Carl Purpus, Plant Collector in Western America Letters of Carl A. Purpus -- 1906

Transcribed by Barbara Ertter

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Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 2/7/1906

[1906 Feb 07: 56-57]

Salto de Agua, Amecameca 7/II 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just received Your letter of the 28th Jan. I am packing the plants and get through tomoroow to send them by express right through to San Diego. I think it is best. I received also my shoes. I have written You soon about them, but was to busy. They are just excellent and fit wonderfully. I thank You ever so much for sending them. I have also found that new ?Genus in the first days of march on rocks in the Sierra de Parras, that is before Dr. Palmer discovered it. I collected only a few specimens, about three I guess, because I could not find more. Did You not find them among my Parras plants? That new Sophora is a shrub about 4 hardly 5 feet high. If You send me a few flowers or a pod, I will tell You exactly.

There is a carload of plants coming two large boxes full. Don't get scared!

It is nothing with the position in Cuba. Prof. Baker writes me today, that the Cuban Government did not allow him to have an assistant. I do not care, because I would not have accepted it anyway. He says the[y] want to freeze out Americans. Your Government made a very great mistake not to annex that Island and put an end to those spanish intrigues. I think there is no other race in all the world, which I dispise more than the spanish. I hope to live long enough to see Cuba under the scepter of the states. The sooner, the better. Mexico ought to be gobbled up to.

I hope You have received all the plants and other things I sent You. W ould have sent the money for the shoes, but I do not take the letter down to Ameca myself. I can send You also the money for the express, if You wish me to do so. I am not short at all.

I hope Mrs. Brandegee is well again.

Lo.Grabendorffer died just about a year ago. I am sorry. He was in his best years jet.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus

N.b. I am still finding Eupatoria, which I have not collected before. I guess I never get through here.

My kindest regards to Mrs. Brandegee and Mis Ora.

in ?haste!

[reverse side of last page:]

Dear Mrs. Brandegee!

I could not get my letter to the post office, so I am going tomorrow to take it myself with money enclosed.

Please tell Mr. Brandegee, that I just got through packing the plants. I send them tomorrow by express right through. Of some plants I collected more than it is necessary for the sets. I have found them varying so much, that I though it wise, to have more for study. Of others I could not get more. I am sitll collecting and will send the rest by mail.

I hope You have received the plants also the cocons I sent You.

Prof. Baker seems to be a very nice man. He say he was very sorry, but would do anything for me as long, as is in his position. He takes a a set to. I hope You are well again.

Very sincerely Your friend

C. A. Purpus.

We are having a very hard winter. The Mts. are covered with snow far down below the mountain region.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 3/8/1906

[1906 Mar 08: 58]

Salto de Agua, Amecameca 8/III 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have received Your letter with letters and $5 bill enclosed yesterday. If You will arrange that way it is just as good but I would not sell You any sets, if You did not get Cuban plants for them. I am very much pleased with my shoes. Please do not send me any money, which may be paid in for sets, because I have more idle money, as I need. Kindly put it into the bank for me under Your name.

I was very glad to learn, that You received the plants. It was best to send them by express, because freight takes to long. I have still more to send yet, three bundles are ready and go by mail soon. I am still collecting, lately I found a fine Eupat. on steep rocks, sometimes very hard to get. I go up Ixtauihuatl next monday to take photos. after that Popocatepetl to do the same. I am collecting to of course. Those Potentillae have not been in bloom except one P. ranuncul. I guess You called it. Please send me only the names of the numbered plants and no more papers until I will be in Zacuapan. I leave here in about 14 days for Tehuacan to collect Cacti. From there I go to Orizaba and than to Cordoba and Zacuapan Huatusco. I wqill have plenty time in Orizaba to collect more of the Orchids. This a pitty, that they do not dry well. I send Mrs. Brandegee several baskets full of Cacti and other succulents from Tehuacan.

I hope Mrs. Brandegee is well again. It was a good thing for her to go to Ramona for a change. She ought to be more out of doors. That letter was from a Cactus man in ?Chackow South Russia. He would take about 5-6000 Rubel worth of Cacti every year. That is pretty good! The card from friends in Chicago I have visited last winter. Sorry I did not to see them. We have arm weather now after many cold and disagreable days. The whippoorwill is calling again. That is a signe for spring.

I am going in to an unxplored region again. Zacuapan is alltogether new. Pringle does not go into such out of the way places. The flora must be grand there. I sent some cocons lately, hope they have reached You allright. I write again after I have been on Popocatepetl.

Very sincerly Yours

C. A. Purpus

N.b. I was very much surprised that they broke into the post office in San Diego and got away with so much money. I expect to send You a fine collection from Zacuapan.

My addr. there is care of Sen. Florent Sartorius

Zacuapan, Huatusco Vera Cruz

I thought I had some Steviad double, but there was such abundance of them and so many variations, that sometimes I ditnt know fif I had collected them or not.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 4/1/1906

[no date: 61-62]

Zacuapan, Huatusco Vera Cruz

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have just received Your letter with sample of plants of a Papilionac. vine. Was very glad to here, that the bundles have arrived. I keep on collecting and soon have an other bundle or two to sent.

All those specimens are for Europe though, because the american. Institut. have them already.

Therea are quite a number of Acathaceae about here some are very scarce, because all the woods I am sorry to say are pastured and lots of plants have dissappeared. I have not been in the Tierra Caliente yet. I wrote a letter to the consul in Tepic on account of my botan. trip to this Territory. The consul has five Haciendas. What do You think of such a fine chance? I have not decidet yet if I go there or not. I leave it to You. If You think Chiapas is better I will go there. Of course if the revolution keeps on I can't go, because I don't wish to fall into the hands of Zapata whom they call the Atila of the south. I wished that Atila would kill that miserable Jew on the throne of Montezuma. This would settle there troubles I think.

I received thee book from Prof. Trelease some time ago. I saw that Chamaedorea near Rascon in rocky shady forests. It had neither flower nor fruit so I did not collect it.

When I saw to pods Vicente has sent I know it was a Erythrina. I have a few more left yet and if You wish to have them, I send them to You. My brother also have little trees raised out of seeds. That Robinsonella is a beautyful shrub or small tree with a profusion of white sweet scented flowers. It is just in flower.

Mrs. Brandegee is right. I would make an excellent collection in South America and escape the revolution in Mexico, but I am afraid to spend the money, such a trip would cost lots of money. Please write me soon what You think about my trip to Tepic.

One of the Haciendas Ixtapa is about two hours ride from the Pacific. A joung man who is employed here and who was in Ixtapa says it was a most interesting region. I can go by way of San Blas or from Tepic with the diligencia one day and two nights. It is rather a hard journey.

Kindly send me two Plantae Mexicanae. I have given away those You sent me some time ago. In the book are published the plants from Parras, the Sierra de la Paila and ?Minas the San Rafael. The Sapatistas are still busy robbing Haciendas of the Spaniards the Jews of Mexico in Morelos and Puebla. It was a false alarms. Those 500 Zapatistas dit not swoop down on Huatusca. The[y] were seen though on the slopes of the Peak of Orizaba.

We had fine weather until today it is raining. It is the finest winter I ever saw in this country.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus

My kindest wishes to You and Mrs. Brandegee.


Locations: Berkeley.  

Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 4/10/1906

[1906 Apr 10: 59-60]

Zacuapan, Huatasco

10/4 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just received Your letter and Zoe. I was very glad to hear, that You have arrived in Berkeley, also for Herbarium. I expect You are having lots of work now. It was quite a surprise to learn, that the University has offered me the position of bot. collector, with out pay of course, but that does not make any difference. I feel very much honored and ask You to be so kind and express my kindest thanks to the Professors. I except the position of course with the greatest pleasure.

I am just working at my plants sorting and packing them. I get through this week and commence sending next monday. The sooner the plants get away from here the better, because the insects have infested them without doing any damage though, so far. It is a pile of things and I surely do not have one fourth of the flora yet. Nothing from the higher region at all, which may be more interesting than the lower country.

I just have commenced collecting ferns. I send some but they are not complete jet. Some are not ready to be sent.

I hope to see You here soon.

I have also received a letter from Mrs. Brandegee. I expect she has joined You by this time.

You have to put the plants into quarantine. It is something fierce with the insects in a tropical country. The vermin is after everything. Nothing is safe at all. Kindly send me an other Zoe yet for my brother.

Our friend Dr. Rose does not write any more. I do not know why. Maybe be is to busy.

I received a letter from Prof. Baker. He is back again to Santiago. He writes, that he found himself in midst of a rebellion. It is outrageous. Uncle Sam ought to put a stop to that nuicance, but he is to slow in acting.

I hope to see the stars and stripes floating over Habanna some day.

I wrote this to Prof. Baker to.

Dr. Britton must be back from Jamaica now, and ought to sent the money.

I write again when I have sent the plants.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Katharine Brandegee, 5/1/1906

[1906 May: 63-64]

Zacuapan, Huatasco Vera Cruz


Dear Mrs. Brandegee!

I was so glad to hear from Mr. Brandegee, that You escaped that frightful disaster in San Francisco. If You had left for this unhappy city You would be in the ruins now. You have been indeed very lucky.

I think I have written to Mr. Brandegee to tell You, that I found about 8-10 different Cacti in this region. I have found two Rhipsalis 2-3 diff. Phyllocactus, 3 Cerei like C. grandiflora, one climbing up rocks, the other spreading over rocks and the third on trees, of the last one I got flowers, which are yellowish white. I also found a Cereus climbing up rocks--2 winding around trees--just like a ribbon. It has a large white flower and blooms in day time I think. I preserved the flowers in Alcohol.

I also ?veciod the head of a Pilocereus which grows in the low country Tierra Caliente. This Piloce. I think is P. scoparius. An other one I found in a barranca, it may be Piloc. Honbeltii. Mr. Sartorius informs me that there grows a Cereus (Giant) in barrancas also in the low country, which I expect to find soon.

I have written to Mr. Brandegee, that I wrote a letter to Dr. Rose in which I asked hime to have me sent 200 dryers (about 4 weeks ago), but this Gentleman prefers not to answer my letter at all. A nice pillar of the March, isn't he? I have sent that man 2 baskets full of succulents paid the postage and dit not get a cent for them. This is the thanks now for my foolishness.

The same I have to say about Prof. Baker. I wrote him two letters, which he also prefers not to answer, neither does he send me the money for the seeds. It is outrageous. If I had offentendet[sic] these men is some way I would not be surprised, but I have not.

I expect You received the webbs of that butterfly I sent You from Amecameca. It is not a moth, but a butterfly. I could hardly believe it. Mr. Sartorius tells me, that there is a large moth, of which the caterpillar is feeding on Gaujava Psidium. It makes also a large webb or cocon, which gives a fine silk. The natives used this silk for robes years ago. This moth cannot be raised at all in the house.

As soon, as I get one I will send it to You.

Today I received an other bundle of Newspapers for which I say my best thanks.

I hope Mr. Brandegee is kind enough to find out the Address of that firm in Washington, which has the dryers for sale, so I will be able to order them myself.

I expect Mr. Brandegee told You, that I lost my trunk it was stolen in Mexico--by the fault of a friend. I had 200 or more dryers in the trunk. It is to bad.

Very sincerely Your friend

C. A. Purpus

My kindest regards to Mr. Brandegee and Miss Ora.


Locations: San Francisco.  

Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 5/16/1906

[1906 May 16: 65]

Zacuapan, Huatusco estado Vera Cruz

16/5 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have just received Your letter and was so glad to learn, that Mrs. Brandegee escaped that frightful disaster, which hardly has any equal in history. Enclosed please find a letter from an ?ear doctor from Chicago. I do not know, what the man wants from me, because I never wrote to him. What do [you] think about it?

I thought, that plant might be a new genus. Today I send a cigar box with cowns to Mrs. Brandegee. I took it with me to Zacuapan, because I dit not know, if Mrs. Brandegee was alive yet or not. It is simply awful! It is fearful and I was shocked to learn, that that beautyful building of the Academy of Sciences lies in ruins. What is Mrs. Brandegee going to do now? How is Your nephew ?Ab. Stockton, who if I am not mistaken was living in San Francisco. I hope he is well.

I am very much pleased with the country where I am now. It is beautyful. The flora highly interesting. There are diff. Cacti growing here to exspecially on rocks (Cerei) and trees Phyllocactus and Rhipsalis. I collected allready I great many plants, which are entirely new to me. I expect to get about 5-600 species or more.

Did You also have an earthquake? About 10-14 days, before that frightful disaster occurred I was on Popocatepetl to take photos and found teh volcano more active, than before (in November.) It must be a screw loose somewhere on our planet. I expect to get a great many new species from this region.

Did You hear from Prof. Baker? [end of page]


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 5/23/1906

[1906 May 23: 67-68]

Zacuapan, Huatausco 23/5 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just received Your letter. I was very glad, that Prof. Britton has ordered a full set. I try my very best to make good specimens. The flora in this region is grand and I have my hands full to get hold of everyhting. I wrote to Dr. Rose and asked him to have me sent 200 more of those excellent dryers, but he does not answer me at all. I don't know what to say about it. I also wrote two letters to Prof. Baker, but received no answer, neither does he send me the money for the seeds. That is surely not very nice of that man. I wrote to Prof. Britton today thanking him for the order and told him, that I received the money for the Cacti. I had written him sooner but Dr. Rose wrote me smomtime ago, that he was in the West Indies. Kindly tell Mrs. Brandegee, that I have found here in Barrancas two Cerei one I think is C. testudo the other I do not know. I also found a Pilocerus and got a head of one, which grows in the plains (Tierra caliente). Those two Cerei grow on rocks, I also found one on Oak tree. On trees I found diff. Rhipsalis one Cereus and two Phyllocactus. If Mrs. Brandegee like to have them I will send them in a basket.

Those Cocons are no good any more. When I opened the cigar box , which was ready to be sent to San Francisco I found the butterflies hatched. Mrs. Brandegee will be surprised to learn, it was not a moth but a real butterfly, which makes there webbs. The cocons are inside.

I need the dryers badly and if You know the firm in Washington, which has them for sale, kindly write it to me immiedately. I did not tell You, that my Trunk was stolen in Mexico, with about 200 dryers. It is to bad, but I expect to get it back--I gave the matter into the hands of the Consul or recompensation.

I reveived those two bundles of paper and thank You very much. That paper was a boon to me.

I have already about 50 dry specimens and commence sending when I have packing papers, which was stolen to with the trunk. It was the fault of a friend, that I lost the trunk.

I found here three diff. Cycadeae. One is Dion edule, the others Zamia or Macrozamia. They are beauties.

Prof. Britton had sent the money for the Cacti to Orizaba, but I had left there already and I never received it. It was in October last year.

I will not forget to mention if a plant is a shrub or a tree, because it is important for You to know.

I have two nice rooms in separate house and do my own cooking.

I never before saw so many ferns. There must be more than 300. The trees are covered with Bromeliac. and Orchids, also ferns, but not so many.

Hoping to hear soon from You again

I am very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus

Kindly write me about the dryers soon.


Carl A. Purpus to Katharine Brandegee, 7/31/1906

[1906 Jul 31: 69 (postcard)]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

31/7 1906

Dear Mrs Brandegee!

I sent You today a web of that silkworm I wrote You about. Please write me, if You received it allright. I think is is very interesting. Do You think, it can be used as Silk please write me about it. The natives used to spin the silk and wove it into zerapes, robes etc. I recieved today a very Kind letter--pf Prof. Baker. He is a Gentleman--! Dr. Rose has not answered yet.

Very sincerely Your friend

C. A. Purpus


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 8/3/1906

[1906 Aug 03: 72-73]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

3/9 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just received Your letter, I am staggered about the news. It puts it mildly, but I think it was the best You could do. It surely was to much work for You, much to much, and to set in the house all the times never. It is the best thing for You to travel once in a while. It keeps You joung. I would be delighted to see You come down, and I expect You under all circumstances. It is work enough yet for both of us in this region. You will be surprised. I have two large rooms in a house for myself. You can take one of the rooms and board with Mr. Sartorius if You like, if not, eat with me, but I think You may like it better to board with Mr. Sartorius. The board is excellent. The climate is excellent! No mosquitoes to speak of, never to warm in the shade. The water is also very good. The Hacienda is about 4000 f. altitude. If You come, we take in the Cerro de Perote and the whole Mountains range between this vulcano and th Peak of Orizaba. Nobody has been there yet. Mr. Sartorius is in the City to attend to Geological Congress there. I expect him back in about 8 days. I am going down into the Tierra caliente again soon to collect.

Please put the trunks to away with Your furniture. To send them down here, would cost to much. I hope they are no trouble to You. I do not send the Herbar now until You located. You ought to see the pile I have. I guess I do not have one fourth of the plants yet. Mr. Sartorius just wrote me, that he read in the paper Dr. Rose went to Tehuacan with a Prof. McDonald to collect Cacti. I expect he finds a dozen new ones?

Dr. Britton has not sent any money yet.

I receibed two bundles of paper today and two or three before. Many thanks. I need it badly. Prof. Baker has not paid for this seeds yet, but I expect will do so.

Dr. Britton may not be at home now.

Very sincerely Your

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Katharine Brandegee, 8/12/1906

[1906 Aug 12: 90-93] Zacuapan, Huatusco

Vera Cruz 12/8 1906

Dear Mrs. Brandegee!

I have been on a trip down to the Rio de Santa Maria in the Tierra Caliente and when I returned I found Your letter. First I have to tell You that I am exceedingly glad to learn, that You are well, this is a main thing. I think, if You keep You stomack in good order and take a trip once in a while You will not get sick. I have found a most wonderful flora down there, but as I went for Cacti I could take only very little back with me in the line of other plants. I go down again, amy be soon. I have found 2 Piloceri, about 6 diff. Cerei (Giant). I also found Cereus Testudo on rocks and trees and another Cereus on trees only, whic resembles Testudo and of which I collected the fruit, which I sent today as Sample with other Succulents--Dr. Rose shall not have it first--I also collected several Cerei belonging to the class of C. grandiflorus, which may be among them. One of them is C. Boerckmanni as I have bee told by an expert in Germany. All those Cacti with the exception of the Piloceri and Giant Cerei I sent as Samples toady, also different Echeveria, Sedum and Euphorbia etc. The larger Cacti I will send as Parcels with my Herbar plants soon. I asks Mr. Brandegee to excuse me for not sending them yet, but I had to make that trip first. Parcels can not be sent form here. I have to hire a man, who takes them to Huatusco to the Post-office.

As I did not hear from You for some time about identifying the Cacti I have made arrangements with Dr. Rose. I though You did not care to name them. I am very sorry about it, but if I can back out with grace, I will do so. Kindly tell me immiadetly. Of course, I must keep on good terms with Dr. Rose on account of my sets. He could damage me badly. What do You think about it?

It is raining, raining here now and I have lots of time to go through my plants and plack and send them of[f] by mail. I will make 10 sets of the plants. I think all can be sold. Mr. Brandegee is right. I will make them as complet as possible, but sometimes I can get only a few specimens of certain plants, which may grow on other places, where I have not been. I am very anxious to know, if one of the Cerei is C. grandiflorus. Kindly tell me what You think?

If Mr. Brandegee thinks it better to put the money into an other bank he may do so, if he pleases. I do not need any money for half a year I think, except a have to take a trip of several weeks.

I press all the Orchids I can find in flowers. Of course I can get only a few specimens, so of Stanhopea of others all I need. I take a flat iron to press them. Some I put into a solution of Salycilic Acid. I have collected also the flower--only one, as it is hard to get--of C. testudo and put it in Alcohol. This Cereus does not seem to bloome freely. I saw only one flower of it sofar. I sent You also the fruit of C. Boerckmanni? today as Sample. I dipped the fruit in Salycilic Acid, so it does not rot.

I will surely not forget to send You fruit of Arbutus xalapensis. I did not cellect any Cacti for DeLaet this season, because I think it does not pay me to run around for Cacti to collect them and have them sold on comission. I may discontinue my contract with him. That man Hochderffer and his woman are running around after them to and sell them almost for nothing. It is shameful!

Dr. Rose is in Mexico now, but I don't know where? He wrote me, that he was going.

I congratulate Your niece--I can't think of her name now--most cordially to the birth of the baby girl and send my love to Miss Ora.

Very sincerely Your friend

C. A. Purpus

N.b. I received the cataloge for which I thank You very much. I send it back again.

Prof. ?Masillo is living in Mexico now.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 8/17/1906

[1906 Aug 17: 70-71]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

17/8 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have to write You again a few lines. I am just working on my hay to get it off. I send it by mail from Huatusco, also a basket full of Succulents for Mrs. Brandegee.

I hope Mrs. Brandegee has received the Samples I have sent.

I am badly in distress, about loosing my botan. Pick. Is not to much trouble for You to have one made like Yours and send it to me as a Sample?

I may go down to the Rio de Santa Maria again as soon, as I have the smaller Camera, which my brother has sent me to take pictures for that Scienti work of those Professors I wrote You about. The flora down there is a most interesting one.

As it is far away from Civilization I think a good many new plants ought to be found there. I wrote Mrs. Brandegee already how many Cacti and other Succulents I found there.

I have collected a good many Orchids lately. Especially small things, which may be not in collections yet.

I press them with a flatiron, soaked before in Salicylic Acid, so they don't mould.

It is raining now dayly and more flowers come up Clitorias, Phaseolus, Rhus etc. I may get 800 species from this region. I do not collect common things of those Barrancas, as Aroidae etc. or shall I? Those plants are very hard to dry any how. I received several bundles of paper, for which I thank You very much.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 8/20/1906

[1906 Aug 20: 74-75]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

20/9 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have just received Your letter, the last one from San Diego I expect. I also received the botanic Pick a few days ago. I expect it is Mrs. Brandegeesand I have to thank her for sending it. I was very glad to get it. I think I have one made like the one sent.

I thank You for the names. I have not received the names of the alpine plants yet, but there is not hurry about that. I expect You have lost of work with Mr. Lemmons plants now to determine those.

Yes, Dr. Rose is in Tehuacan with a Prof. McDonald so says Mr. Sartorius who read it in the paper. He does not write any more. I don;t know why.

My borther likes to have a small set of the Ixtauihuatl plants. I will ask him today, if he can sell all of them and let You know.

I hope You are coming down. If You and Mrs. Brandegee are coming You can move in the house, which I have now and I take other quarters. I am still as busy as ever collecting. There is no end to it.

I expect a Professor G. ?Wittir from the Geolog. Congress about the 20th of next month. We both are going than from here up the Peak of Orizaba. I am about sure to find a very rich field there.

If You come down we take in the whole region between the two Peaks Coffre and Orizaba. It is to much one to explore.

Dr. Britton is in Jamaica. The Assistent Director wrote me so a few days ago. He will be back about the end of this month and I think will send the money for the plants. I am sorry, that I can't work for Your Herbarium any more.

We had quite an earthwuake last night. It lasted several minutes. I don't know, what is going to come yet. I would not be surprised, if the City gets a shake up some day.

I expect Mrs. Brandegee is going to stay in San Diego for a while yet. I hope to hear from her soon about the Cacti I sent.

Hoping to hear soon from You again about coming down

I am

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 10/15/1906

[1906 Oct 15: 76-77]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

15/X 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just got in to possession of Your two letters with check enclosed. I thank You very much. I was very glad to learn, that Prof. Britton has paid and hope Prof. Baker will do so soon also, since the States took a hand in troubled Cuba. I am rejoicing over the prompt action of the states in the Cuban muddle. It may be only a short time and anexation will follow. It is the only salvation for the island.

I was surprised to learn, that pick You have sent me is the one I had in Lower California. This instrument has quite a history indeed and ought to know lots about botany.

I have sent my plants, which have been ready about days ago by mail. It is the best and cheapest way, as it costs hardly one fourth as much as express does.

Lost more are coming yet. The sets are not complet as You will see. I hope to see You here next year, as You can't come down this season any more. I have written You lately, that I was very much surprised, that the University of California has conferred to me the title of botan. collector. I consider it a great honor to collect for such an institution.

It is a good thing, that You are able to raise all the succulents in the conservatory of the university. I am going to write to Dr. Rose, who does not answer my letter any more, that everything has to go the University now to be identified also Cactus. He may not like it at all, but I don't care. If You or Mrs. Brandegee wish to send him Succulents for determination You may do so.

I have received another bundle of paper lately for which I thank You very much. It comes very handy.

Lots of plants are coming into bloom again now and I think I will be able to collect about as much as I have sent.

It is no hurry about sending plants to Germany. My brother can wait until next winter.

I expect Mrs. brandegee has joined You now. I am anxious to see her safe in Berkeley, because I am affraid she might get sick working to hard in San Diego. Kindly tell Mrs. Brandegee that the silkworms have made their appearance. I expect she will be very much interested to hear the news.

I hope to be able to get cocons for her, if she wishes to have them of other caterpillars to.

I expect the German Geologist this month. As soon, as he is here, we are taking a trip down to the Rio de Santa Maria again and then in to the Mountains.

I think the rainy season is almost over now. We had a big rain lately. It is surely a fine climate, which we are having here.

I am going after the garden now. We have selcted already a nice and suitable peace of land of which we are having a abundance.

I hope to hear soon, that Mrs. Brandegee is with You in Berkeley.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 11/1/1906

[1906 Nov 1: 78-79]

Zacuapan, Huatusco XI/1 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have to write You a few lines again. With my trunk I losed Your list of the Ixtuihuatl plants, which I collected there 3 years ago, also my note book with notes about my last years collection, and now I need the names of certain alpien plants from there, asking You to be so kind and send them to me as soon as possible. I have to write about the flora of both Mountains for a scientific publication immiadetly and must have the names. I know a great many plants, but I know nothing about the different Cerastiums and Arenariae with exception of A. bryoides. If possible please send me scraps of Cerast. lithophyll and two ro three others, which are found in the highest region and the names of those.

Is not the Castilleia of the alpine region C. Tolucensis? I also like to know, the name of that Ranunculus, which grows in the alpine regions on wet ground. Is it R. Dorianus?

I also must have some names of the Grasses of the same Region.

Enclosed please find a leaf. It comes from a Senecio, whcih I collected on rocky slopes, rocks etc near Pachuca. It is a Succulent. Kindly tell me the name if possible. The plant must be in my collection.

Kindly tell Mrs. Brandegee, that I sent the Cerei Principales and an other one to my brother. He sent them to a specialist who has found two or tree new ones among them. Shall I send Cerei now again? I found more Principales yet on trees. I expect to go down to the Barranca de Santa Maria soon. That Geologist from Darmstadt is coming this week, who goes with me. I also may take a trip up the Peak of Orizaba with the same man. I am after Laelias now, of which I need 500 for a German firm. They are just in bloom. It is a perfect beauty. I wished You were here.

I hope You received the plants in good condition. More are coming yet.

Dr. Rose keeps quite[sic] yet. He must be mad about soemthing. He may go to the dickens. Church members and pillars of the church mostly have a bad character and are Hippocrite and deceitful to. I expect he is no expection.

I hope You and Mrs. Brandegee are well. I have not heard from Mrs. Brandegee for several months. Hoping to hear from You soon

I am

very sincerly Yours

C. A. Purpus.

I also must have the names of that shrubby Senecio from the high region of Popocatepetl.

Do You know the name of that Pinus, which is found in the high region of Ixtauihuatl and Popocatepetl? It grows from 11-12000 feet to timberline and is the only one found there.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 11/4/1906

[1906 Nov 04: 80-81]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

4/XI 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have to write You again, because I forgot the leafs, which I enclos now. I also like to have the name of that rosaceous shrub, which is so very plentyful on Ixtauihuatl. It is among the plants from there. That shrub has a small burr some like burdock. I don't know the number any more, because I lost the list, as I wrote You allready. It has pinnate leafs.

I have just received a letter from Dr. Rose. He says he was very much rushed with work. So he is not mad, as I thought he was. It is a good policy to keep on good terms with him on account of selling my plants. Dr. Rose writes, that he has found a new genus of a Leguminous shrub near Tehuacan asking me if I collected it. He also sends pod and a leafs. I can't remember, that I found that shrub, if so it is among plants from that region. I enclose leaf and pod this letter.

I am affraid I did not get it. I hope You and Mrs. Brandegee are well.

Kindly tell my also, if I can send Dr. Rose Succulents especially Echeveria, Sedums etc. for identification or not!

I hope my plants have reached You in good condition, more are coming soon.

We had a big storm yesterday and the high Mountains ae covered with snow. I expect it was cyclone somewhere again.

Lots of flowers are coming up now, especially Compositae. I am just as busy as ever collecting.

Very sincerely Yous

C. A. Purpus.

N.b. Can You give me also the names of the different oak I collected on Ixtauihuatl?


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 11/6/1906

[1906 Nov 06: 82-83]

Zacuapan, Huatusco

XI/6 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I have just received Your letter. I was very glad to hear, that the plants wich I send, reached You in good condition and that the collection is an interesting one. More are coming soon.

I have been out collecting yesterday towards Huatusco, which place is near the Sierra (Peak of Orizava) and made a fine collection. I get a good many plants, which are not found about hear. I had a man with me, who carried the basket, which was full to overflowing.

I was very glad to learn, that Mrs. Brandegee is with You now in Berkeley. I hope she is well.

The same time with Your letter there came one from Prof. Baker Cuba. He offered me the position once more and all I had to do is to except it, but I do not. First, because the University has honored me with the title of botan. collector and scond, because I don't like to go to Cuba any way. I expect You and Mrs. Brandegee are of the same opinion.

I hope very much to receive the names of those plants I asked You for soon.

I must commence writing about the vegetation of th two Mountais Popocatepetl and Ixtauihuatl for that scientific work, for which I also took Photos, as I wrote You already.

We are having lots of rain, which is a nuisance, because I can't collect. Yesterday I a got a good soaking, and more will follow.

I received Zoe also today and thank You very much.

The Laelias are in bloom now. It is a beauty. Some trees are just covered. I had several hundert collected for a firm in Germany.

Very sincerly Yours

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 11/10/1906

[1906 Nov 10: 84-85]

Zacuapan, Huatusco Vera Cruz

10/XI 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee!

Enclosed please find the letter of Prof. Baker. I wrote him today and told him, that I would ask You. I think it wuld not be a good policy to accept the position, which he has offered me in that letter, after the University of California has conferred on me the title of botan. collector, and any way I am not anxious to accept, because I do not like to go to Cuba.

I am having quite a pike of plants again to send. I hope YOu have found the plant I sent You allright. Of course they don't dry so nice in this moist climate as they would in a dry one. That is natural.

I am very anxious to get the names of the plants I asked You for because I have to commence writing about the vegetation of the two Mountains.

A good many Compositae are in bloom at present, also Cassiae. I hope to get a good many new things.

I have not been in the Mountains yet, because that German Scientist has not made his appearance yet, who wishes to take part.

I hope You and Mrs. Brandegee are in good health.

As the climate at Berkeley is a cooler one, Mrs. Brandegee will not have complain so much of bad health, as in San Diego.

Hoping to hear soon from You

I am

very sincerely Yours, C. A. Purpus.


Locations: Potter Valley. San Francisco.  

Carl A. Purpus to Katharine Brandegee, 12/3/1906

[1906 Dec 03: 86-87]

Zacuapan 3/XII 1906

Dear Mrs. Brandegee!

I am very sorry to learn, that You are not quite well. It is realy to bad, that You have to work in such a bare and cold building. You have to be very careful. Can't You build a fire? I think the winter climate about San Francisco is not agreable at all. It is about the same, as the one in Potter Valley and that one is surely very bad. Rain, rain nothing but rain and fog to. In San Diego the winter climate is surely much better, because You have more sun. I think You are right about the position in Cuba. I would not like the climate at all there. If it would be to warm hear once could go higher up into the Mountains where there is snow and ice. The Peak of Orizaba is not far from here, while Cerro de Perote is nearer yet. The last one is about 14000 feet high. The Hacienda "Mirador" where I am living is about 4000 feet. In Santiago of course, such a thing is impossible. I expect there are no Mountains in the vicinity.

I hope You found my plants all right I mean in good condition. I got them very fine lately, because it is drier. The summer is a bad time to get plants dry here, because it rains so much and the air is so full of moisture.

I expect You are missing Your oranges. We are having such an abundance of Mandarins here, that one could gather a carload, also other Oranges. I never saw so many Pineapples in my life. The Bananas are fed with the milk cows. It is a pity, but the[y] could not be sold at all. The oranges the same, because they are only 50 centavos a hundert. It does not pay to pick thm.

The[y] are gathering Coffee now and have picked already 1300 pound or more.

I have a nice chance to get to the West coast now and collect there. It is in the State of Guerero south of Acapulco. Kindly ask Mr. Brandegee what he thinks of such a trip and if he knows about Mr. Pringle being around there. I know, that Dr. Palmer has been in Acapulco.

I wished the University would send me into the Cordilleras some day I mean pay my traveling expenses on such a trip, but I think they have not founds enough.

I got a letter from Prof. Baker today. he seems to be a little dissappointed. I am going to write him, that You and Mr. Brandegee think it not advisable for me to go to Cuba.

I hope my letter will reach You in better health.

Hoping to hear from You soon again

I am

very sincerely Your friend

C. A. Purpus.


Locations: Berkeley.  

Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 12/3/1906

[1906 Dec 03: 88-89]

Zacuapan, Huatusco 3/XII


Dear Mr. Brandegee!

I just received Your and Mrs. Brandegees letters this morning. I think I will not accept that position in Cuba. I might not like it at all especially as the climate is not agreable at all. The Salary is in Gold. It would be 2400 in silver. I thought Prof. Baker was a scientific man. I am surprised to learn, that he is not so thoroughly. He is a joung man to I expect: Does he not come from California?

I was very glad to learn, that You found my Compositae so interesting.

Mr. Lemmon was in Guerero if I am not mistaken.

?Tenampa is a small village not far from here, across a deep barranca and ?Fortin is an old indian, aztec or Toltec fortress in ruins. That Fortress is on Mr. Sartorius ground. Mr. S. has about 14-15000 acres of land.

The german Scientist, Geologist is here since yesterday. We may go up Cerra de Perrote this week yet if the weather is nice. We had lots of rain lately and we may get more showers yet. It is quite a country for rain in the right season, but as a rule the Climate is wonderful. A pity that You and Mrs. Brandegee could not come down.

Mrs. Brandegee would not have caught cold at all here.

It must be very chilly in Berkeley now.

I have lots of plants about ready to send again. A great many among them, which You did not get yet.

Kindly send me a scrap of Ranunculus sibbaldioides. I have a Photo of a Ranunculus, which I think may be that one. It comes with that scientific work of which I wrote You. I expect to find lots of good things in the Mountains.

I have also received Your forgoing letter. I though I had not collected that Conzallia of Dr. Rose. May be it was not in bloom while I was collecting in Tehuacan. I expect the oaks are very hard to identify.

That succulent Composite Senecio or Micania is very hard to dry, therefore I think it was not among my plants from Pachuca.

Dr. Rose saw the plant and knows the name of it. I wrote to him about it some time ago. I also wrote him lately, that he could have all the Succulents for identification. I think he will be satisfied.

I received a letter from Prof. Trelease lately. He wrote me that he would take a set again, also continually. He would write You about. I hope all the others will do so to.

I am about sure, that Dr. Britton will take one to, but if Dr. Rose will is doubtful.

I wonder where Miss Eastwood is now since the Academy of Sciences is no more, which is a great pity.

I write You again, when I return from my Mountain trip.

Very sincerely Yous

C. A. Purpus.


Carl A. Purpus to Townsend Brandegee, 12/27/1906

[1906 Dec 27: 94-95]

Zacuapan 27/XII 1906

Dear Mr. Brandegee

I am in possession of Your letter with list. I will send You fruit of that Belotia with the plants. There is an other species growing in the lower country, which has larger flower and fruit. It is a small tree.

I was on the hot sulphur springs in a barranca half a days ride from here. I have made a very interesting collection. After New year I am going down again and stay for aabout 8 days. I also have to make a trip down to the rio de Santa Maria to get Cereus grandiflor, of which I need 100 lb. After that I climb Cerro de Perote.

I am going to the west coast in in February. I can't get away sooner, because I have to pack and send away 500 Laelias about that time.

I received an other letter from Prof. Baker in which he asks me again to accept that position, but I wrote him before, that You and Mrs. Brandegee did not think it advisable.

The Salary is very small, although he promised in his last letter he would have it raised occasionally, and on other thing is the Climate which is not best in Cuba.

I also like to be independent.

He thinks the states will have a protectorate over the island soon. I think Uncle Sam oght to have gobeled Cuba up long ago to put an end to those spanish intrigues.

Can You tell me what Trichopilia tortilis is? A German firm ordered 50 of that plant, but I do not know it at all.

I have found a Mamillaria in abundance down there. It has a small carmin red flower. I also found lots of Cerei (Principales) one I think is C. grandiflor. or a form of it.

Mr. Sartorius thinks, that Galleoti got a good many things years ago in this region. He remembers him. They have been here 1830-1832.

I have about as many plants to send, as I sent already. I expect there is some nice things among them.

I hope You are well, also Mrs. Brandegee.

Very sincerely Yours

C. A. Purpus.

N.b. I will send also pods of that Inga. I have dry ones.

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Date and time this article was prepared: 6/7/2002 7:33:41 PM