Correspondence of Charles Peck and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden

February 22, 2011
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The Correspondence of

Charles Peck (1833-1917) and

George William Clinton (1807-1885)





Vol. 4 (24) [G 201]


Albany, Feb. 4th, 1867


My Dear Sir,


The Regents Cab. Rept. is printed, as you doubtless already know, ‑ at least all of it that is to be issued at present. I have already mailed a copy to each botanist who so kindly aided me in making up the List of N.Y. Mosses ‑ except to yourself who of course have copies from a more direct source. I state this so that we need not both send to the same person. I will also send one to Rev. J. Fowler and to Prof. Pearson of Union College. Please hint to me if there are others to whom you would like to have me send it, or to whom I should sent it. Yours very truly,


Chas. H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Recd Feb. 15



Vol. 4 (27) [G 198]


Albany, N.Y., Feb. 6th, [18]/67


My Dear Sir;


Prof. Hall is desirous that I should take hold of the Herbarium. He wishes me to do what you had in mind to have me do when you proposed the matter to me some time ago. He says he himself will be responsible for my pay to the extent of $200, i.e. if I will put the Herbarium in "shape" and the authorities will not pay me, he will. What I would like is a little more definite idea as to what you would wish to have done. My supposition is that the "Beck collection" is to be overhauled, specms. remounted when necessary, nomenclature revised and specms arranged in the Cabinet or case prepared for them. There are also some packages of plants contributed by various persons; from which specms are to be selected, mounted, and incorporated in the State Coll. proper, if this has not already been done by yourself; the others to be put away for exchange. I suppose, however, that no plants are to be put in the State Col. proper except such as have been collected within the limits of the state; also that the Beck Coll. is to be kept distinct and entire by itself. But of this coll. there appears to be a double sett [sic] of mosses; one composed of specms on herbarium sheets placed between large covers (as are the other plants) another on small sheets placed in small covers (about octavo size). Is there any reason for keeping these distinct from the others.


If I have any misapprehensions of the things to be done please correct me and add as many cautions, suggestions, and directions as you deem advisable. My desire is to put the state herbarium in an improved condition and besides to add to it as many of the species of native mosses as possible.


Yours very truly


Chas. H. Peck Judge G. W. Clinton


Recd & ansd Feb. 9



Vol. 4 (31) [G 194]


Albany, Feb. 12th, 1867


My Dear Sir;


In accordance with your views I shall abide the action of the Legislature ‑ at least I shall do nothing with the State herbarium without your sanction. Prof. Hall does not seem to have much faith in the Legislature's making a special appropriation yet I had rather do nothing than to do wrong.


Very truly yours


Chas. H. Peck Judge G. W. Clinton


Recd. Feb. 13



Vol. 4 (86) [G 136]


Albany, Mar. 20th, 1867


My Dear Sir;


I have to‑day had a perfectly satisfactory interview with Prof. Hall. He is quite willing that I should retain my present employment and devote what time I can to the State Botany. I told him that I considered $500 (the lowest sum suggested by you) a sufficient recompense, but that if they saw fit to pay me more I should spend more in collecting. But the sum mentioned, I think under the circumstances, is enough to begin with. It will enable me to make a good round trip to the Adirondacks during my summer vacation ‑ a thing I have long desired to do. Already I almost imagine myself gathering scores of fine things in that wild region.


In case the Legislature shall make the appropriation will it be necessary to await any farther action on the part of the Regents?


Yours very truly


Chas. H. Peck


Recd. March 23




Vol.4 no. 94 [G 128]


Albany, Mar. 27th, 1867


My Dear Sir;


I regard the mosses you send as follows;


1 Physcomitrium pyriforme


2 A doubtful Bryum ‑ possibly B. annotinum as I thought I observed the little axillary bulbs, mentioned in the Manual. Did I ever send you good Bryum annotinum? Will do so now.


3 Aphanorrhegma serrata. (without fruit)


4 Another doubtful Bryum ‑ apparently B. caespiticium.


5 Bryum pyriforme and Hypnum serpens, (mixed)


6 Funaria hygrometrica


7 Fissidens bryoides. (Fine specimens)


Dr. Howe is certainly an active energetic worker. He took the Astomum sullivantii almost from under my eyes, having found it just back of the University at Troy. He also has Orth. anomalum from the same locality. Besides he has found what Mr. Lesqx. says is Clasmatodon parvulus (in the young state) heretofore considered a southern moss.


Very truly yours


Chas. H. Peck


G. W. Clinton, Esq.


Recd March 29



Vol. 4 (114) [G 106]


Albany, Apr. 7th, [18]/67


My Dear Sir;


Your naming does not sustain your self‑distrust, for your labels of the specms sent are all correct viz.


1 is Funaria hygrometrica (pedicels &c. just shooting up)


2 Barbula unguiculata


3 "(Tree)" Orthotrichum anomalum


4 "(rock)" Orthotrichum anomalum


5 "(Tree)" Orthotrichum strangulatum


Much of the fruit of the Barbula appears to have been destroyed. I have often found fine tufts of moss, for instance, Bryum nutans, with the fruit nearly all nipped from the pedicel. It would be interesting to know the author of the mischief. I suspect some insects, but possibly it is some small animal.


I recently had the good fortune to get a specm.  of the rare Allosorus achrostichoides, from Mr. H. Gillman of Detroit. He expects to visit Lake Superior the present season. It is needless to say that I have begged for specms of such mosses as he may get.


It cannot now be long before we shall now [sic] what the Legislature will do for the advancement of science.


Very truly yours


Chas. H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Recd. Ap. 7  



Vol. 4 (121) [G 99]


Albany, 8th, [18]/67


My Dear Sir;


The little moss "spindling up from flower pots in conservatories" is Bryum pyriforme. It is in flower. The species fruits in May or early June. Your conservatories appear to be quite mossy.


Very truly yours


Chas. H. Peck Judge G. W. Clinton


Recd. Ap. 10



Vol. 4 (127) [G 93]


Albany, Apr. 10th, 1867


My Dear Sir;


The mosses of Apr. 6th are "No. 1 stubble fields", Barbula unguiculata; "No 2 gravelled walk", Dicranum varium. This last is showing that he is not very particular about his place of growth. I have found him on clay banks, wet gravelly banks and in wet sandy places beyond West Albany.


Spring has at length come and I shall at once commence the summer's campaign.


Very truly yours,


Chas. H. Peck Judge G. W. Clinton





Vol. 5 (1) [B231]


Albany, Oct. 22d 1867


My Dear Sir,


The memoranda are received. Thanks for them.


In looking over the Manual (New Ed.) I find several species credited to New York, not before reported. These I suppose we ought to quote. Among them is Dysodia chrysanthemoides on your authority, but I do not see it in your notes to me. Did you wish it omitted or was it overlooked?


I am a little perplexed because I do not find Solidago thyrsoidea, in Dr. Torrey's Report nor in yours. I found it much more abundant on Mount Marcy and Whiteface than S. virga‑aurea and yet the latter is noted and represented in the State Herbarium but the former is not. Can it be that S. thyrsoidea has become plenty since the explorations on which Dr. Torrey's report of S. virga‑aurea was founded?


I have a Scirpus from the Pine plains which I hope may be a good thing. It comes near S. sylvaticus as characterised in the New Edition but the bristles have a short naked space at the base, 1/5 ‑ 1/6 their length. Have sent it to Prof. Gray.


Will write to Dr. Engelmann immediately and send him the Naias.


Yours very truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Received Oct. 24 1867


[Note: Dysodia Sprengel as opposed to the genus Dyssodia Cavanilles. In Gray’s Fifth Edition of his Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, copyright 1867, Asa Gray noted the Dysodia Cav. [sic] chrysanthemoides Lag. “Roadsides, and banks of rivers, from Illinois southward: a common weed; now migrating eastward, established at Buffalo, N.Y., G. W. Clinton. Aug. - Oct.” p. 262. ]


Vol. 5 (4) [B228]


Albany, Oct. 28th 1867


My Dear Sir,


I have looked at the mosses sent and would label thus:


Suspension Bridge May


x1 A conferva [alga] unknown to me


x2 Hypnum curvifolium


x3 Hypnum serpens (the fruiting one) also a little of some doubtful Hypnum perhaps laetum or rutabulum and a stem or two of Mnium


x4 Mnium cuspidatum


x5 Hypnum aduncum


x6 Bryum bimum


Portage April


1a Bryum caespiticium


b Weisia viridula


2 Schistidium apocarpum


x3 Mastigobryum trilobatum


x4 Polytrichum juniperinum (masculine flowers)


x5 Ceratodon purpureus and Bryum argenteum? (2 plants)


x6 Ptilidium ciliare and small Dicranum flagellare


x7 Atrichum angustatum and Dicranum heteromallum


 Caledonia Oct.


x1 Hypnum cuspidatum


x2 Hypnum filicinum


x3 Bryum wahlenbergii (sterile)


x4 Hypnum noterophilum


x5 The beautiful but to me unknown conferva. Shall keep these things with the hope that at some time they may be known by their proper names. I have a more robust, black one from rocks top of Mt. Marcy, have also seen a brown one on old logs and stumps, in woods.


 x6 This I suppose to be a form of Bryum bimum and would so consider it unless the inflorescence or fruit shall hereafter show it to be something else.


x7 Hypnum filicinum


x8 Hypnum filicinum & Bryum bimum


x9 Hypnum revolvens. You appear to be the only one who finds this species in the State. I wish that sometime when at Bergen Swamp or Caledonia you would get several specimens for me.


x10 Chiloscyphus polyanthos. So called by Mr. Austin, but I never could find amphigastria nor inflorescence though the plant is not rare.


x11 Bryum cyclophyllum


x12 Hypnum noterophilum


x13 Chiloscyphus polyanthos


x14 Hypnum adnatum


x15 Hypnum aduncum (Batavia)


x16 Anomodon attenuatus


x17 Hypnum noterophilum


x18 Hypnum giganteum.


It does me good to see my old friends from Caledonia Bryum cyclophyllum, Hypnum noterophilum giganteum, etc. It shows that they still live and thrive.


A letter from Mr. Lesqx. dated at Cambridge announces that he will return home about Nov. 1st and will then look at the mosses I sent him.


I have Scirpus sylvaticus from Pine barrens and Carex houghtonii from Lake Placid; both I believe new to the state.


Yours very truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Received  Dec. 20



Vol. 5 (8) [B224]


Albany, Nov. 7th 1867


My Dear Sir,


The mosses from Lockport, Nov. 4, are


1 Campylopus viridis


2 Leucodon julaceus


Pylaisaea intricata


I have not yet heard from Mr. Lesqx. concerning the mosses sent him some time ago, he being absent from home. Fearing to wait too long I have handed in my list as it is, leaving the doubtful things for the future.


Mr. Denslow has sent us Cheilanthes vestita, from N. Y. Island


Yours very truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Glad you mentioned Solidago puberula from Luzerne. Received Nov. 8 & wrote him



Vol. 5 (14) [B217]


Albany, Nov. 12th 1867


My Dear Sir,


I have handed in the list of new species etc. and do not know how Mr. Hankersons observations or rather discoveries, and the Alyssum calycinum can be inserted unless we annex them as "addenda". Had I better do that or let them go over to the next Report?


I inclose a few more seeds of Atriplex rosea. The plants are now all withered and dead. The seeds drop from the plant in their envelope.


I have just heard from Dr. Engelmann to whom I sent specimens of the Naias, in accordance with your suggestion. He says of it "It does not agree with my European specimens of Najas minor, in fruit nor in the teeth of the leaves nor in the shape of the triangular appendages, but I have no means to compare it with other specimens and have therefore sent it to Prof. Braun of Berlin, who has particularly studied that genus. I consider it distinct from any other species that I can find described."


This, with Prof. Gray's remark that he had no specimens with which to compare it and therefore depended on the description above, would indicate that the plant may not yet be quite satisfactorily determined.


Dr. Engelmann also states that we have two species of Wolffia in the state; W. Columbiana being the one found by Mr. Austin in Orange Co: the other, found by Mr. Paine being W. Braziliensis. This last one has also been found since in Michigan and Illinois. He kindly sends specimens of both species. Thus your suggestion has borne fruit very speedily, for I deem this information important.


Yours very truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Received & answered Nov. 14



Vol. 5 (18) [B213]


Albany, Nov. 29th 1867


My Dear Sir,


Mr. Lesqx makes Schistidium agassizii for you from Luzerne ‑ a species new to the state. Inclosed is a specimen.


Of the doubtful thing from Saratoga ‑ on trees, he says, "I have received it many times and found myself on rocks and trees but I do not yet know what to do with it. It resembles by its areolation Clasmatodon pusillus var. rupestris, of which European authors make a new Leskea, but it is not exactly the species and I can not make any diagnosis without fruit."


There was but a very little of this in your Pylaisaea and Orthotrichum from Saratoga. Mr. Austin has sent me a little of it also sterile from "Limestone rocks." I have from Mount Marcy Myurella julacea, new to the U.S.; and from base of Mt. Whiteface, Bryum pallens, only found before in this country, by Mr. James, at the base of the White Mountains. Also from N. Elba what Mr. L. calls Orthotrichum obtusifolium var. papillosum, Lesqx.


Yours very truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Received Nov. 30



Vol. 5 (34) [B197]


Albany, Dec. 19th 1867


My Dear Sir,


You have Hypnum scitum from Luzerne. I have it also from the Adirondacks. Mr. Lesqx. so decides notwithstanding the curved capsules, and indeed they are figured in Icones a little inclined and curved.


I have been anxiously expecting you here, wishing much to talk with you a little about the future. My employer, Mr. Cass has sold out his school and will close Feb. 1st. This will throw me out of employment, and being too poor to live without work, I must seek something more to do. Teaching is beginning to induce in me a bronchial affection which makes it desirable for me to leave it, at least for a time. My whole heart and delight is in the work you have given me to do.


I only wish it might be possible for the Regents to allow me to devote my whole time to it, at a moderate salary, for a limited period if they like or until the State Coll. shall be satisfactorily completed. I can see enough to be done to occupy me at least three or four years. The phaenogams are far from being completed, as I myself during the past season found five or six new to the state; seeds of a large majority ought to be collected; woods represented; and of the Fungi alone there are at least as many species as there are of flowering plants and probably more. If desired and time were given I could make as fine a collection of insects as any body else. A lecture or two on botany to be delivered before Academies or teachers institutes would not in my view be an unimportant nor uninteresting thing. $1500 besides incidentals would be the utmost that I would ask for a year's salary, and if this be thought too much I would work for 1200 rather than not do it. I wish you might consider this matter a little before the annual meeting of the Regents, and if you look upon it favorably, I am quite confident they will. It may not be advisable to make any change before my first year until the present bargain has expired, but in that event I would try to get along some way until the 1st July. Nothing but my urgent necessity and my fondness for this kind of work has induced me to broach this matter so soon after your telling me it was expedient to pinch a little on your expenses.


Yours truly


Charles H. Peck


Judge G. W. Clinton


Received Dec. 20