Chester Dewey and John Torrey correspondence, 1818-1862
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Chester Dewey and John Torrey correspondence, 1818-1862

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Related/Analytical: New York Botanical Garden Archives.

Series: John Torrey papers ; series 1, correspondence.


Dewey, Chester, 1784-1867




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Correspondence from Chester Dewey to John Torrey, dated 1818-1862. In letters spanning six decades, Dewey addresses a wide variety of issues botanical, mineralogical, chemical, geological, and zoological. Occasionally using eccentric spelling and syntax he complains of shipping difficulties ("What is the matter that my letters are so long in reaching you-- all is not well somewhere..."), and discusses at length the work and opinions of scores of mutual colleagues. "Dr. Cooper loves a hot theory of geology," he writes in 1822, during a discussion of the merits of Neptunian and Volcanian theory. Between regular shipments of plant, animal, and mineral specimens--in one 1820 letter, Dewey informs Torrey he is sending "bugs & butterflies" suffocated in turpentine, along with a freshwater "lobster" (probably a crayfish)-- the older man offers professional encouragement and advice, particularly concerning Torrey's publications and the politics and logistics surrounding the New York Lyceum. "Your paper is very handsome on the Gibbsite," Dewey writes in 1822; and a year later, "Your Lyceum is really doing great things-- & I am glad." At other times Dewey loses patience with Torrey over gaps in his letter-writing, and other lapses like failing to appear to pick up a packet of letters from a mutual friend who was visiting New York. The first long discussion of the genus Carex-- the study of which would occupy Dewey for the rest of his life via his series of articles titled "Caricography"-- appears in December 1820. Indeed, more serious tensions arise in 1825 and 1835 over the territorial lines drawn around "the carices" by Dewey, Torrey, Francis Boott, Lewis Schweinitz, and Amos Eaton. Dewey also expresses some dismay over Torrey's adoption of the natural system of classification, or "the Natural Method" as he calls it. By 1862, however, the disputes have been resolved and Dewey has even made peace with Torrey's lapses in correspondence: "I see that Dr. B[oott] complains of

In English.


Agardh, C. A. (Carl Adolf), 1785-1859 , Aster , Astragalus , Barratt, Joseph, 1796-1882 , Beck, Lewis C. (Lewis Caleb), 1798-1853 , Bigelow, Jacob, 1786-1879 , Boott, Francis, 1792-1863 , Botanical specimens , Brace, John Pierce, 1793-1872 , Brassica napus , Brucite , Carex , Chemistry , Childs, Henry H. (Henry Halsey), 1783-1868 , Cleaveland, Parker, 1780-1858 , Collins, Zaccheus, 1764-1831 , Cooley, Dennis, 1787-1860 , Correspondence , Crawe, I. B. (Ithamar Bingham), 1792-1847 , Cryptogamia , Dana, James Freeman, 1793-1827 , Dewey, Chester, 1784-1867 , Dickinson, John Dean, 1767-1841 , Eaton, Amos, 1776-1842 , Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830 , Emmons, Ebenezer, 1799-1863 , Entomology , Euonymus , Eupatorium , Flora of the northern and middle sections of the U , Fossils , Fungi , Geological and agricultural survey of Rensselaer C , Geological specimens , Geology , Gibbs, George, 1776-1833 , Gramineae , Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 , Hall, Frederick, 1780-1843 , Halsey, Abraham, 1790-1857 , Hitchcock, Edward, 1793-1864 , Index to the geology of the Northern States , Jade , Jungermannia , Kellogg, Ebenezer, 1789-1846 , Le Conte, John Eatton, 1784-1860 , Lichenes , Linnean Society of London , Lyceum of Natural History (New York, N.Y.) , Manual of botany for the Northern and Middle State , Minerals , Momordica , Musci , Neptunian theory , Nuttall, Thomas, 1786-1859 , Oenothera , Pierce, James, 1773- , Pogonia , Porter, Jacob, 1783-1846 , Prince, William Robert, 1795-1869 , Robbins, Amatus, -1854 , Salix , Sartwell, H. P. (Henry Parker), 1792-1867 , Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864 , Schweinitz, Lewis David von, 1780-1834 , Seybert, Henry, 1801-1883 , Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864 , Solidago , Sprengel, Kurt Polycarp Joachim, 1766-1833 , Torrey, John, 1796-1873 , Troy Lyceum of Natural History , United States and Mexican Boundary Survey , Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 1764-1839 , Viola , Ward, Henry A. (Henry Augustus), 1834-1906 , Webster, John White, 1793-1850 , Williams College

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John Torrey Papers

New York Botanical Garden




OCLC: 993631648


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