Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7272
Coville, Frederick V. (Frederick Vernon), 1867-1937
Frederick Vernon Coville Papers, 1888-1936 and undated
Frederick Vernon Coville (1867-1937), botanist and blueberry breeder, was born in New York and educated at Cornell University (B. A., 1887). His important field work included the Geological Survey of Arkansas, 1888; the Death Valley Expedition, 1891; and the Harriman Alaska Expedition, 1899. Most of his career was spent at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he served as Assistant Botanist, 1888-1893, and Botanist, 1893-1937. He was also Honorary Curator of the United States National Herbarium, 1893-1937, and was instrumental in the establishment of the National Arboretum in 1927. More extensive biographical material can be found in Science, Volume 85, 280-281.
These papers of Frederick Vernon Coville were part of a group of Smithsonian Department of Botany records which were originally deposited in 1971 at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. In December 1977, the records were returned to the Smithsonian for maintenance in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
These papers consist of a small amount of correspondence, 1888-1921; material concerning the Medicinal Plants Survey, 1897-1898; notes concerning the revision of Coville's work on Death Valley plants, 1933-1936; and a small group of manuscript notes on currants and gooseberries, undated. Events and items of special interest which are documented in the correspondence include the explorations of Per Axel Rydberg in the Black Hills; the artistic work of Frederick A. Walpole; the acquisition of the Greene Herbarium; the botany exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893; and the Mearns collection from the Mexican Boundary Survey, 1893.
The Smithsonian Archives contains other Coville correspondence scattered throughout a number of collections. Most of this material can be found in the records of the Division of Plants, particularly Record Units 220, 221, 222, and 224. Other collections include Record Unit 201, Assistant Secretary in Charge of the United States National Museum, 1875-1902, and the records of the Office of the Secretary, Record Units 31, 34, 45, and 46. The main body of Coville's official correspondence is located in Record Group 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, at the National Archives.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Coville, Frederick V. (Frederick Vernon), 1867-1937
- Rydberg, Per Axel, 1860-1931
- Walpole, Frederick A., 1861-1904
- Mearns, Edgar Alexander, 1856-1916
- Medicinal Plants Survey, 1897-1898
- Edward L. Greene Herbarium
- United States-Mexican International Boundary Survey, 1891-1894
- Cornell University
- Geological Survey of Arkansas
- United States. Department of Agriculture
- United States National Herbarium
- National Arboretum (U.S.)
- World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)
- Death Valley Expedition (1891)
- Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899)
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7272, Frederick Vernon Coville Papers