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ecb00004

Schultes, Richard Evans, 1915-2001. Richard Evans Schultes papers, 1925-2003: A Guide.

Economic Botany Archives of Oakes Ames, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Economic Botany Archives of Oakes Ames, Botany Libraries, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: ecb00004
Repository: Economic Botany Archives of Oakes Ames, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Schultes, Richard Evans
Title: Richard Evans Schultes papers
Date(s): 1925-2003
Quantity: 5.4 linear feet (4 cartons, 1 document box, 2 card file boxes, and 1 oversize folder)
Language of materials: English

Provenance:

The bulk of the collection was transferred to the archives when Schultes retired in 1988. Additional materials were left in his office and transferred to the archives at various times.
Correspondence between Schultes and William A. Emboden was given to Harvard on long-term deposit as part of the Julio Santo Domingo collection in 2012. It is filed with Series I. Correspondence.

Processing Information:

Processed by Zachary Bodnar and Keiko Nishimoto, 2017.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide two forms of valid photo identification. Please contact botref@oeb.harvard.edu for additional information.

Preferred Citation:

Richard Evans Schultes papers, Archives of the Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Botany Libraries photograph collection.
Other related material at Harvard University: Papers of Richard Evans Schultes [accessions], 1952-1997, Harvard University Archives.

Biographical note

Richard Evans Schultes was born on January 12, 1915, in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended public schools before entering Harvard University in 1933. Schultes intended to pursue medicine but shifted his focus after taking a course in economic botany with Oakes Ames during his junior year. Schultes completed his A.B. in 1937 and went on to complete A.M. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard in 1938 and 1941, respectively.
After receiving his doctorate Schultes accepted a position as a research associate at the Harvard Unviersity Botanical Museum. Later that year he received a 10-month travel grant from the National Research Council to study curare in the Amazon. Schultes was working in the field when he learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent American entry into World War II. He immediately traveled to the American Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia, to enlist. With Asian rubber plantations under Japanese control, Schultes was instructed to remain in the Amazon and utilize his botanical expertise to find alternative sources of rubber for the Allied Forces.
Over the next 12 years Schultes worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry and collected approximately 3,500 specimens of the Hevea rubber tree. In 1942 he was also awarded a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation to conduct ethnobotanical research. Most of his time in the Amazon was spent with indigenous tribes from whom he learned medicinal and economic uses of plants.
Schultes returned to Harvard in 1953 to become curator of the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium but traveled frequently to the Amazon basin. In 1958 he was appointed curator of ethnobotany at the Harvard University Botanical Museum. He held this position until 1967 when he became executive director. From 1970 until 1985 Schultes was director of the Museum. Beginning in 1970 he also taught classes at the Harvard Extension School. He was appointed Paul C. Mangelsdorf Professor of Natural Sciences in 1973 and Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology in 1980. He was named Professor Emeritus when he retired in 1985.
Schultes married Dorothy Crawford McNeil, a professional opera singer, in 1959. They had three children: Richard, and twins Alexandra and Neil.
Schultes contributed to over 350 publications and served on editorial boards for several scientific periodicals. HeSchultes was the recipient of the Tyler Ecology Prize and the World Wildlife Fund Gold Medal in 1984 and the Harvard Medal and the Linnean Medal in 1992. Three genera and over 120 species bear his name. In 1986 the government of Colombia designated a 2.2 million acre protected area "Sector Schultes" in his honor. He died in Boston on April 10, 2001.
Sources
Sequeira L. 2006. Richard Evan Schultes. Biogr. Mem. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88:338-351.
Pfister DH, Solbrig OT, Wilson EO, Wood CE. Richard Evans Schultes: Memorial minute. Harvard Gazette, September 18, 2003.
Prance GT. 2001. Richard Evans Schultes, (12 January 1915-10 April 2001): A tribute. Econ. Bot. 55(3):347-362.

Series description

The collection is divided into 10 series:Series I. Correspondence, 1925-1999: Contains personal and botanical correspondence from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, former students, and family; one photograph; picture postcards; greeting card.Series II. Identification and classification notes, approximately 1935-1995: Contains notes on identification and classification as well as ethnobotanical uses of plants and collection details. Includes photocopies of collection lists, a card file, photographs, negatives, and other visual media. Series III. Hevea research, approximately 1942-1997: Contains correspondence and research notes on the history and classification of rubber species. Includes a few clippings and plates. Series IV. Ethnobotanical research, approximately 1970-1995: Contains research material and notes on plant species and their medicinal uses. Includes visual media.Series V. Manuscript material, 1983-20031998: Contains manuscripts and notes that appear to be first drafts of books, papers, and talks. Series VI. Field notes, 1938-1982: Contains notebooks, collecting lists, and specimen labels relating to plant collections of Schultes and his colleagues.Series VII. Maps, 1930-1984: Contains published and hand-drawn maps of South America and the Amazon River basin relating to Schultes's work and interests in the area.Series VIII. Biographical and administrative material, 1946-2003: Contains biographical sketches, clippings, correspondence, photographic material, and paper ephemera pertaining to Schultes's life and administration of the Harvard Botanical Museum.Series IX. Photographic material, approximately 1931-1995: Contains photographs, negatives, glass and plastic 35mm slides, glass lantern slides, a scrapbook, and original artwork. Images are of plant specimens and Schultes's time in South America. Many images in this series were used in Schultes's publications; some are marked for reproduction.Series X. Audiovisual material: Contains cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CDs, and diskettes.

Scope and content

This collection contains correspondence, research notes, manuscripts and other publication material, printed matter, collecting lists, plant identification and classification lists and notes, maps, photographic material, prints, and clippings pertaining to Schultes's field work and research. The bulk of the collection is photographic material and research notes on rubber and ethnobotany.

Container List


ecb00004