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Edward Palmer

Edward Palmer

Edward Palmer was born in England on Jan. 12, 1831, and emigrated to the United States at the age of eighteen. He developed an interest in natural history collecting under the tutelage of Dr. Jared Kirtland and got his first major opportunity to collect when he was appointed to Captain Page's Water Witch expedition to Paraguay as hospital steward and botanical collector in 1853. After the Paraguay expedition he went to England to visit his mother, got married on March 29, 1856, and came back to the U.S. He studied medicine for a few months in Cleveland; then he lived in Kansas, Colorado, and for a few months, California, where he worked on the Geological Survey of California, collecting marine invertebrates.

During the Civil War, he did medical work in army outposts in the southwest for a while after the war. He managed to make natural history collections while working for the army. The rest of his life was mostly taken up with making archaeological, zoological and botanical collections for a variety of patrons, primarily in the south western U.S. and Mexico. He is best known for his botanical collections, which are said to number over 100,00 specimens. He made numerous botanical collecting trips to Mexico from 1878 to 1910. Rogers McVaugh describes Palmer's botanical specimens as "exceptionally well documented for his time," a trait which was obscured by the fact that his field notes were not distributed with his plants.


Click on the following links to get more information about our holings of Edward Palmer materials.

Collection Note, Provenence, and Scope & Content Notes.

Container List

Other Palmer materials in our collections

Scanned Edward Palmer Materials (From the Harvard University Open Collections Program Expeditions and Discoveries Site)

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Last updated September 2011
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