Fernald, Merritt Lyndon, 1873-1950. Merritt Lyndon Fernald papers, 1887-1934: A Guide.
Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: gra00023
Repository: Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Fernald, Merritt Lyndon, 1873-1950
Title: Merritt Lyndon Fernald papers
Quantity: 3.1 linear feet (11 boxes, oversize materials in flat file, 4 oversize maps folders in Archives Map
Language of materials: English
The bulk of Fernald's papers likely remained at the Gray Herbarium after his death.
No record has been found of gifts or bequests. The manuscript on Antennaria megacephala
was given to the Gray Herbarium archives by Richard Alden Howard on June 5, 1984.
The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register
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Merritt Lyndon Fernald papers, Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University.
Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria:
- Administrative correspondence of the Gray Herbarium and Harvard University Herbaria,
- Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892
- Botany Libraries photograph collection
- Field notes and plant identification records, approximately 1804-2000
- Jane Gray autograph collection, 1563-1908
Merritt Lyndon Fernald was born in Orono, Maine on October 5, 1873, to Mary Lovejoy
and Merritt Caldwell Fernald. He attended Orono High School and entered Maine State
College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1890. He began publishing notes and articles
in the "Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club" shortly thereafter. Impressed by the
strength of these writings and a letter he received from Fernald in January 1891,
Sereno Watson offered him a position at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University.
Two months later Fernald moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to work half time in the
herbarium while continuing his studies. In the fall of 1891 Fernald enrolled in the
Lawrence Scientific School where he completed a B.S. in 1897. Fernald married Margaret
Howard Grant in 1907. They had three children, Katherine, Henry, and Mary.
Fernald is best known for his work on phytogeography. He combined field work with
herbarium work, and was an expert on the flora of eastern North America. He collected
extensively in Maine and eastern Canada, frequently in the company of Brown University
professor J. Franklin Collins. The two men made some of the first botanical explorations
of the Gaspé Peninsula on several trips starting in 1904. Heart problems forced Fernald
to scale back his explorations and in later years he turned his attention to the plants
In addition to his work at Harvard, Fernald was instrumental in establishing the Alstead
School of Natural History in Alstead, New Hampshire and taught there during the summers
from 1899 to 1901. He was a member of more than a dozen scientific societies and organizations,
including the New England Botanical Club. Fernald also contributed to over 800 publications
in his lifetime. He collaborated with Benjamin Lincoln Robinson on the seventh edition
of "Gray's New Manual of Botany" published in 1908, and completed the eighth edition
("Gray's Manual of Botany") which was published in 1950. He received honorary degrees
from Acadia University in 1933 and the University of Montreal in 1938. In 1949 he
was awarded the Marie-Victorin Medal for services to botany in Canada. Fernald died
on September 22, 1950, in Cambridge.
- 1891 to 1902
- Assistant at the Gray Herbarium
- Curator of the Gray Herbarium
- Director of the Gray Herbarium
- Fisher Professor of Natural History
Merrill ED. 1954. Merritt Lyndon Fernald, 1873-1950. Biogr. Mem. Natl. Acad. Sci.
Pease AS. 1951. Merritt Lyndon Fernald 1873-1950. Rhodora. 53(626):33-39.
The collection is divided into 8 series by subject:
- Series I. Field notebooks and collecting notes. This series includes notebooks, bound
typed volumes, and loose notes pertaining to plant distribution and regional floras,
especially of Canada, dated from 1904 to 1925.
- Series II. Unpublished manuscripts. This series contains unpublished manuscripts and
supporting materials, mostly for articles on phytogeography.
- Series III. Edible Wild Plant materials. Galley proofs, notes, and illustrative matter
for "Edible Wild Plants."
- Series IV. Gray's Manual Revision Materials. Notes used in the revision of "Gray's
Manual of Botany."
- Series V. Membership certificates and honors.
- Series VI. Maps.
- Series VII. Teaching photographs. Mounted black-and-white photographs of plants and
collecting activities used in instruction.
- Series VIII. Gaspé Correspondence. Correspondence to and from Fernald, plus documents
related to Fernald's travels and research, including receipts, research proposals,
telegrams, and a fishing license, dated 1890 to 1929.
The Fernald papers contain field notes, plant identification records and notes, manuscript
material, proofs, notes, illustrations for publications, certificates of membership,
maps, photographs, and correspondence pertaining to Fernald's botanical work. The
bulk of his correspondence is filed separately with the Administrative correspondence
of the Gray Herbarium and Harvard University Herbaria.
Some individual items and groups of related items in the collection have been assigned
Published maps are described on the finding aid and also have individual catalog records.
They are stored in the Gray Herbarium Archives Map Case. Most of the hand drawn or
annotated maps are stored with the collection.
- Series: I. Field notebooks and collecting notes
- Box 1, Object 1, "Notes on Distribution of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland, Labrador and Adjacent Quebec"
Date: 1910-1911, 1914 Fernald Journal 1
- Box 2, Folder 1, Loose notes from "Notes on Distribution of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland, Labrador
and Adjacent Quebec"
Date: 1910-1911, 1914
- Box 1, Object 2, "Notes on Distribution of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland, Labrador, and Adjacent
Quebec" Fernald Journal 2
- Box 1, Object 3, "Notes on the Flora of Sandiest Southeastern Massachusetts"
- Box 1, Object 4, "Notes on the Flora of Nova Scotia"
Date: 1920-1921 Fernald Journal 4
- Box 2, Folder 2, Loose notes from "Notes on the Flora of Nova Scotia"
- Box 1, Object 4a, "Notes on the Flora of Newfoundland. M.L. Fernald, K.M. Wiegand and others"
Date: 1925 Fernald Journal 4a
- Box 2, Folder 3, Loose notes from "Notes on the Flora of Newfoundland. M.L. Fernald, K.M. Wiegand and
- Box 1, Object 5, Diary of trip to Canada,"Plants of Alpine and Subalpine Regions, Mt. Albert, 1905-1906"
Date: 1904 June 29-August 19 Fernald Journal 5
- Box 1, Object 6, Plant lists
Date: 1906 Fernald Journal 6
Scope and Contents: Contains list of plants arranged by regions labeled "For sets 1906," probably by M.L.
Fernald. Also includes "Distribution on Table-topped Mt.," which is a list of plant
names and a chart comparing Mount Albert and Table Top Mountain.
- Box 2, Folder 4, Loose notes from Plant lists
- Box 1, Object 7, "Flora of Gaspé Peninsula and adjacent Quebec and New Brunswick"
Date: 1905 Fernald Journal 7
- Box 1, Object 8, "Vascular Flora of the Gaspé Peninsula and Adjacent Area including the Counties of
Gaspé, Bonaventure, Matane and Rimouski, Quebec"
Date: 1923 Fernald Journal 8
- Box 2, Folder 5, Loose notes from "Vascular Flora of the Gaspé Peninsula and Adjacent Area including
the Counties of Gaspé, Bonaventure, Matane and Rimouski, Quebec"
- Box 1, Object 9, "Flora of Mount Desert" annotated catalogue of plants Fernald Journal 9
- Box 2, Folder 6, Specimen labels
Date: 1923 July
Scope and Contents: Typed "Flora of Quebec" specimen labels. Specimens collected in Gaspé and Matane Counties
by Fernald, Ludlow Griscom, Kenneth Kent Mackenzie, Arthur Stanley Pease, and Lyman
Bradford Smith in the summer of 1923.
- Series: II. Unpublished manuscripts
- Box 2, Folder 12"Driftless Areas and Plant Distribution in Eastern America"
- Box 2, Folder 14"Ranges of northwestern European Plants and their American Representatives"
- Box 2, Folder 15, Plant lists and field notes
Date: approximately 1905-1928 Plant lists and field notes
Scope and Contents: Contains notes and lists entitled "Notes on some eastern Species of Osmorhiza", "Plants
to study in Paris", "Botanical Notes - A. British Museum", "Botanical Notes - B. Linnean
Society", and "Hay Fever Plants in New England". Also contains a description of a
1905 trip to the Gaspé Peninsula with J. Franklin Collins.
- Box 2, Folder 16Glaciation notes
- Box 3, Folder 1, "Coreopsis. Some details derived from the revision by Sherff" Coreopsis
- Box 3, Folder 1"The Survival of Pre-Wisconsin Plants in Northeastern America"
- Box 3, Folder 1Antennaria megacephala description
Scope and Contents: This manuscript contains a description of Antennaria megacephala, Fernald referenced
in Raup HM. 1934. Phytogeographic studies in the Peace and upper Liard River regions,
Canada. Contr. Arnold Arbor. 6:1-230. See page 208.
- Series: III. Edible Wild Plant materials
- Box Flat File, Folder Fernald 1Corrected partial galley proof
- Box 2, Folder 17Alfred C. Kinsey's page notes
- Box 2, Folder 18Manuscript notes
- Box 3, Folders 1-2Manuscript notes on newsprint
- Box Flat File, Folder Fernald 2Manuscript notes on heavy paper
- Series: IV. Gray's Manual revision materials
- Box 2, Folder 19Loose notes found with "Repaired Bibliogr. Gray's Manual, ed. 7 manuscript"
- Box 2, Folder 21, "Descriptive Flora"
Date: 1909 April 20
Scope and Contents: Original housing labeled, "Gray's Field, Forest and Garden Botany I", 1909 April 20.
Possibly a revision of Asa Gray's "Field, Forest, and Garden Botany" which was never
- Box 2, Folder 22"Field Forest + Gard. Bot."
Scope and Contents: Original housing labeled, "Copied ms and clippings." Possibly notes for a revision
of Asa Gray's book, "Field, forest, and Garden Botany," which was not published.
- Box 3, Object 3-5Card files
- Box 3, Object 6"Manual Bibliography" card file
- Series: V. Membership certificates and honors
- Box 2, Folder 23Notices of election and membership certificates
Scope and Contents: American Antiquarian Society, American Academy of Art and Sciences, American Philosophical
Society, National Security League membership certificate, New England Botanical Club,
Nova Scotia Institute of Science, Philadelphia Botanical Club, and Portland Society
of Natural History
- Box 3, Folder 3Notices of election and membership certificates
Scope and Contents: Certificates for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Gold Medal for Edible Wild
Plants, Norske Videnskaps Akademi membership (plus society rules), Association of
American Geographers membership, notice of election to the Linnean Society of London
and to Societas Phytogeographica Suecana (2 certificates).
- Box Flat FileLarge membership certificates
Scope and Contents: Contains notices of election to the Yale Society of the Sigma Xi, Societas Linnaeana
Londinensis, the National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia, and the Franklin Institute, as well as an honorary Doctor of Science,
- Series: VII. Teaching photographs
Scope and Contents: 296 black-and-white photographs mounted on 11" x 14" board; taken in Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Primarily of plants and scenery; some images
of buildings and collecting gear and some of specimens and distribution maps. A few
images are of people, including photographs from exploration of the Gaspé Peninsula
and images of Fernald and his wife in the field. Some photographs have pasted on labels;
many are missing or without labels.
- Box 10Photographs 201-250
- Box 11Photographs 251-
- Series: VIII. Gaspé Peninsula correspondence
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence with Charles Humphrey Bissell, Sidney Fay Blake, Laura M.
Bragg, LeBaron Russell Briggs, Richard Field, Helen C. Gaskin, Melvin R. Gilmore,
George Lincoln Goodale, John M. Gould, Jerome Davis Greene, John P. Haliburton, Herman
Theodor Holm, George M. Houghton, Vincent S. Jones, Clarence H. Knowlton, H.S. Latham,
Eleanor Ashton Lewis, David Hunt Linder, Eugene Lindsay (The Lawrence Newfoundland
Co., Ltd.), Burton E. Livingston, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, James Melville Macoun, James
W. Mercer (Newfoundland Game & Inland Fisheries Board), George T. Moore, George R.
Noyes, Henry L. Osborn, Arthur Stanley Pease, A.W. Piccott (Newfoundland Game & Inland
Fisheries Board), Morten Pedersen Porsild, James Sturgis Pray, Francis M. Rackemann,
Benjamin Rand, William Penn Rich, J.M. Riddell, I.C. Robertson, Reed C. Rollins, A.
McKinley Rose, Albert S. Rose, Harold St. John, J.L. Taylor, Edgar N. Transeau, William
Henry Twenhofel, Sereno Watson, and Mrs. John Whalen.