Correspondence of Leo Lesquereux and G. W.
The Correspondence of
Leo Lesquereux (1806-1889) and
George William Clinton (1807‑1885)
Vol. 2. No. 139 [D 87]
Columbus, O. Jany 7th 66
My dear friend,
You see that I immediately accept the title and friendship which you have the kindness to offer me and I assure you that I do it gratefully and in the hope of meriting it [of me; if ere?] I can find occasion to prove the high and sincere regard which I feel for you. When I received your first letter, I [judged] you at once as a man whose heart contained something better than a mere blank book with Dollars and cents on the pages, and whose mind was provided with the best materials constituting a reasonable being. I long to get your likeness, to see if the ideal which I have got of your physiognomy is near the truth and I hope that you will soon fulfill my desire of obliging it. I shall be sincerely thankfull for it.
You have my best thanks for the specimens of Orthotrichum anomalum. But I do not know yet if I will use them for the musi or if I will return them to you. Those of the musci are small but they are operculated and even calyptrate which is of great value. And also when I received yours I had already passed the Number put it in its place and so anxious am I of finishing my work before spring that I do not find time to come back and review a passed No. I will keep these specimens a few days, perhaps a few weeks and decide according [to] circumstances. In any case I will return the specimens of O. cupulatum. They are too few and mixed with one or two other species. I will at the same time send you the promised series of Orthotrichum which you so ungratefully refused to receive from me. I hope that you will be able to find the means of subscribing for a set of the Musci for your museum of Buffalo. The work is a spendid one and will be a true normal Bryological collection of American mosses.
Has Mr. Peck written you about the catalogue. He wrote me that you suggested the idea of giving descriptions of some of our rare species not yet described in Sullivant's manual and asked my advice.
I said that scientifically speaking a catalogue could not have any descriptions of species already known and published; but that, on another side, as Sullivant's manual was till now the only American book on mosses, descriptions of yet undescribed species might afford a true help and encouragement for the study of mosses. But then, it is necessary to describe all the species, not yet in the manual and this without exception. Now, I believe that the number is somewhat large and nobody can know better than yourself if the descriptions which might be and ought to be short should not enlarge too much your paper. Mr. Peck wants me to make these descriptions and I will do it readily and also review the mss of the catalogue to suggest any alteration or correction which might prove advisable. I consider that your catalogue will prove a work of real utility and advantage and will be generally considered as such. I would like you to write me what are your ideas on the subject.
My bachelor life is still in full bloom. My wife is still at my daughter's and I enjoy my loneliness plentifully. I hope nevertheless that there soon will be an end of it.
Sincerely and respectfully your friend,
Hon. G. W. Clinton
Recd Jan. 10
Again, as mentioned in the notes of 1865, "the manual" of Sullivant refers to Sullivant's treatment of mosses and liverworts in ed 2nd edition of Gray's Manual of botany (1856). William Starling Sullivant also published and distributed with Leo Lesquereux the first edition of the "Musci Boreali-americani, sive specimina exsiccata muscorum in Americae Rebuspublicis Foederatis detectorum" in 1857 (1856) from Columbus, Ohio. Lesquereux was, in 1866, working on the Editio Secunda, numbers 1-536 which was published and distributed that year in April. Asa Gray wrote a review of it in the American Journal of Science and Arts , May 1866, 91: pp. 417-418. On the labels it is printed Musci Boreali-Americani quorum specimina exsiccata W. S. Sullivant et L. Lesquereux ediderunt, Editio secunda. There were 96 pages and the schedae were published in 1865. The Buffalo Museum of Science has specimens from this exsiccat.
"Gray, in his review, estimated that each set cost Sullivant $100; it sold for $35 a copy, paid to Lesquereux." Sayre, G. 1971. Cryptogamae Exsiccatae - An Annotated Bibliography of Published Exsiccatae of Algae, Lichenes, Hepaticae, and Musci. Memoirs of the N. Y. Bot. Garden Vol. 19, No. 2.
In the introduction to Peck's list (see below) he wrote "The following list is intended to contain the names of all the Mosses hitherto detected in the State of New York. The habitat, and time of maturing the fruit are given, and, of the rarer species, the station also. It has been thought advisable to reproduce brief descriptions of those species not described in Sullivant's Mosses of the United States, and to add occasional remarks concerning the peculiarities of certain species and the distinguishing characters of such as are closely related."
Vol. 2. No. 156 [D 68]
Columbus O. 19th Jany /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
Dear kind friend
Now, I have got it at last and I thank you most sincerely for what you call your ugly Phiz. I pleases me very much indeed. It is not quite or does not look quite as young as I supposed you to be, but otherwise, it answers perfectly to the idea which I had of you. It shows a broad high forehead or upper story. I already know how well it is stocked. It has a pleasant, attractive look and though the mouth is somewhat sharply and severely cut, there is about the corners a kind of lurking smile which seems to say that you can enjoy a good joke and perhaps even make one. Do I mistake in my diagnosis. May be I shall never see you but through your picture. Well I tell you again that I like it very much and value it highly. The whole of your physiognomy shows a good true most intelligent, hard working and tried man.
I have received yesterday from Mr. Peck the Mss. of his list of New York mosses but I have not yet read it through. I have seen only from the introductory remarks that he give me too much credit for it. As I have often worked for people who never gave me the slightest acknowledgement for my trouble, I can afford to get a compensation in the contrary way. Mr. Peck appears to be a very honorable man as he is a reliable and indeed clever observer of mosses. His determinations are generally correct and remarkably so for a young man who has not yet a long experience in the difficult task of botanical anatomy and who has not a great deal of books at his disposal. His catalogue which he modestly names a list is a very good and interesting one.
L. Lesquereux Recd. Jan 21.
In April 2, 1866, the 19th Annual Report of the Regents of the University of the State of New York, on the Condition of the State Cabinet of Natural History and the Historical and Antiquarian Collection Annexed Thereto. Senate document no 89, Charles Peck published (pp. 42-70) his "List of Mosses of the State of New York", mosses here to include the Musci as well as the Hepaticae. Peck wrote "Grateful acknowledgments are rendered to that distinguished and experienced bryologist, Leo Lesquereux, Esq., of Columbus, Ohio, for much kind assistance in the preparation of this List. He has freely communicated the names, habitat, etc., of numerous species collected by him on the Adirondack Mountains and in other parts of the State; and has authenticated a large number of the other species herein recorded."
Clinton was also mentioned: "Much aid has also been received from our own indefatigable botanist, the Hon. George W. Clinton, of Buffalo, at whose suggestion this work was undertaken, and form whom contributions of many species from Western New-York and the vicinity of Niagara Falls have been received."
The "phiz" or physiognomy of George W. Clinton, his carte de visite, from the photograph album in the Research Library of the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York.
Vol. 3. No. 18 [M 211]
Columbus, March 27th /66
My honorable and dear friend,
You must be very kind and indulgent to excuse me for not answering you so good before before last letter [sic]. When I received it, I was deep in the last stage of preparation of the Musci and promised myself to have a long talk with you as soon as they are quite finished. Now the setts are all ready but not packed. Five setts only have been given out and I was every moment expecting an answer from Gray to write you about your own sett (for the Museum of Buffalo). For Sullivant when he got his sett, admitting the high value of the work remarked that it would sell better if I sold it only $30 and I referred the matter to Gray. The more I think to it, the more I am satisfied that the price is not too high. Should I count my work at only one Dollar per day, each sett cost me & Mr. Sullivant more than $100 each. From a letter of Mr. Peck and especially from your's, I decide to let the price stay as I fixed it, $35 in currency and for Europe 150 francs. Both the Museums of London and of Paris as also the Museum of Strasbourg have ordered one sett. And I think that the 50 copies prepared will not be on my hands for a long time. For I have already about twenty promised, and ten given away as present. As you wrote me that you had to get the money per subscription and as I do not wish to put you to any trouble or expenses, I will send the sett to morrow to your address, for you do not say to whom I shall address it, and you may send me the money either per express or by a check on some bank, just when you find it convenient. I am extremely rejoiced of the judgement passed by Mr. Peck on my worth. Nobody is more competent than him to give a reliable opinion. He says that when he mentioned the price to Dr. Woolworth this gentm. said that he did not see how these mosses could be put up for that amt! Well. That is not a work for money but a true work of love though like my good old wife, it teased me some times wonderfully.
I hope that our intercourse will not cease with the end of the Musci and that I will be rejoiced still to receive your good kind letters and the communication of your specimens.
Now I will have more leisure and can attend with more care to the determination of any specimens that may be sent to me. Let me know what I could offer you in exchange for your kindness and for the communication of specimens. Will you have a series of Orthotrichum or California mosses or what?
From this letter, you understand that your note of the 25th is just received with true gratitude.
Your sincere friend,
Mr. Sullivant paid part of expenses, printing of labels table &c. I paid paper binding, express expenses. &c.: and did all the work, Mr. Sullivant having never examined the specimens. But he does not share the money profits! Hence he gives his share entirely grati..ously [sic: graciously, gratuitously].
Hon. G. W. Clinton
Recd. March 29.
In Paris, the letter probably refers to the Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle (P) ; more than one "museum" in London would doubtless include the Linnean Society of London as well as the Natural History Museum (BM). In Saltzburg, Austria, today perhaps it is the Haus der Natur (SZB) that holds this exsiccat. The apparent (and actual) resentment of Lesquereux toward Sullivant was most likely only based on the large economic distance between the two men, primarily in the scope of the privileges money can bring, a distinction of great sensitivity to Lesquereux but which in no way seems to have impaired his deep gratitude for access to Sullivan'ts named collections and for Sullivant's willingness to collaborate with him on major contributions to American bryology. Sullivant was the first American bryologist of note and gave Lesquereux access to Asa Gray and the institutional status for which Gray was a gateway.
Vol. 3. No. 22 [M 207]
Columbus O. March 28th /66
Hon: G. W. Clinton
My dear Sir. I wrote you (not a pretty letter) but a pretty long one yesterday. This morning I have a letter from Gray concerning the price of the Musci and he says that at $35.00 currency it is rediculously too low.
He wants us to sell at $50.00. But we agree with Mr. Sullivant that $35.00 in gold will be just right. I do not write this to change the price for you. I owe you contributions and many kindnesses which I would be happy to acknowledge. but I will charge the Albany Cabinet the price in gold and wish you to mark it thus if you mention it to some of your acquaintances. I have just sent your sets to the express.
Very respectfully your friend
Received March 30 and wrote to him to draw on Mr. Sweeney, for $35.00 gold.
Mr. Sweeney is not mentioned as an officer of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (Goodyear, G. F. 1994. Society and Museum, a history of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Bull. Buff. Soc. Nat. Sci. Vol. 34). Sweeney was doubtless an official associated with New York State government and the State Cabinet of Natural History in Albany, the state capitol where Charles Peck was working on the vascular and cryptogamic flora of the State.
Vol. 3 (35) [M194]
Columbus O. April 6th /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton Buffalo
My dear friend
Do not fear. He's all right with that Seligeria pusilla. I have had so much trouble in getting acquainted with it that this acquaintance can not be repudiated now. I wrote you, I think, that I had found this S. pusilla only in one or two of your last packages of Seligeria and this in very small quantity. As I have also a letter of Mr. Peck on the subject, I will write him the characters and send him separated specimens. I kept some for me, though very few and he can have them if I should not find any more in your packages. But I think that there are some left yet. I can not come to that examination till after to morrow. As soon as it is made, I will report and return specimens.
Many many thanks for your very kind and very good letter of March 30th.
As you say, I will never be rich but happily I can afford to live poor and die poor also.
Yours very affectionately
In Lesquereux and T. P. James' Manual of the Mosses of North America of 1884, Seligeria pusilla Bruch & Schimp. is reported as growing on "Shaded limestone rockes, St. Louis, Missouri (Drummond); Devil's Hole, near Niagara Falls (G. W. Clinton); New Jersey (Austin); Kelly's Island, Lake Erie (Lesquereux)." Seligeria recurvata Bruch & Schimp. var. arcuata is known from "Devil's Hole, Niagara (Clinton, Mrs. Roy) ."
Vol. 3 (47) [M182]
Columbus O. April 15th 66
Judge Clinton Buffalo
Say that I merit a good scolding for having kept you waiting the separation of those specimens of Seligeria. But do not scold too hard. I wrote you that, for a while at least, I would give only part of my Sunday to the dear mosses. And as one of my sons who lives at New York came here with his wife to pay us a visit, I had to spend with him the whole part of
my leisure time of Sunday past. I have separated today as many specimens as I could find of Seligeria calcarea. It was found especially in two packages which I mark No.1 & No.2. The others have none of it or little if any. I have closely compared it with Schimper's specimens and it agrees exactly with it. Schimper himself says that it is distinguishable from Seligeria recurvata, only by its shorter leaves scarcely shorter more open capsules and straight pedicel. I have had much trouble to find this species and to admit that there were two, as well you know. And if you had not insisted on a reexamination of some small specimens which you sent me separately I would have passed this species unnoticed. It is to your sharp eyes and admirable perspicacity that we owe its discovery. If you find opportunity to collect it again, try to get some scarcely ripe, with operculum and calyptra. As both species grow together it is useless to look for one separately.
I sent bill according to your direction but it has not been returned yet. It will come in good time. The setts of the Musci are going out much quicker than I supposed.
Your friend most respectfully
Received April 18
Vol. 3. No. 51 [M 178]
Columbus O. April 24th /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend,
Acknowledging your very kind letter of yesterday, I am indeed most thankfull for your commendation of the Musci. We must wait what Gray will say of them in the Silliman's Journal. His opinion which can not be but favourable will, I think take out of my hands the setts which I have still for sale. I do not understand well what may be your plan and your desire concerning the setting up of the musci for the Museum. Though I most sincerely approve of your desire to have for your society the finest possible specimens and collection. 1st all the specimens of the musci have been selected, examined, prepared and half of them perhaps collected by myself. Nobody but myself has done anything of the manual labor except the printing. I have cut the labels, glued them, cut the paper, glued the specimens, made the paper bags &c: &c. the work of a true fool. Call that a work of love!!
2d Now it may be that for a museum like yours where the appearance is often more considered than the scientific value, for very few persons at Buffalo will have oportunity to study your specimens. It may be, as I say, that you would prefer to have all the specimens glued and in full view, well arranged in a peculiar way. Well! say so; give me directions for doing the work just as you would like it, or just as you would do it yourself, return me your sett and I will arrange it just as you wish. For a Bryologist, glued specimens are worth very little, at least now a days. For a museum, specimens put in paper bags and loose are liable to be stolen. I took a medium line and from what I see I have succeeded pretty well to meet the expectation of the scientific friends who have seen the musci. The setts contain specimens valuable as collected by celebrities like Agassiz, Torrey &c. Agassiz collected around Lake Superior for me and gave me all his specimens. If you think that any work of mine could render the sett or collection more appreciable, let me know your views and please tell me freely as to a friend all your remarks and directions. The very small specimens like Phascaceae can scarcely be glued. It was a reason why I glued only large specimens and this only to make a little pleasant show. In such a collection, entire uniformity is not possible. Prof. Blytt is a good Norwegian Botanist I do not know his address in any other way than as you write it. Christiania Norway. Schimper named a few mosses from him. Bryum Blyttii, &c. I suppose that any American species of mosses would be acceptable to him.
Well! I expect to be astonished and indeed I wish I was. For you will by and by send novelties and put to shame the young eyes of the new generation of botanists. The forests on your swamps along the lake have plenty of Orthotrichs please look for them. My remembrance of Buffalo is truly remarkable. I passed your place in Nov. 1848 and after going to
Niagara took a boat (steamboat) at Buffalo village for Cleveland. Storm all the time, nine days from Buffalo to Cleveland!! Of course we stopped at some harbors along the shores and there I left the boat and went into the woods after mosses. My first experience with your Orthotrichum was then. But they were all too old specimens. Now is the good time to look for them. I have not got yet the money of the sett but the Express will bring it all right I suppose. Perhaps if you wish to change the arrangement of the sett you had better wait to pay it till the work is done.
Very sincerely your friend
Recd Ap. 26
As mentioned above, Asa Gray wrote a review of the exsiccat in the American Journal of Science and Arts , May 1866, 91: pp. 417-418.
Axel Gudbrand Blytt (1843-1862), noted Norwegian botanist for his theories of post-glacial plant migration into the Scandinavian regions and for laying the foundation of taxonomic mycology in Norway. Selected publications (from URL http://home.no.net/tbaugen/Botanikere.htm) include: (1870) Christiani omegns phanerogamer og bregner : med angivelse af deres udbredelse samt en indledning om vegetationens afhængighed af underlaget ; Axel Gudbrand Blytt (1902 - 1906) Haandbog i Norges flora 876 pp.; Axel Gudbrand Blytt (1902) Haandbog i Norges flora Axel Gudbrand Blytt & Frederic Georg Emil Rostrup (1905) "Norges hymenomyceter" (Norway's hymenomycetes) in Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, Mathematisk-Naturvidenskabelig Klasse (Norwegian Academy of Science, Mathematical and Natural History series) 6 pp. 1 - 164. He was the son of Mathias Numsen Blytt (1789-1862) who died before completing the Norges Flora, part of which was published in 1861. Specimens of both men are curated at the Botanical Museum, University of Oslo (O). Buffalo (BUF) has numerous specimens of "Blytt," probably all those of Axel. Peck, in his Report of the Botanist (25th Annual Report on the State Museum of Natural History; Senate document no. 83, 1872, indicated he had by exchange received 22 specimens from the University of Norway, Christiana (Oslo), Norway, all lichens for the New York State Cabinet, probably Blytt specimens.
Vol. 3. No. 62 [M 167]
Columbus May 11th /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend,
No news, good news, it is what the Frenchman says and I hope that in this case the proverb is right. I owe you without doubt the compliment sent to me in the form of a letter of election as a corresponding member of the Society of Natural history of Buffalo. I sent my acknowledgement to the Secretary and my thanks to you. I hope to be able to do something to help building or rather forming your botanical museum. As soon as I have taken to my winter quarters, I will begin the preparation of your byological collection just in the way you most like it. We will discuss the matter in time. Now, I am going in two weeks to Penna. on Geological business and do not think that I will have much time for mosses except for microscopical examination. For this I must find time. I wish I could have time to go to Buffalo to make your personal acquaintance and to go with you for exploring those fine places where you find new things. But that will not do. The R. R. Companies pass me free from here to Philadelphia and then I profit of the advantage to make explorations which do not pay me anything but which cost nothing. But my hat is not chalked anywhere in New York State. I would like to spend one week with Mr. Peck in the Catskill. There are many species to detect there still.
Well ! I write for nothing as you may see except to recall me to your remembrance. I hope that you are quite well.
L. Lesquereux Recd May 13
Vol. 3 (68) [M162]
Columbus O. May 14th, 1866
Hon. G. W. Clinton.
My dear Judge
No. 1 Pleuridium alternifolium Br. Eur.
var. fol: brevioribus
2 Same with longer leaves
3 a few leaves of Desmatodon arenaceus Sull. & Lesq. 4 Bryum caespiticium male flowers
5 Same as No. 1
Very glad to see you're writing again but very sorry indeed that you are not quite well. I worked for you the whole of yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Hope you were at church praying for me. You would have much to do in that line if you would undertake my case. The chinese praying machine would not ever be sufficient. Send more mosses. But if you do not hear immediately from me do not believe me careless. I must go to Pennsylvania next Monday for a week or so.
Received May 16
Vol. 3. No. 73 [M 157]
Columbus O. May 17th /66
My dear Juge [= the French spelling for "Judge"]:
This is indeed H. aduncum, N. 466 of the Musci. I can see no difference except in the leaves being somewhat longer pointed. I would like to see a ripe capsule and examine the annulus. May be you can get this species now or two weeks later. If you get it please send a ripe operculate capsule.
Your letter pains me much. I wish you were quite well. That kind of depression saddens our life far more than any sickness of the body. It is a [consequence] but where to begin the cure. I can not help you for I am most of the time suffering in the same way and can not help myself. They say a true strong faith in something gives the strength which takes ... to happiness. Yes! or to a lunatic asylum also. Nothing will do but mens sana in corpore sano and here is the rule. But! me. I could preach a long time on the subject but that could not help. Nothing can help. My friend Lesley is low, very low of the same kindness [sic]. He is going to spend the summer among our Jurassic mountains and our Swiss friends. But there also he may carry the distemper with him.
Who told you that I was going to [Tennessee] &c. I will go for one week or so, in the way of relaxation, to Penn. to examine some interesting sections of the the coal measures; but I do not know that I will go elsewhere. I am better at home than anywhere else for here at least I can live quite alone and by myself. If you come this way, do not forget me and pay me a visit. I will give you the best I have and it is not much.
What is your microscope worth? Do you want any direction for anatomy of the mosses. Shall I send you two sharpened needles with handles as I use them? I never use anything else in the way of tools except small ... for cross sections.
Recd May 19.
Hypnum aduncum Hedw. = Drepanocladus aduncus (Hedw.) Warnst.
Vol. 3. No. 80 [M 150]
Columbus, May 24th, /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend.
Your variety of Ceratodon purpureus is fine indeed and remarkable for its slender growth. But there are so many, many of these varieties that it is useless attempting to separate them. Yours nevertheless should be named, say [T.?] gracilis. If you do not want the specimen, I will preserve it. I do not know if you get Silliman's journal of Science and Arts. I send you per mail a copy of Gray's mention of our Musci exsiccati. You may cut it out, glue both half pages and preserve it in your copy of the Musci. I hope that you will not be mad against me for having mentioned your name among those of the contributors of the Musci. Gray desired me to give him some materials for his review and of course I named the contributors to the work.
Are you well now, mind and body? The more I try to leave Columbus, the more I stay here. I have still a deal to do for the musci, in packing copies for Europe and getting out specimens for Schimper, Hampe and other friends for exchange. And my garden is so green and the trees so shady and the vines want binding and! and! to tell the truth I am becoming old and lazy. Don't you come this way and see me?
L. Lesquereux. Recd May 27
Hampe, Ernst Georg Ludwig (1795-1880) specialized in pharmacy, became well known as an expert in the flora of the Harz region of central Germany only in the 1870's. Before that he had published extensively in bryology, stimulated as early as 1832 by an association with Carl Mueller in the Hercynian Natural History Society (Naturwissenschaftlichen Verein des Harzes) . Mueller was a prodigious describer of new bryophyte genera. Hampe collected mosses from all over the world, some of which derived from the collections of Lesquereux, as noted above. In 1865 Hampe published the Musci in the Prodromus Florae Novo-Granatensis, and new mosses from Peru, continuing the New Granada series in 1866. Hampe shared, with Lesquereux and his friends a "liberaler Weltanschauung" (Frahm, J-P. & Jens Eggers 2001. Lexikon Destschsprachiger Bryologen. Druck der Neubearbeitung: Norderstedt).
Vol. 3 (85) [M 145]
Columbus O., May 31, /66
My dear Judge,
Here is a box of fine tools.
1st. Two sharpened needles with cutting point at a convenient angle for working.
2. Large glasses for dissection [small rectangle drawn = a microscope slide]
3. Thin ones for putting on the object [= cover slip]
4. A dissecting eye glass. Without these I could do nothing hence with them you will do anything. Is not this lawyer's logic.
This splendid glass with gold ring and feet of precious wood, is quite necessary for dissecting small objects or looking for flowers of mosses &c: 1st. Put the feet in the ring to stand the glass at a short distance. Find exactly the best enlarging distance for your eyes. Cut the feet accordingly. Put under the glass a white paper, upon it a large square glass with one drop of water. In this a branch of moss &c. If then you place both your eyes (do not shut one) at a distance form the eyeglass in such a manner that you can see easily through it, you can work under it with your needles with double or triple advantage than with naked eyes. It is only when your object is prepared under the eye glass that you put on it one of the thin glasses. If there is not water enough for covering the object put a drop on the border of the glass and it will be absorbed immediately through capillarity. Thus the object is fixed, transparent and prepared for the microscope. May be you will not understand me. If I was with you only a few hours I would put you through in the best way and spare you the trouble of experimenting. Well I am not at Buffalo and glad am I of it, as you have there only rain and rain all the time. You must then try, and write every thing you wish to know and I will answer you immediately if I have time. To day I have no time. Hence I give you only the description of the tools and will in a next letter begin the instrutions for dissecting mosses, searching for flowers, making cross sections &c. &c. If you know all about these matters or do not like to learn them from anybody else but your own experiences, I will write nothing. Do not laugh at the tools. Poor man's tools are often the best. There is not any show on them but they do as well.
Recd. June 2
Vol. 3 (95) [M 134]
Columbus O June 21th 66
My dear Judge,
Just returned from Penna where I had a splendid time among the fossil plants of the Anthracithe [sp.] I had very good luck and collected many splendid specimens. Now that the mosses (Musci) are out I have to finish a great work, begun long time ago, the fossil flora of the coal of America, and I wish to finish it as my last scientific work on this earth. This said to excuse me for not answering immediately your favor of the 9th inst. which I find here.
No Bryum can be determined from barren or sterile specimens. Your paper contains two species as you see, and indeed one is Bryum atropurpureum which to me is out of its place at Buffalo. Probably it has gone so far northe only of purpose of being discovered by you. The species is always a rare one. I kept a few specimens for my own collection and if you find more please send me some.
When I wrote you my last letter it was my intention of writing for you some directions for the study of the mosses. Of course I have no time to day. I find here a heap of letters to answer. But I will try to write you in some length soon. Moreover you may work at your splendid tools and become clever without my instructions.
The meeting of the U. S. Natl. Academy is at Northampton on the 10th Augt. I must be there. But afterward there is or may be a meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Natural Science at Buffalo. I may go there perhaps. If I go it will be only on purpose of making your personal acquaintance and explaining you some matters concerning the anatomy of the mosses.
Your friend very sincerely
I can not examine the Hypnum before I have large specimens. This does not appear to same as the one sent formerly. In any case the distinction between H. fluitans and H. aduncum is only in the inflorescence & it is very difficult to find it the male flowers being rare.
Recd June 23.
Hypnum aduncum Hedw. = Drepanocladus aduncus (Hedw.) Warnst. Hypnum fluitans L. ex Hedw. = Drepanocladus fluitans (Hedw.) Warnst.
Vol. 3 (100) [M 129]
Columbus O June 26th /66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend,
I return both specimens of that Hypnum. The one, first sent, is Hypnum curvifolium, Hedw. It had only one fruit which was destroyed for examination. I doubt that you found it at the same place asthe other. It may have been mixed with it perhaps. The second is Hypnum aduncum [beta] gracilescens Bryol. Eur. Which is also a different form though the same species as the one you sent first and unripe a few weeks ago.
Excuse me if I can not write any more to day. My good times are mostly still coming
Yours very appectionately
Recd. June 28
Hypnum aduncum Hedw. = Drepanocladus aduncus (Hedw.) Warnst.
Vol. 3 No. 158 [M 71]
Columbus O. Octb 8th 66
My honorable friend
What has become of you? I know by a letter from Mr. Peck that you are not sick and I am indeed rejoiced to know that you are well. But I see nothing coming from you neither mosses, nor letters, and I am afraid that you have put aside your botanical researches for some other pursuits. I have heard from you by the news papers, knew that you were president of the meeting of the association; that every body was happy to have you presiding such an honorable scientific body &c. But all this comes to me through various ways far less interesting than would be a line from you. I should have liked to go to Buffalo. But I had more than enough with the meeting of Northampton. For one who can not hear any, attending for a few days to continual scientific descussion is something like the torment of Tantalus.
Perhaps you recollect that I promised you a specimen of Vesicaria? Lescurii Gray. I put my hand on it last week and sent it to you herewith. Let me know if you get it safely. I promised you also a series of directions for the anatomy of mosses. That would be a long paper indeed and I feel more and more that all written directions are not worth a single hour of teaching or of experience. If you use your microscope and if you find obstacles on the way please let me know and rest assured that I would be very glad to help you in any way.
Though the musci are out, I continue to get specimens from friends and to examine them and report on them.
Sincerely your friend
Hon. G. W. Clinton Buffalo.
Recd Oct. 11 & ansd ditto
In August, 1866, the American Association for the Advancement of Science met with the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in Buffalo, New York, the first resumption of the meetings of the AAAS since the Civil War. The Society would continue to host these meetings in August of 1876, 1886 and finally in 1986.]
Vol. 3 No. 179 [M 45]
Columbus [O] Decb 1st, 66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend,
It was a very pleasant surprise to get a letter again from you. I wish Mr. Peck would find very often such doubtfull species of yours and ask you to send them to me for examination. Your moss is as Mr. Peck supposed, Schistidium confertum Br. Eur. This form is not common in Europe but appears to be pretty abundant near water courses, on stones in the U.S. Mr. James sent it in plenty from Philadelphia.
I put in this package some specimens of Ephemerum crassinervium Schp. very abundant here around now in cornfields and old fields, on the ground. I am confident that you have it in quantity at Buffalo and think that when you have seen it, you will be able to collect it and add it to your Buffalo flora. Ephemerum serratum of which I send a good though small specimen is from California. It has not been found yet in the Atlantic states.
I have to send in about two weeks a large box of plants for herbarium and specimens of Minerals to the Museum of Neuchatel, my native town. In this box I send two copies of the Musci, one for Geneva, the other for Neuchatel and if you should desire it, I could still send a third for your correspondant of Rostoc. The transportation would cost him nothing from here to Swizerland. I pay myself the expenses from Columbus to New York and the Museum of Neuchatal pays expenses from New York. The expenses from Neuchatel to Rostoc would be very little matter, I suppose. In any case your correspondent could pay then easily for receiving such a work as the Musci. I have only six copies left and will let you have one if you like, with the understanding that you should pay it only after you have got news of its safe arrival at Rostoc. I think that it is the best I can do. The price is the same as before, $45 in cur[rency] or $35 in gold. I do not think that it would be right for me to sell it at lower even to a friend like you. I sent Schimper 5 copies at fr. 175 each. He would like to have more but I can not send any. I must have some left for exchanges etc. Let me know what you want me to do. I am awaiting a package of Mr. Ravenell and as soon as it is come, will pack and forward the box.
I hope that you will have a pleasant time in preparing specimens for the herbarium. If I was at Buffalo I would gladly help you. This work of yours will be an honourable memorial of yourself for Buffalo and your museum will be proud to have it and will carefully keep it. I am certain that you think the same. My thanksgiving day was pleasant enough. I have with me one of my sons who lives at New York and who came for a few days visiting. Except this all goes in the same way and as every day I sincerely thank God and His Divine Providence for all the goods which I continually receive, for my life also, I did it with more fervor still in the day apposite for the public manifestation. What immense power of gratitude and love should feel in his heart evry man who understands the sublimity of our human nature, who enjoys the privilege of studying, understanding, admiring the works of the omnipotent Ruler and who can look forward to a constant progress towards a spiritual life?
Most sincerely and respectfully
Recd Dec. 5. ansd Dec. 10, wrote again.
Neuchatel is in Switzerland, the Herbarium of the Laboratoire de Phanerogamie, Institut de Botanique, Universite de Neuchatel (NEU). The herbarium possesses a significant collection of specimens by Lesquereux. Geneva, Switzerland, is home to the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques and its herbarium (G).
See letter Vol.4(26): Rostock is in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, and P. von Kuhlewein is Clinton's 'friend' who desires a copy of the Musci. The von Kuehlewein letter to Clinton is as follows:
Vol. 1. 68. I 155, 156, 157
Handed to me, by young Mr. Jewett (son of Sherman [Sq.?]) at the [Buffalo] Society meeting, July 7 & wrote to Mr. Von Kuehlwein, the same evening.
"Mr. de Witt Clinton in Buffalo is respectfully asked by Mr. von Kuhlewein, formerly physician at St. Petersburg, now in Rostock, if it would be convenient to enter into a correspondence with the latter, with the view of eventually exchanging specimens of their collections of plants. Mr. v K. possesses particularly a rich collection of Caucasian, and Siberian plants. [in pencil] Care Herrn General Consul Von Reinecke,
Rostock, Mecklenberg [sic]
Mr. Von Khlwein care Herrn General Consul Von Reinecke, Rostock, Mecklenburg
There are specimens at BUF of Mr. Kuehlwein's from the Botanical Garden in St. Petersburg.
Rostock is a city in Mecklenburg, Germany, a seaport, being 8 miles from the Baltic Sea on the Warnow river and dealing with manufacturing and commercial business. It had been an old Hanse Town from the 1200's.
Clinton would soon start a correspondence with Henry William Ravenel (1814‑1887) of Aiken, South Carolina (his first letter from Ravenel received in March of 1867). Outside of Moses A. Curtis, Ravenel seems to have been the only mycologist in the United States until the flowering of the careers of Job Bicknell Ellis, Charles Peck and William Gibson Farlow later in the 19th century and after the Civil War. Ravenel made a critical study of the phanerogams of South Carolina, was botanist of the government commission to Texas in 1869 and was agricultural editor of the Weekly News and Courier. Lesquereux may have known him through his connections with the German-Swiss immigrant community in Cincinnati, Ohio, or from his association with Charles Mohr when both lived in at one time in Louisville, Kentucky.
Vol. 3 No. 190 [M 32]
Columbus [O] Decb 8th 66
Hon. G. W. Clinton
My dear friend,
As soon as I have news from Mr. Ravenel and in two weeks if I do not get any letter from him, I will forward the set for your friend of Rostoc according to your directions. I wish you to keep in mind that I will not accept your money before you have received news of the safe arrival of the set. We may have to wait a little, but, I do not care. Try only to put down the premium on gold and if you bring it to par you will make a benefit of $10 on the speculation! I wish you would.
Little is known about that Sympoma not of Austin but of Sullivant. When [Thomas Potts] James sent me his Ephemerum already found and sent to me by [Lan]ing [?] I considered it not only a good species but intermediate between Ephemerum and Acaulon and perhaps the type of a new Genus. I refered the matter to Sult. [Sullivant] who thought the same but did not find sufficient characters for separating it into another genus. James, accordingly named it Ephemerum synoicum. When Austin sent me his moss I considered it and still consider it as a variety of Ephemerum synoicum and Sullivant thought it new and worth separating into a new genus with James' Ephemerum. He suggested to Austin the name of Sympoma and this [Gent] accepted it. Now I examined this Austin moss when I was just trying hard to get out of the Musci and as the examination to be quite satisfactory, of all the Ephemerum would take me a whole week of hard work, I compared Austin's moss only to James's and thus do not know enough about it to give you a definitive answer. To my persuasion it is nothing but a variety of Ephemerum synoicum but this persuasion may be a mistake.
How did you succeed with microscopical examination?
Your friend very truly
Those sets of the Musci are going out like hot cakes. I had this week the order or demand for three besides yours, all for scientific institutions of high degree.
Recd Dec. 11.
Sympoma Aust., Bull. Torr. Bot. Cl. 5(7):30. 1874 (Micromitrium Aust., 1870 nom. illeg.) = Nanomitrium Lindb. Nanomitrium austinii (Sull. ex Austin) Lindb. = Micromitrium austinii Sull. ex Austin according to Howard Crum in the Moss Flora of Mexico (A. J. Sharp, H. Crum & P. M. Eckel, Memoirs of the N.Y. Bot. Gard. Vol. 69, 1994). According to Crum, Micromitrium is a "genus of minute ephemerals" that differ from Ephemerum "in having a sparse protonema, leaves shriveled and contorted when dry with no costa and smooth cells, capsules not or dehiscent near the middle, and calyptrae persistent and consisting of little more than the remains of a small archegonium." Whatever one might say about Austin, he was a very clever bryologist. The species occurs throughout the eastern United States.
Vol. 3 No. 196 [M 26]
Columbus O. Decb. 12th, 66
My dear Juge [Judge],
You should indeed be ashamed of yourself to look as if you wanted to be excused for such a small matter as what you demand from me. Please believe what I say in whole sincerity of heart: That whenever you give me occasion of being serviceable or agreeable to you in any way whatever for big matter or for small matter, you render me sincerely obliged to you. Your idea is a very good one about those labels. I have still among my mosses some from Ravenel. I will find them and send them to you with specimens. I have or can have also if you like labels from Agassiz for species which he collected on the shores of Lake Superior: I never corresponded with Curtis and do not know if I have any thing from him. Have you Engelmann's labels and some plants. I can get you something also. And if you can intercallate in your herbarium European specimens of mosses, I can send you labels and specimens of Schimper, Mougeot, Desmazieres, Lenormand, Hampe, Shuttleworth, Alex Braun, all the leading Bryologists and get you also by Boissie labels of himself, Decandolle &c &c. Please let me know your views and let me help you in any way in my power. I wrote you about that sett of Musci and the money, which you need not send till your friend has got the mosses, because I will not accept it before,
your friend very much
I wrote to Ravenel lately about some matter concerning a correspondent from Europe. As I do not know where he is now, I addressed him as before the war to Aiken S. C. If he answers and give me his address I will let you know.
Recd Dec. 14 & ansd.
The issue of "labels" is the beginning of an exchange of "autographs" from Lesquereux to Clinton, Lesquereux no doubt taking his responsibilities as corresponding member of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences very seriously, intending to bestow on the people of the City of Buffalo one of the finest and most useful research herbaria, as befitted a great city with promise. The autograph was a label written in the handwriting of the owner (collector) of the specimen to which the label was affixed. The handwriting, associated with its collector, could be useful in identifying the labels of that collector when the collector's name was unknown, that is, when the collector did not note his name on the label. The authentication of the specimen seems to have been one motive for this interest.
However, in the final years of the Civil War there existed what was to become a mania for memorabilia in the form of studio photographs, the cartes de visite, of famous people collected in handsome leather and metal-bound volumes (the Buffalo Museum of Science has the one sponsored by its Society, in large part filled through the efforts of George Clinton). People also enjoyed collecting letters written by famous people and other ephemera of this nature, especially in association with history. Today the letters of George Washington, for example, are extremely valuable. Making these collections was often the perview of wealthy and refined ladies who were most closely associated with the famous and who sometimes enmassed letter-autographs in volumes - a noteable example being a multi-volume collection preserved by the Hunt Institute in Pittsburgh.
George Clinton would find his own letters of little interest among his contemporaries, but those of his father, DeWitt, were sought after. The wife of Thomas Potts James, for example, wanted Clinton to provide a sample of his father's handwriting for her collection. It is interesting that George himself had collected such letters written to himself while a college student when his father was still alive, including such noteable writers as Noah Webster and the young John Torrey. The Clinton correspondence of the Buffalo Museum of Science, of which these postings are transcriptions, is also a rather monumental collection of such autographs but with the extraordinary value that they are not a disjointed and eclectic assortment of unrelated samples of handwriting, but a relatively complete body of noble endeavor centered around the industry of a single man.
Vol. 4 No. 4 [G 220]
Columbus O. [a blue-ink stamp: "Leo Lesquereux, Columbus O, Dec 28, 1866"]
My dear Juge,
Nothing can be done for you this year. I must get out of Fossil plants before I take again to mosses. Hence do not expect some Christmas present or New year's gift from my friendship. It will show itself some time just when you do not expect it at all. But allow me, as I have nothing else, to offer you my best wishes for your wellfare and constant happiness. I wish you had a happy Christmas. This is already something. And I sincerely desire that you will enjoy a good health and find the greatest pleasure in the preparation of your herbarium. Now about those labels. How shall I mark where they come from? Shall I write on the back the author's or writer's name and sign or stamp or what? Or shall I put each label in a separate paper and write name on paper. I have had an answer from poor Ravenel who is now a ruined man. He has a large family, he says and has lost all his property. I asked him for labels from Curtis. He will surely send one. I have also mentioned Chapman & Elliot. You see that you have something to hope for.
I had a fine Christmas day. Three of my children and their wifes and seven grandchildren helped me demolishing the customary turkey and swallowing the plum pudding. Of course I had nothing to eat. But to see that large company so well pleased to be crowded in the small room of the old grandfather was far better than the best food.
Yours as ever
I left this letter open because I was advised that a package from Swizerland to Rostoc would cost at least as much as from here to the same place and I wanted to ask Sullivant about it. As Rostoc is a seaport, the Bremen packet ships take packages very nearby. There is an express office in New York for Germany. I will inquire about the cost of the package and if it is not too high will send the Musci free to New York, to that express office. We got lately from Hampe a pretty big package which did cost $3.00 per this express. How if the package should cost about $2.00 from New York? is this too much, shall I send it? To and from Swizerland there are two lines of Custom houses where all packages are opened and I am afraid that the musci might be spoiled by rough usage. If your friend is not a poor man, he will gladly pay these expenses which would be moreover as large from Switzerland.
All my own labels now, all the specimens sent for examination, all my letters, papers, books &c: shall be stamped like this letter, as it is at the top. It will serve as a kind of day book and prove my own determinations &c.
Ravenel at this (low) point in his life was suffering from having been rich, prominent and a Confederate during the late Civil War that ended only the previous year (1865). At this point the United States Congress was embroiled in debates on whether or not or how to punish the populations, including Ravenel, of the southern states for their rebellion.