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1857
Shaw begins to build up the Garden’s library and herbarium.


Administration Building interior. Herbarium showing steel cases.

Henry Shaw’s advisors helped him make the Missouri Botanical Garden a first-rate scientific institution. In a letter dated August 10, 1857, Sir William Jackson Hooker, the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew advised Shaw of the importance of having a library and museum attached to the Garden. Shaw quickly took the advice to heart. He empowered Dr. George Engelmann to purchase for him in Europe many books that would become the heart of the Garden’s research collections. Engelmann was also able to purchase the herbarium of the recently deceased German botanist Johann Jakob Bernhardi. He bought the 60,000 specimen herbarium for $600. A herbarium is a collection of various species of plants, collected and dried for reference. Today the Missouri Botanical Garden herbarium contains over five million specimens, and the library contains over 120,000 bound volumes.

 

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