Correspondence of Charles Peck and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
October 13, 2005
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The Correspondence of

Charles Peck (1833-1917) and

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)


Edited by P. M. Eckel, P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; email:



Charles Peck




It was thought prudent for a variety of reasons to electronically publish my transcription of and notes to the following letters by Charles Peck of Albany, New York to George W. Clinton of Buffalo, New York. These letters constitute most of those Mr. Clinton retained of his correspondence with Peck during the years between and including 1865 and 1877. During the period of Clinton's correspondence, Clinton was developing a herbarium for the citizens of the City of Buffalo as well as for those of the State of New York. The herbarium collection in Buffalo was to become the Clinton Herbarium of the Buffalo Museum of Science (BUF). As of this time, the botanical specimens referred to in these letters still reside in the cabinets at this institution.


The following is only an introduction to the large number of letters that have been transcribed by myself, and represent the phase of Peck's career that was devoted to the study of bryophytes. Peck made a switch into mycology after the discovery that there were too many bryologists in the field actively publishing and with years of experience behind them both in the United States, but particularly in Europe, where the main taxonomic tradition in bryophytes, as in vascular plants, was long established.


Peck would later turn away from bryology and become one of the most prominent mycologists in the United States. When Peck did decide that he preferred to study the fungi, Clinton would also provide Peck with specimens of fungi from western New York State. David Day would publish, in the Plants of Buffalo and Vicinity (Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Vol. 4, April, 1882, pp. 65-279) the fruits of this collaboration: "Grateful acknowledgments are made to Mr. Charles H. Peck, of Albany, N.Y., the State Botanist, for his kindness in supervising and correcting our lists of Musci, Hepaticae and Fungi: - originally prepared by Judge Clinton, by whom all the species were detected, except as otherwise stated." (Day pp. 74-75).]


I have included certain of the notes I have made while transcribing this collection and await more leisure to complete my annotations of the letters. However, I see no reason to withhold the content of these letters from the public at this time.


I thank the following sequence of research librarians of the Buffalo Museum of Science during the decade the correspondence was transcribed: Lisa Seivert, who, with her volunteers, constructed the excellent original digital index and catalogue to these letters, her successors Rachael Brew, David Hemmingway, and Kathy Leacock, the present research librarian.


P. M. Eckel, St. Louis



The Letters


1865, part one


1865, part two


1865, part three


1866, part one


1866, part two




1868, part one


1868, part two




1870 part one


1870 part two




1872 part one


1872 part two













The image of Charles Peck displayed above is from the original photograph album of George W. Clinton archived in the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science. It is a carte de visite or visiting card format photograph, made popular during the Civil War era and must be contemporary, approximately, with his letters.


The proper citation of this electronic publication is:


"Eckel, P. M. 2005-2011. Correspondence of Charles Peck and G. W. Clinton. Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden Web site. [and lastly cite the date you actually read the publication]."