William D. Brackenridge and John Torrey correspondence, 1847-1855
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William D. Brackenridge and John Torrey correspondence, 1847-1855

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Related/Analytical: New York Botanical Garden Archives.

Series: John Torrey papers ; series 1, correspondence.


Brackenridge, William D. (William Dunlop), 1810-1893




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Correspondence from William D. Brackenridge to John Torrey, dated 1847-1855. Brackenridge has returned from the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) and is deeply engaged in writing the section of the report on ferns, though as a Scotsman he senses he is not quite accepted by "the 'Sluggish Gentry' of Washington." He regularly discusses the botanical reference volumes he uses and wants; lack of funds to purchase such books (and the bureaucracy involved in obtaining those funds) figure frequently in his letters. An extended episode involving the purchase of a single volume is dubbed "this Book affair." As work and years progress his observations on the frustrations of dealing with multiple government agencies grow drier, and his tone more tart-- "On which horn of the dilemma am I to hang my Hat upon until the big folks measure out the ingredients to make up the Pie?" he writes in frustration as early as 1848. Brackenridge also reports the gossip, describing multiple rivalries and feuds, some public, between figures like Wilkes, Frémont, Thomas Hart Benton, and others; in one particularly chilling passage he mentions that, following a harrowing episode of near-starvation during Frémont's 1848 railroad survey, botanist Frederick Kreutzfeldt "is now I am told perfectly crazy" and that the widow of one of the men who did not survive is convinced Kreutzfeldt ate part of her husband's body. Plant specimens and manuscript page proofs are sent regularly in both directions. Brackenridge often inquires after Torrey's wife and children, particularly in later years when he sends frequent gifts of seeds and other items to Torrey's son, "Master Herbert the Horticulturist." In the final letter, after the publication of his "Fern Book," Brackenridge tells Torrey he has bought a small estate outside of Baltimore. "I shall be my own master," he writes, "which is no small consideration to an independent Scotchman." Obsolete plant names mentioned include Nothochlaena, Platyloma andr

In English.


Abert, J. W. (James William), 1820-1897 , Adiantum chilense , Agardh, Jacob Georg, 1813-1901 , Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873 , Asplenium , Bartlett, John Russell, 1805-1886 , Benton, Thomas Hart, 1782-1858 , Bigelow, John M. (John Milton), 1804-1878 , Botanical specimens , Botany. Cryptogamia. Filices, including Lycopodiac , Brackenridge, William D. (William Dunlop), 1810-18 , Cercis , Cheilanthes scariosa , Correspondence , Coultas, Harland, -1877 , Doryopteris concolor , Drayton, Joseph , Enumeratio Filicum , Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890 , Freycinet, Louis Claude Desaulses de, 1779-1842 , Gaudichaud, Charles, 1789-1854 , Geographical distribution of animals and plants , Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 , Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 , Historia Filicum , Hooker, William Jackson, Sir, 1785-1865 , Journal of botany , Kaulfuss, Georg Fried. (Georg Friedrich), -1830 , Kreutzfeldt, Frederick, -1853 , Lehmann, Johann Georg Christian, 1792-1860 , Monograph on the genus Pteris , Narrative of the United States Exploring Expeditio , Nuttall, Thomas, 1786-1859 , Parry, C. C. (Charles Christopher), 1823-1890 , Pellaea andromedifolia , Pickering, Charles, 1805-1878 , Plantae Preissianae , Plantarum Brasiliensium , Polybotrya , Popular guide to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew , Presl, K. B. (Karel Bořiwoj), 1794-1852 , Pteridaceae , Pteris , Races of man and their geographical distribution , Raddi, Giuseppe, 1770-1829 , Sarracenia , Smith, John, 1798-1888 , Smithsonian Institution , Species filicum , Stansbury, Howard, 1806-1863 , Sullivant, William Starling, 1803-1873 , Swartz, Olof, 1760-1818 , Synopsis filicum , Tentamen Pteridographiae , Torrey, John, 1796-1873 , United States Botanic Garden , Voyage autour du monde , Voyage de l'Uranie , Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877 , Woodwardia , Woodwardia radicans

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John Torrey Papers

New York Botanical Garden




OCLC: 980317552


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