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Economic Botany Archives

Personal Papers:

Schultes, Richard Evans (1915-2001) Papers and Artifacts

Wasson, R. Gordon (1898-1986) Papers and Artifacts


Economic Botany Artifacts, Prints and Posters

Series I: Amber and Amberoid

Our collection consists of roughly 295 pieces of amber and amberoid (amberoid, or "pressed amber," is produced by fusing together small pieces of amber under pressure). These range in color from all shades of yellow with nuances of orange and brown, to milky-white opaque varieties called bone amber. Turkish, Romanian, Burmese, Mexican, and many examples of Baltic amber are represented.
The pieces are in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are many raw pieces as well as ornamental carved objects such as figurines, beads, dishes, cigarette holders, and pipe mouthpieces. There are also three that contain fossil insects, or inclusions.

Series II: Ivory & Silver

Our collection consists of ivory carvings a banana, a walnut, two branches of persimmons, and a single persimmon, as well as 3 netsuke, in the shape of small figures. This series also includes sterling silver jewelry that was fashioned by Mary Walker of Bloomington, Illinois in the 1960s. This also contains two snuff bottles, a Massachusetts Horticultural Society Medal, a small statuette, and miscellaneous charms and small pieces of jewelry.

Series III: Potato Prints

Our collection consists of watercolors of potato plants and tubers that were grown in Cuzco, Peru. There are 69 watercolors sized approx. 15 x 21 and 13 watercolors sized approx. 15 x 6. It is believed that the watercolors were done around 1890 -1900. The collection also contains correspondence regarding the loan of the collection to the National Agriculture Library for an exhibit titled Seeds of Change in 1991.

Series IV: German Botany Teaching Posters

Our collection consists of 69 prints, 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches. The illustrations are color images on a black background. These plates were published in a book titled Auslðandische Kulturpflanzen in farbigen Wandtafeln mit erlðauterndem. The text was written by Hermann Zippel and the images by Karl Bollmann. The work was compiled by Otto Wilhelm Thome. This work was published in Braunschweig by F. Vieweg und Sohn in 1899.

Series V: Maps, Posters, Prints, and Photographs

Our collection consists of 264 maps, posters, prints, and photographs dealing with economic botany issues including: marijuana, cereal, bread, tea, cotton, the history of pharmaceuticals and a collection of Po Korny Botanical Charts.

Series VI: Lacquer

This collection consists of 44 pieces of lacquer in various formats. Raw lacquer is the sap of the Rhus verniciflua tree. This sap was been used to coat objects initially for preservation and later for decoration. The lacquer process is complex. Each layer of lacquer is applied and then cured in a humidor to achieve hardening. The layer is then polished before the process can be repeated with the next layer. Artifacts in this collection include boxes, snuff bottles, trays, and many other forms, including a lacquer dagger.

Provenance: These items were transferred to the Botany Libraries from the Nash Lecture Hall, Botanical Museum, Harvard University from 2001-2003.

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Copyright 2002 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College