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Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 223

United States National Museum. Division of Plants

Records, 1899-1947

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: United States National Museum. Division of Plants
Title: Records
Dates: 1899-1947
Quantity: 15.12 cu. ft. (14 document boxes) (14 tall document boxes)
Collection: Record Unit 223
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

Historical Note

William Ralph Maxon, botanist, was born in Oneida, New York, on February 27, 1877, where he received an early interest in the natural sciences from his father, a newspaper editor, who would take him on long walks through the countryside on Sundays when he was a small boy. Maxon entered Syracuse University in 1894 and received a Ph.B. in 1898. While at Syracuse he developed an interest in ferns, and in the summer of 1898 Maxon left for Columbia University to do postgraduate study on ferns under Lucien Marcus Underwood.

In November 1899, Maxon received an appointment as an aid in the United States National Museum, Division of Plants. Working his way up the professional ladder, Maxon became assistant curator in 1905, associate curator in 1914, and the second curator of that Division (Frederick Vernon Coville held the title of honorary curator, without remuneration, 1894-1937) from February 1, 1937, until May 31, 1946. Retiring in 1946, Maxon became an associate in botany, a position he held until his death on February 25, 1948.

Maxon specialized in the taxonomic study of Pteridophyta, especially those of tropical America, and was considered to be one of the leading systematic pteridologists of his time. He built up the fern collection in the United States National Herbarium from one of relative insignificance to one of the finest in quantity and quality in the western hemisphere. Between 1903 and 1926 he undertook nine major expeditions to tropical America. A heart attack in 1931 put a stop to any further explorations. In 1928, and again in 1930, Maxon worked overseas in European herbaria, including those in London, Copenhagen, and Berlin. Among his scientific papers, one of his most important series of writings was his "Studies of Tropical American Ferns," which was published in Contributions from the United States National Herbarium.

Maxon belonged to numerous scientific societies and was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was an original member and president of the Biologists' Field Club of Washington, and he was president of the American Fern Society, 1898-1899, 1919-1933, and editor and editor-in-chief of its Journal from 1933 until his death. Maxon was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Syracuse University in 1922.

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Descriptive Entry

These records, for the most part, document the history of the collection of the United States National Herbarium (USNH), United States National Museum, Division of Plants, while William Ralph Maxon was aid, assistant curator, associate curator, and curator of the USNH, Division of Plants (1899-1946). This material includes loose incoming and outgoing correspondence between Maxon and U.S. and foreign botanists; colleagues; directors of museums and herbaria; Smithsonian administrative staff officers; botanical collectors and friends. It covers identification, examination, and reports concerning botanical specimens; botanical gifts, loans, or exchanges with other herbaria and collectors; information concerning ferns; carbon copies of Frederick Vernon Coville correspondence regarding recommendations made by Maxon and Joseph Nelson Rose to have leading botanists receive honorary research positions with the USNH; activities of staff members; salaries and annual leave; explorations and collecting expeditions; Maxon's expedition to Cuba (1907) as well as other parts of the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Asia; professional potentiality of colleagues and information concerning the affairs of other botanical institutions; manuscripts; requests for publications and reprints; editing and review of scientific articles; scientific society meetings; outgoing letterpress correspondence concerning the above; and material concerning the American Fern Society and its publication, the American Fern Journal (1924-1931).

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This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 223, United States National Museum. Division of Plants, Records

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Container List

Series 1

INCOMING AND OCCASIONAL OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE, 1899-1947. LOOSE. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY AND IN MOST INSTANCES CHRONOLOGICALLY THEREUNDER.

Incoming correspondence, 1899-1947. For description of general contents, see descriptive entry at the beginning of the finding aid.

Box 1

A

Box 1 of 28

Abrams, LeRoy (1916-1939)

Box 1 of 28

Allen, Paul H.

Box 1 of 28

Alston, A. H. G. (1928-1945)

Box 1 of 28

Ames, Oakes (1917-1939)

Box 1 of 28

Arsene, G. Brother (1937-1940)

Box 1 of 28

Babcock, Ernest B.

Box 1 of 28

Badiarus Manuscript

Box 1 of 28

Bai-Bar

Box 1 of 28

Bailey, Liberty Hyde

Box 1 of 28

Barnhart, John Hendley (1904-1943)

Box 1 of 28

Bartlett, Harley Harris (1926-1947)

Box 1 of 28

Bartram, Edwin Bunting (1924-1945)

Box 1 of 28

Bea-Bow

Box 1 of 28

Benedict, Ralph C. (1908-1937)

Box 1 of 28

Box 2

Blomquist, H. L.

Box 2 of 28

Box, Harold E.

Box 2 of 28

Bra-Bri

Box 2 of 28

Bracelin, Mrs. H. P.

Box 2 of 28

Britton, Elizabeth Gertrude (1902-1911)

Box 2 of 28

Britton, Nathaniel Lord (1901-1932)

Box 2 of 28

Bro-But

Box 2 of 28

Broun, Maurice

Box 2 of 28

Cal-Clu

Box 2 of 28

Chase, Agnus

Box 2 of 28

Ching, R. C. (1927-1940)

Box 2 of 28

Christ, H.

Box 2 of 28

Christensen, Carl (1905-1939)

Box 2 of 28

Box 3

Chrysler, Mintin Asbury (1924-1946)

Box 3 of 28

Clausen, Robert T.

Box 3 of 28

Clokey, Ira M.

Box 3 of 28

Collum, Rose E.

Box 3 of 28

Copeland, E. B. (2 folders)

Box 3 of 28

Copeland, Herbert F.

Box 3 of 28

Cor-Cut

Box 3 of 28

Coville, Frederick Vernon

Box 3 of 28

Dai-Dix

Box 3 of 28

Davenport, George E.

Box 3 of 28

Deam, Charles Clemon (1929-1941)

Box 3 of 28

Degener, Otto

Box 3 of 28

Demaree, Delzie

Box 3 of 28

Diels, L. (1914-1937)

Box 3 of 28

Dixon, H. N.

Box 3 of 28

Dod-Dut

Box 3 of 28

Box 4

Eat-Eye

Box 4 of 28

Eames, Arthur J.

Box 4 of 28

Eastwood, Alice (1911-1941)

Box 4 of 28

Eaton, A. A. (1899-1907). Includes a copy of a letter from David Cady Eaton to Hooker, 3/6/1862.

Box 4 of 28

Ekman, E. L.

Box 4 of 28

Epling, Carl (1924-1942)

Box 4 of 28

Evans, Alexander William (1903-1943)

Box 4 of 28

F

Box 4 of 28

Fernald, Merritt Lyndon (1913-1945)

Box 4 of 28

Ga-Go

Box 4 of 28

Gleason, Henry Allen (1918-1946)

Box 4 of 28

Greenman, Jesse M. (1913-1944)

Box 4 of 28

Gr-Gu

Box 4 of 28

Box 5

Ha-He

Box 5 of 28

Hall, Harvey Monroe (1913-1945). Includes Hall's "Proposal for an International Bureau of Plant Taxonomy," 1930.

Box 5 of 28

Happ, George B.

Box 5 of 28

Hargitt, C. W.

Box 5 of 28

Harper, Roland M.

Box 5 of 28

Harris, William (1903-1920)

Box 5 of 28

Hatch, W. R.

Box 5 of 28

Haught, Oscar

Box 5 of 28

Haynes, Caroline C. (1927-1940)

Box 5 of 28

Hayward, Wyndham

Box 5 of 28

Hendry, Isabel B. Concerning her grandfather, William Dunlop Brackenridge.

Box 5 of 28

Herrera, Fortunato L.

Box 5 of 28

Heuvrard, H.

Box 5 of 28

Hi-Hu

Box 5 of 28

Hill, Arthur Sir (1922-1939)

Box 5 of 28

Hinton, James C.

Box 5 of 28

Hitchcock, C. Leo

Box 5 of 28

Holdridge, Leslie R.

Box 5 of 28

Holttum, R. E.

Box 5 of 28

House, Homer Doliver (1912-1938)

Box 5 of 28

Howe, Marshall Avery (1901-1936)

Box 5 of 28

Hulten, Eric (1933-1945)

Box 5 of 28

Box 6

Hume, H. Harold (1934-1938)

Box 6 of 28

I-J

Box 6 of 28

Jepson, Willis Linn (1918-1937)

Box 6 of 28

Johnson, Duncan S.

Box 6 of 28

Johnston, Ivan Murry (1921-1927)

Box 6 of 28

Just, Theodor (1936-1945)

Box 6 of 28

K

Box 6 of 28

Kearney, Thomas Henry (1933-1939)

Box 6 of 28

Keissler, Karl

Box 6 of 28

Killip, Ellsworth Paine (1916-1946)

Box 6 of 28

Knobloch, Irving W.

Box 6 of 28

L (2 folders)

Box 6 of 28

Lemee, A.

Box 6 of 28

Leon, Brother (1921-1945)

Box 6 of 28

Lindman, Carl

Box 6 of 28

Lundell, Cyrus Longworth (1931-1943) (2 folders)

Box 6 of 28

Lyonnet, E.

Box 6 of 28

Box 7

Ma

Box 7 of 28

Macbride, J. Francis

Box 7 of 28

Mackenzie, Kenneth M. (1912-1933)

Box 7 of 28

Macoun, J. M.

Box 7 of 28

Mains, E. B.

Box 7 of 28

Makrinius, Emil

Box 7 of 28

Martinez, Maximino

Box 7 of 28

Maxon, William Ralph (1899-1930). Includes correspondence regarding his salary; report to Richard Rathbun on collecting in eastern Cuba with correspondence relating to this expedition (1907). (2 folders)

Box 7 of 28

Maxon, William Ralph. Mss. on "Ferns" for one of his radio talks (5/1/1926); manuscript on "Cibotium," and "The North American tree-ferns of the genus Dicksonia."

Box 7 of 28

Mc-My

Box 7 of 28

Merrill, Elmer Drew (1905-1946) (3 folders)

Box 7 of 28

Merrill, G. K.

Box 7 of 28

Mertie, J. B., Jr.

Box 7 of 28

Box 8

Metcalf, Franklin P. (1925-1941)

Box 8 of 28

Mexia, Ynes E. (1925-1931)

Box 8 of 28

Middleton, Margaret. Regarding the biography of John Wolf.

Box 8 of 28

Millspaugh, Charles Frederick (1901-1923)

Box 8 of 28

Moldenke, Harold Norman (1929-1944)

Box 8 of 28

Morrison, John L.

Box 8 of 28

Morton, Conrad Vernon (1933-1942)

Box 8 of 28

Moxley, George L.

Box 8 of 28

Munz, P. A.

Box 8 of 28

N-O

Box 8 of 28

Nelson, Aven (1913-1941)

Box 8 of 28

O'Neill, Hugh Father

Box 8 of 28

P

Box 8 of 28

Palmer, T. Chalkey

Box 8 of 28

Parish, S. B.

Box 8 of 28

Pennell, Francis Whittier (1913-1942) (2 folders)

Box 8 of 28

Pfeiffer, Norma E.

Box 8 of 28

Phillips, E. Percy

Box 8 of 28

Pilger, R.

Box 8 of 28

Piper, Charles Vancouver (1919-1924)

Box 8 of 28

Pittier, Henri (1914-1940) (2 folders)

Box 8 of 28

Box 9

Porsild, Alf Erling (1937-1945)

Box 9 of 28

Pringle, Cyrus Guernsey

Box 9 of 28

Purpus, C. A.

Box 9 of 28

Quested, Adrien (1938-1946)

Box 9 of 28

Quisumbing, Eduardo

Box 9 of 28

R (3 folders)

Box 9 of 28

Ramsbottom, J.

Box 9 of 28

Record, Samuel J.

Box 9 of 28

Rehder, Alfred (1925-1940)

Box 9 of 28

Robinson, Benjamin Lincoln (1901-1934) (3 folders)

Box 9 of 28

Rock, Joseph Francis (1917-1946)

Box 9 of 28

Rose, Joseph Nelson (1928, 1936). Continuation of Rose's correspondence by Maxon after Rose's death.

Box 9 of 28

Box 10

S (4 folders)

Box 10 of 28

Samuelsson, Gunnar

Box 10 of 28

Schaffner, John H. (1919-1932)

Box 10 of 28

Schellenberg, Gustav

Box 10 of 28

Schmidt, O. C.

Box 10 of 28

Schneider, Camillo

Box 10 of 28

Schweinfurth, Charles

Box 10 of 28

Seifriz, William (1920-1941)

Box 10 of 28

Setchell, William Albert (1911-1931)

Box 10 of 28

Shannon, Raymond C.

Box 10 of 28

Skutch, Alexander F. (1933-1945) (3 folders)

Box 10 of 28

Sleumer, H.

Box 10 of 28

Small, John Kunkel (1934-1937)

Box 10 of 28

Smith, Albert C. (1931-1946)

Box 10 of 28

Box 11

Smith, John Donnell

Box 11 of 28

Soxman, G. M.

Box 11 of 28

Sperry, Omer E.

Box 11 of 28

Standley, Paul Carpenter (1916-1946) (2 folders)

Box 11 of 28

Steele, Edward Strieby (1922-1944). Includes biographical note by George W. Dalzell.

Box 11 of 28

Steere, William Campbell

Box 11 of 28

Stehle, Henri (1935-1945)

Box 11 of 28

St. John, Robert P.

Box 11 of 28

Sudworth, G. B.

Box 11 of 28

Swingle, Walter Tennyson (1912-1929)

Box 11 of 28

T

Box 11 of 28

Taylor, William Randolph (1926-1944)

Box 11 of 28

Tharp, B. C.

Box 11 of 28

Thompson, J. William

Box 11 of 28

Thornber, J. J.

Box 11 of 28

Tilden, Josephine E.

Box 11 of 28

Tilton, George H.

Box 11 of 28

Tonduz, Ad.

Box 11 of 28

Train, Percy

Box 11 of 28

Trelease, William (1912-1939)

Box 11 of 28

Trelease, William (1920) (Accession 16-338)

Box 11 of 28

Box 12

U-V

Box 12 of 28

Underwood, Lucien M. (1902-1906)

Box 12 of 28

Urban, Ignatius (1911-1930)

Box 12 of 28

Verdoorn, Frans (1933-1936)

Box 12 of 28

W

Box 12 of 28

Wagner, Warren Herbert Jr. (1937-1945)

Box 12 of 28

Walker, Egbert Hamilton (1933-1944)

Box 12 of 28

Weatherby, Charles Alfred (1916-1947) (3 folders)

Box 12 of 28

Wetmore, Alexander (1927-1944)

Box 12 of 28

Wherry, Edgar Theodore (1931-1938)

Box 12 of 28

Wiggins, Ira L.

Box 12 of 28

Whitford, A. C.

Box 12 of 28

Box 13

Williams, Louis Otho (1938-1943)

Box 13 of 28

Williams, R. S.

Box 13 of 28

Woodson, Robert Everard Jr. (1928-1943)

Box 13 of 28

X-Z

Box 13 of 28

Journal - Cuba, 1907

Box 13 of 28

Series 2

OFFICIAL OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE, WILLIAM RALPH MAXON, 1899-1931. BOUND. INDEXED.

Outgoing letterpress correspondence, February 25, 1899-August 18, 1931. Indexed. 41 volumes. For general contents regarding the material, see the descriptive entry at the beginning of the finding aid. Letterpress correspondence usually corresponds to incoming correspondence when there is a lengthy and continuing correspondence with an individual.

Box 14

February 25, 1899-June 27, 1906 (3 volumes)

Box 14 of 28

Box 15

July 2, 1906-June 21, 1911 (3 volumes)

Box 15 of 28

Box 16

July 13, 1911-December 29, 1913 (3 volumes)

Box 16 of 28

Box 17

January 2, 1914-May 11, 1915 (3 volumes)

Box 17 of 28

Box 18

May 8, 1915-October 26, 1916 (3 volumes)

Box 18 of 28

Box 19

October 27, 1916-November 5, 1918 (3 volumes)

Box 19 of 28

Box 20

November 5, 1918-August 13, 1920 (3 volumes)

Box 20 of 28

Box 21

August 16, 1920-January 19, 1922 (3 volumes)

Box 21 of 28

Box 22

January 20, 1922-November 16, 1923 (3 volumes)

Box 22 of 28

Box 23

November 17, 1923-May 4, 1925 (3 volumes)

Box 23 of 28

Box 24

May 1, 1925-May 7, 1927 (3 volumes)

Box 24 of 28

Box 25

May 7, 1927-March 7, 1929 (3 volumes)

Box 25 of 28

Box 26

March 8, 1929-December 10, 1930 (3 volumes)

Box 26 of 28

Box 27

December 11, 1930-August 18, 1931 (2 volumes)

Box 27 of 28

Series 3

OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE, AMERICAN FERN SOCIETY AND AMERICAN FERN JOURNAL (WILLIAM RALPH MAXON), 1924-1931. BOUND. INDEXED.

Personal outgoing letterpress correspondence, 1924-1931. Indexed. 1 volume. Mostly concerns the American Fern Society and the American Fern Journal while Maxon was president of the Society. Though this correspondence seems to be with those same persons with whom Maxon carried on official incoming correspondence, see series 1, there appears to be no correlation between the contents of this volume and the incoming correspondence. It appears that Maxon kept aside personal papers which, except for this volume, did not make their way into these records. Besides correspondence regarding the American Fern Society and its Journal, contents include correspondence concerning specimen collections and other scientific societies.

Box 28

Box, Harold E.

Box 28 of 28

Ferns of Jamaica, Volume 1

Box 28 of 28

North American Ferns, Polypodium

Box 28 of 28

Notes on Cyatheaceae

Box 28 of 28

Photographs: Tropical station and laboratory; Cinchona, Jamaica

Box 28 of 28

Photographs: Kew

Box 28 of 28

Photograph: British Museum Herbarium

Box 28 of 28

Photographs: Botanisk Have, Copenhagen

Box 28 of 28

Photograph: Naturhistoriska Riksmuseum, Stockholm

Box 28 of 28

Photographs: Botanischer Garten, Berlin

Box 28 of 28

Specimen notes

Box 28 of 28