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Cataloging Hidden Archives of Western Botany and Beyond

Willis Linn Jepson in the field with a plant press.

In April 2009 The University and Jepson Herbaria was awarded a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. This grant will fund the development of an online catalog using the open source archival management software Archon . This project will enable us to catalog of our collection of field notebooks and the personal papers of 15 prominent botanists.

Mr. and Mrs. Lemmon
Mr. and Mrs. Lemmon in the field.

This project will significantly improve access to the archival collections at the University and Jepson Herbaria, which document the history of western American botany from the 1860s to the present day. The archives contain letters and field books of at least 200 individuals in addition to documents, photographs, slides and correspondence from scientists around the globe. The collections cover significant gaps in the history of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, whose records were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, as well as important international botanical expeditions, the formation of the Sierra Club and Save-the-Redwoods League, and the work of women botanists such as Ynes Mexia and Laura May Dempster. Highlights include renowned botanist Willis Jepson's books and papers as well as the books and papers of John and Sarah Lemmons, which include John's sketches of Confederate prisons. Notable correspondents among the archive's letters are Asa Gray, William Hooker, John Muir and Clara Barton.