizing materials as staff time, item condition and copyright law permit. We are pleased to offer descriptions of and in some cases digitized versions of the following books and special botanical collections from the Library.
The Michel Adanson Library at Hunt Institute includes the botanical portion of Adanson's personal library, along with correspondence, manuscripts, and a large number of plant illustrations clipped from published sources. Roy A. Hunt purchased this collection for the Hunt Botanical Library in 1961, making additional purchases in 1962. As catalogued in our publication, Adanson: The Bicentennial of Michel Adanson's "Familles des Plantes" (1963–1964), the collection contains 127 book titles, 117 letters, 146 manuscripts and thousands of plant images clipped from published works, many of them annotated by him.
The Library has digitized Friedrich von Berchtold (1781–1876) and Jan Svatopluk Presl (1791–1849), O Prirozenosti Rostlin aneb Rostlinár ... (Prague, Jos. Krause, 1823–1835), except for the text to volume 3, lacking in our copy. Bohemian botanists Berchtold and Presl co-authored two works that have importance for botanists today working on problems of taxonomy and nomenclature. The first was O Prirozenosti Rostlin (Prague, Krala Wiljma Endersa, 1820), which treated vascular plant families. The second was O Prirozenosti Rostlin aneb Rostlinár (Prague, Jos. Krause, 1823–1835). At the time these works were written, their impact was limited by their being published in Czech rather than in Latin, but the work of Berchtold and Presl has been gaining new attention in the West in recent decades.
The Library has digitized Account of 814 Plants & Insects, Most of Which Are Reckoned Medicinal by the Chinese (ca.1800). This manuscript Chinese herbal dates from around 1800 and was purchased by Rachel Hunt in 1939. The text is written in Chinese and annotated in English in a different color of ink. The book has no title page or preface nor any additional text beyond what is in the individual entries. Typically there are four entries per page, and the reverse sides of all of the leaves are blank. The first text leaf also has these words written in English across the top of the page: "Account of 814 plants & insects, most of which are reckoned medicinal by the chinese; the representations generally show when the plant itself, or its root, flower, or fruit, is to be used; in reading their names, the vowels a, e, i, are most commonly to be pronounced after the french manner; the book is bound after the chinese manner, and begins where ours end." The only other text is that of the entries themselves and the accompanying notes in English, and there is no index.
A previous owner colored some of the images in Hunt Institute's copy of Matthias de L'Obel's Plantarum seu Stirpium Icones (Antwerp, Christophe Plantin, 1581). Based on the method of coloring, especially in the areas where the coloring was most sophisticated, we assume that this was a modern owner. While the quality of the coloring was poor in the majority of images, in some it was quite beautifully done and substantially changed the impact of the illustrations from an aesthetic perspective.
The Library has digitized John Ellis (?1710–1776), Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants, from the East Indies and Other Distant Countries, in a State of Vegetation: Together with a Catalogue of Such Foreign Plants as Are Worthy of Being Encouraged in Our American Colonies, for the Purposes of Medicine, Agriculture, and Commerce. To Which is Added, the Figure and Botanical Description of a New Sensitive Plant, Called Dionaea muscipula: or, Venus's Fly-trap (London, printed and sold by L. Davis, 1770).
The Library has digitized the plates for Robert Hooke (1635–1703), Micrographia, or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses with Observations and Inquiries Thereupon (London, Printed by J. Martyn and J. Allestry, 1665).
There were 186 academic dissertations defended by students of Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) during the period 1743–1776. Our Strandell Collection of Linnaeana contains a complete set, and the Library is making them accessible online. Unlike the common practice today in which doctoral students write their own theses and defend them, in 18th-century Sweden the respondents typically expounded and defended the ideas of the praeses. Linnaeus served as praeses for 185 of the 186 dissertations, with Carl von Linné filius acting as praeses for the last one, Hellens' Hypericum. Thus what are usually referred to as the Linnaean dissertations are attributed to Linnaeus, even though they are also associated with the respondents who defended them and whose names appear on their title pages.
The Library has digitized François L'Anglois (1589–1647), Livre de Fleurs, ou Sont Representés Touttes Sortes de Tulippes, Narcisses, Iris, et Plusieurs Autres Fleurs avec Diversités d'Oiseaux, Mouches, et Papillons, le Tout Fait apres le Naturel (Paris, Joan le Clerc, 1620).
Curated by the Library, the Strandell Collection of Linnaeana includes nearly all published works, in almost every known edition and translation, by the great Swedish naturalist-physician Carolus Linnaeus as well as works by a number of his students and a considerable amount of commentary about Linnaeus and his natural history students, as published up to the late 1960s.