Miscellaneous Adventures: Fosberg

Stamp depicting S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike For our next Miscellaneous Adventure, you voted to open Accession 94-043, F. Raymond Fosberg Papers, c. 1945-1993, Box 6, Miscellaneous Ceylon materials, 1974-1976. This folder contains miscellaneous correspondence and materials from Raymond Fosberg’s research on the flora of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Most of the contents have to do with the logistics of collecting speciems and conducting research overseas, but there are a few items that caught my attention.

First, there are several loose stamps in the folder, depicting the various places of origin for the letters Fosberg received. Having an uncle who is an avid philatelist, these piqued my interest. One of the stamps is an image of  S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, the Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1956 to 1959, who appeared on a series of postage stamps in 1973 and 1974. There are also two stamps depicting the Library of Fundazium de Planta in Samedan, Switzerland. The most colorful stamps found in this folder appear on an envelope from K. L. D. Amaratunga, Systematic Botantist at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sri Lanka, to Dr. Fosberg. The first stamp is of a rare rhododendron found in the highlands of Sri Lanka, and the second one is of a pair of black ruby barbs typically found in streams around Sri Lanka.

Stamp depicting the Library of Fundazium de Planta in Samedan, Switzerland

Envelope for letter from K. L. D. Amaratunga to Dr. Fosberg

Obituary for Dr. Edward A. Houghton In addition to the stamps, the folder contained a number of newspaper articles from the Washington Post. A few of these articles related to finances at the Smithsonian, including a request by S. Dillion Ripley for more funding and an investigation into how money was being spent. There was also an obituary for psychiatrist Dr. Edward A. Houghton, which was published in the Washington Post on September 27, 1976.   

To see what other miscellaneous mysteries exist in our collections, comment below, or message us on Facebook or Twitter to:

Vote Folder A  for Record Unit 515, Hirshhorn Office of the Registrar, Loan and Exhibition Records, circa 1970-1985, Box 6, Folder Miscellaneous - Indianapolis Museum of Art


Vote Folder B for Record Unit 7338, Oscar L. Cartwright Papers, 1929-1979 and undated, Box 16, Folder Miscellaneous Reports, Publications, and Photographs, 1951-1979 (2 folders)

Related Resources

Around the World in 60 Years: The Traveling Field Books of F. Raymond Fosberg, The Field Book Project

Miscellaneous Adventures, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives 

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