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Department of Botany records

 Collection 0024-UA
The Department of Botany was established in 1859 as one of the original units of the Maryland Agricultural College. The records of the department consist of correspondence, research notebooks, publications, administrative subject files, and photographs.

Dates

  • 1898-1980

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

14.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Department of Botany records span the period 1898 to 1980. The collection includes research notebooks compiled by department staff and students, publications by faculty member J. B. S. Norton, lists of publications by other faculty members, news clippings related to the department and its faculty, and administrative files. The records also consist of correspondence, covering requests to and from the department for publications, identifications of plant samples sent in to the department, and correspondence with colleagues and former students, a number of whom were serving in World War II. The collection also contains photographs, negatives, and slides of faculty, students, and activities of the Department of Botany.

Administrative History

The Department of Botany at the University of Maryland has a long history, dating back over one hundred years to the founding of the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC). In 1856, the founders of the college established five schools or departments, including the Department of Natural Science. Classes in botany, chemistry, entomology, geology, physics, and practical farming were offered by this department when the college first opened in 1859. Townend Glover, the first Entomologist of the United States, was the first professor of botany at the college.

Throughout the history of MAC and the University of Maryland, various departments offered courses in botany. A general history, taken from course catalogs available from the period, lists the departments as:

  • 1859-1874 School of Natural Science
  • 1875-1879 Department of Agriculture, Architecture and Drawing
  • 1880-1882? Department of Agriculture and Natural History
  • 1883-1887 Department of Agriculture
  • 1889-1892 Department of Natural Science, which included a botany branch
  • 1893-1894 Botanical and Horticultural Department
  • 1897-1898 [Scientific Course]
  • 1898-1899 Department of Botany and Pathology
  • 1899-1902 Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
  • 1903-1918 Department of Botany and Vegetable Pathology
  • 1918-1919 Department of Economic Botany (within the School of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry)
  • 1919-1921 Botanical Group (within School of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry)
  • 1921-1923 Department of General Botany (within College of Arts and Sciences)
  • 1923-1926 Department of Botany (within College of Arts and Sciences)
  • 1926-1974 Department of Botany (within College of Agriculture)
  • 1974-1987 Department of Botany (within the Division of Agricultural and Life Sciences)
  • 1987-1995 Department of Botany (within College of Life Sciences)
  • 1995-1999 Department of Plant Biology (within College of Life Sciences)
  • 1999- Consolidated programs in Microbiology and Plant Biology into a single program, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
The program in botany described in the 1899-1900 course catalog included six courses, five of which were mandatory, to be taken from freshman to senior year. By 1919, the Botanical Group offered courses in botany, plant morphology and mycology, plant physiology, and plant pathology. Thirteen courses, eleven undergraduate and two graduate, were offered in 1921. The curriculum focused on preparing students for careers as "teachers, investigators in state or government experiment stations, inspectors in the field, or for any other vocations which botanists follow."

The Department of Botany did not expand significantly until the 1936-1937 academic year when it enlarged its teaching staff and began to offer a greater number of courses in "three major lines of work: general botany and morphology, plant physiology, and plant pathology." Several years later, the scope of the curriculum was again expanded and described in the 1938-1939 course catalog as a
foundation for students who wish to pursue graduate work in botanical science in preparation for college teaching and for research in state experiment stations, in the United States Department of Agriculture, and in private research institutions and laboratories. Also to provide training for other vocations involving various botanical applications, such as extension work, and positions with seed companies, canning companies, companies making spray materials, and with other commercial concerns.



Over the years, the department increased the scope of courses offered in its three major fields of study to include cytology, cytogenetics and taxonomy, ecology, mycology, marine botany, nematology, virology, and phycology. In 1995, the Botany Department was renamed the Department of Plant Biology. In 1999, Microbiology and Plant Biology were consolidated into a single program, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics.
1859-1874
School of Natural Science
1875-1879
Department of Agriculture, Architecture and Drawing
1880-1882?
Department of Agriculture and Natural History
1883-1887
Department of Agriculture
1889-1892
Department of Natural Science, which included a botany branch
1893-1894
Botanical and Horticultural Department
1897-1898
[Scientific Course]
1898-1899
Department of Botany and Pathology
1899-1902
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
1903-1918
Department of Botany and Vegetable Pathology
1918-1919
Department of Economic Botany (within the School of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry)
1919-1921
Botanical Group (within School of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry)
1921-1923
Department of General Botany (within College of Arts and Sciences)
1923-1926
Department of Botany (within College of Arts and Sciences)
1926-1974
Department of Botany (within College of Agriculture)
1974-1987
Department of Botany (within the Division of Agricultural and Life Sciences)
1987-1995
Department of Botany (within College of Life Sciences)
1995-1999
Department of Plant Biology (within College of Life Sciences)
1999-
Consolidated programs in Microbiology and Plant Biology into a single program, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Arrangement

The records of the Department of Botany have been divided into five series.
Series 1
Correspondence
Series 2
Research
Series 3
Publications
Series 4
Administrative Subject Files
Series 5
Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The records of the Department of Botany were originally transferred to the University of Maryland Libraries in October 1973. Dana Thomas donated another group of records in July 1992. The Department of Plant Biology transferred a third accretion of records in January 1997. James Reveal donated a fourth group of records in May 1998. One folder of research materials, "Notes - Tulipa Research - Botanical Description of Species and Varieties . . . ", by M. W. Woods (a student in the Department of Botany), was transferred to the Records of the Department of Botany (Series II, Box 6, Research Notes) from the Papers of James Reveal in January 2003.

Related Material

Related materials can be found within the University Publications collection: UPUB B6 Botany, Dept. of, which includes laboratory manuals, reports, bulletins, a campus walking tour guide, and issues of the Botany Chronicle. Three Botany professors' papers are included in the Historical Manuscripts collection: The Papers of Ronald Bamford, the Papers of J. B. S. Norton, and the Papers of James Reveal.

Processing Information

Processing of the records of the Department of Botany began in 1996. The personal papers of Dr. Ronald Bamford, former professor and head of the department, were removed and processed as a separate collection. Three blueprints of campus greenhouses were removed from Series IV, Administrative Subject Files, for oversize storage. Issues of the Botany Chronicle and other departmental publications were added to the University Publications collection. The photographs were sleeved in Mylar and placed in photo binders. A scrapbook was disassembled, photocopied, and placed in a photo binder, alternating photocopies and sleeved photographs. Oversized photographs, slides, and negatives are stored flat. Other oversized materials, such as charts, maps, and blueprints, were unfolded, separated from the collection, and placed in a map case. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes, and duplicate materials and materials not relevant to the official functions of the department were discarded. Processing of the records was completed in February 1997, and the guide was written. The addenda to the collection were processed in July 2002, and the guide was revised to reflect the new materials, which comprised of research notebooks and notes, publications, photographs, slides, and a scrapbook.
Title
Guide to the Department of Botany records
Status
Completed
Author
Processed and guide written by Sara Pfaffenbach and Michelle DeMartino.
Date
1997-02-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212