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Blackford, Eliza Beulah, 1847-1935. Eliza Beulah Blackford papers, 1893-1934: A Guide.

Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Botany Libraries, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: far00008
Repository: Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Blackford, Eliza Beulah, 1847-1935
Title: Eliza Beulah Blackford papers
Date(s): 1893-1934
Quantity: 1 collection (8 boxes, 2 cartons in the Farlow Archives, 1 box in the Gray Archives)
Language of materials: English


Blackford donated her papers to the Farlow Herbarium in 1933; they arrived in 1935 following her death.

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:

Eliza Beulah Blackford papers, Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: William Gilson Farlow papers.


Eliza Beulah Blackford (née Larsh) was born to a Quaker family in Eaton, Ohio around 1847. Her early interest in the natural world led her to spend much time outdoors, collecting and painting the plants she found. She married schoolmate Levi P. Blackford in 1869.
Blackford moved to Boston with her husband in the early 1890s and enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1895, where she studied drawing and painting. She became interested in the study of fungi around the same time and was one of the first women to join the newly-established Boston Mycological Club. Blackford joined the staff of the MFA in the Ticketing Office in 1901. She began corresponding with several notable mycologists and dedicated much of her free time to collecting and painting fungi. She also made spore prints, dried specimens, and compiled meticulous field notes of the fungi she gathered.
Blackford sent specimens to mycologists for identification and distributed duplicates to the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and to botanists outside of New England. Charles Horton Peck was perhaps her most important collaborator. Between 1899 and 1915, Blackford provided Peck with hundreds of specimens which led to descriptions of at least ten new species.
Blackford retired from the MFA in 1926 and continued to devote her time to mycology. In 1933 Harvard Professor William "Cap" Weston convinced Blackford to give her artwork to the Farlow Herbarium, where it would be cared for and made available to researchers. Her artwork, correspondence, and spore prints were given to Harvard after her death on January 25, 1935. She is buried at Mound Hill Cemetery in Eaton, Ohio.
Archives of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Eliza Beulah Blackford papers, Archives of the Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University.

Series Description

This collection is arranged in seven series. Series I. Correspondence. Series II. Scrapbook, Notes, and Notebooks. Series III. Spore Prints. Series IV. Paintings, Prints, and Drawings. Sub-Series A. Cryptogamic Plants. Sub-Series B. Vascular Plants. Series V. Photographs. Series VI. Boston Mycological Club. Series VII. Related Items.

Scope and Content

The Blackford papers contain correspondence dating from 1901-1934, scrapbooks, notebooks, spore prints, original artwork, including 605 watercolors of fungi and 217 watercolors of vascular plants, photographs, and various items relating to the Boston Mycological Club. These materials mainly pertain to Blackford's interest in mycology.

Container List