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Lamb, I. Mackenzie (Ivan Mackenzie). Ivan Mackenzie Lamb papers, 1945-1977: 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.: far00025
Repository: Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Lamb, I. Mackenzie (Ivan Mackenzie)
Title: Ivan Mackenzie Lamb papers
Date(s): 1945-1977
Quantity: 6.5 linear feet (5 record cartons, 1 oversize box)
Language of materials: English


The Lamb papers were retained at Harvard after Lamb's retirement.

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:

Ivan Mackenzie Lamb papers, Archives of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany, Harvard University.

Biographical note

Ivan Mackenzie Lamb, later known as Elke Mackenzie, was born in London on September 10, 1911, and grew up in Scotland. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and earned a B.Sc. from Edinburgh University in 1933. He spent the next two years doing research at the Universities of Munich and Würzburg and in 1935 was appointed Assistant Keeper in the Department of Botany at the British Museum of Natural History under lichenologist Annie Lorrain Smith. The following year, Lamb married Maila Elvira Laabejo; the couple had two sons and a daughter.
From 1944-1946 Lamb worked as a botanist with the British expedition to the Antarctic known as "Operation Tabarin." He was the recipient of both the British and U.S. Polar Medals. After his return to Europe Lamb accepted a teaching position at Instituto Lilloa in Tucumán, Argentina. He traveled and collected extensively in Argentina and parts of Brazil during his time in South America. After four years Lamb and his family relocated to Ottawa, Canada, where he worked as a cryptogamic botanist for the Canadian National Museum. In 1953 Lamb was offered the directorship of the Farlow Library and Herbarium and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Lamb returned to Antarctica in 1960 to visit McMurdo Station and again in 1964 to study marine algae with a grant from the National Science Foundation. He spent the next three years traveling and researching in Europe and Central America. Lamb separated from his wife and was given sabbatical leave in 1971 to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Lamb changed her name to Elke Mackenzie and retired from Harvard in 1972. She moved to Costa Rica in 1976 and returned to Cambridge four years later. Mackenzie died in Braintree, Massachusetts, on January 27, 1990.
Llano GA. 1991. I. Mackenzie Lamb, D.Sc. (Elke Mackenzie) (1911-1990). Bryologist 94(3):315-319.

Series Description

The collection is divided into 8 series

Scope and Contents

This collection includes Lamb's correspondence, papers related to his field work, manuscripts, research notes, and plant lists, financial records from his travels and research, illustrations from "Benthic Marine Algae of the Antarctic Peninsula," a logbook of his dives, and photographs.

Container List