Fragments From the Botanical Frontier:
Cultural History from Archives

The North American botanical frontier did not always coincide with Frederick Jackson Turner's famous, westward-moving North-South line, which he generalized from the pattern of settlement. Botanical exploration generally followed lines of transportation and of military campaign; it sometimes lagged behind Turner's frontier, and it sometimes shot ahead, leaving unexplored pockets. Some of these geographical areas were finally closed as botanical "frontiers" only in the twentieth century, long after Turner's line reached the Pacific in 1890. This exhibit explores three of those pockets described in the twentieth century and the frontier spirit that drives botanical exploration.

These vignettes also show the importance of archives for retrieving botanical history. Original documents have the power to shed new light on the relationships between botany and culture. Themes that run through the exhibit include the relationships between individuals and institutions, the impacts of transportation and technology on botany, and the connections between botanical projects and economics.

We hope that these glimpses will prompt current botanists to think about arranging for preservation of their own photographs, correspondence, field notes, and manuscripts - their own pieces of botanical history.

Click any of the three images on the right to follow their stories.

"Future of Archives"

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This exhibit was created for the XVI International Botanical Congress in August 1999 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was displayed at the Missouri Botanical Garden between July and September of 1999 in the Monsanto Research Center.

© 2000 Missouri Botanical Garden and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. All rights reserved.

Curated by:
Angela Todd, Archivist, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Douglas Holland, Archvist, Missouri Botanical Garden.

Exhibit Design:

Lugene Bruno, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Photography/Digital Reproduction:

Frank Reynolds, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Web Page Design:

Douglas Holland, Missouri Botanical Garden.

Douglas Holland
Missouri Botanical Garden Archives