Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 222
United States National Museum. Division of Plants
These records document the professional, scientific, and administrative activities of Charles Louis Pollard as Assistant Curator, 1894-1903. Consequently the following biographical sketch of Pollard has been included, rather than an administrative history of the organizations of which he was a part.
Charles Louis Pollard (1872-1945), botanist, was born in New York, New York, and died in Arlington, Vermont. He attended Columbia College where he received the A.B. in 1893 and the A.M. in 1894. He was employed as Assistant Curator of the Division of Botany, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), from 1894 to 1895, and the Division of Plants, United States National Museum (USNM) from 1895 to 1903. On occasion, in the absence of the Honorary Curator, Frederick Vernon Coville, Pollard served as the Acting Curator of the divisions. Pollard's interests were centered on genetics and on the entomology and botany of North America. While working for the USDA and the USNM he specialized in the examination and identification of botanical specimens, especially the various species of the genus Viola (violets).
Pollard served as editor of Plant World, 1899-1907, and contributed botanical terms for the Supplement of Webster's International Dictionary, 1900, Century Dictionary, 1903, and Webster's New International Dictionary, 1903-1906. He also served as consulting botanist for the G. and C. Merriam Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1903-1906; Curator-In-Chief of the public museum, Staten Island Association of Arts and Sciences, 1907-1913; and private tutor, 1913-1916. Pollard was an honorary member of the Philadelphia Botanical Club and the Washington Biologists' Field Club.
In 1971, the National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany, transferred its official records and collections of personal papers relating to the early history of the Department to the Hunt Botanical Library at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. The official correspondence files generated by Charles Louis Pollard during his tenure as Assistant Curator of the Division of Botany, United States Department of Agriculture, 1894-1895, and the Division of Plants, United States National Museum, 1895-1903, were included in the transfer. In December 1977, the Department of Botany records were returned to the custody of the Smithsonian Institution to be maintained in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
This record unit consists of the official files of Charles Louis Pollard as Assistant Curator of the Division of Botany, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1894-1895, and the Division of Plants, United States National Museum (USNM), 1895-1903. These records document the activities of both divisions, as well as Pollard's scientific and administrative activities from 1894 to 1903.
The records of both divisions have been maintained together and contain incoming and outgoing correspondence with botanists; entomologists; horticulturists; USDA and USNM administrative staff; foresters and colleagues; seed laboratories; the Torrey Botanical Club, the Wildflower Club, the Biological Society of Washington, and other natural history and scientific societies. The correspondence chiefly concerns the examination, identification, collection, and exchange of botanical specimens especially violets, mosses, grasses, ferns, fern-like plants, food plants, herbs, shrubs, and trees. The correspondence also includes accession lists, annual reports, requests and approvals for field work, nomenclatorial work for the Botanical Club of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and routine correspondence in reference to the publication of Plant World and other publications concerning botanical specimens. Also included are some of Pollard's manuscripts: "New American Species of Chamaecrista," "A New Violet from New Jersey," "The Genus Oxytria of Rafinesque," and "The Two Violets."
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Pollard, Charles Louis, 1872-1945
- United States National Herbarium
- United States. Department of Agriculture
- Plant World
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 222, United States National Museum. Division of Plants, Correspondence