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gra00046

Robinson, Benjamin Lincoln, 1864-1935. Benjamin Lincoln Robinson 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

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: gra00046
Repository: Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Robinson, Benjamin Lincoln, 1864-1935
Title: Benjamin Lincoln Robinson papers
Date(s): 1878-1935
Quantity: 1 linear foot
Language of materials: English

Provenance:

The bulk of Robinson's papers appear to have been specifically set aside by Robinson as historical records. No formal record of provenance has been found.

Processing Information:

Processed by Lynn McWhood

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:

Benjamin Lincoln Robinson papers, Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria:

Biography

Benjamin Lincoln Robinson was born on November 8, 1864, in Bloomington, Illinois, the youngest of eight children of James Harvey and Latricia Maria Robinson (née Drake). He attended public school and Illinois Normal School before entering Williams College in 1883. Dissatisfied with the opportunities at Williams, Robinson transferred to Harvard College in 1884 and graduated three years later. Shortly after graduation Robinson married Margaret Louise Casson. The couple traveled to Europe and settled in Strasbourg, France, where Robinson began graduate studies with Hermann zu Solms-Laubach in the fall of 1887. He received a Ph.D. in 1889 and returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1890 to take a position as assistant to Sereno Watson at the Harvard University Herbarium at the Harvard Botanic Garden.
After Watson's death in 1892 Robinson became curator of the herbarium, a position he retained for nearly the rest of his life. He was appointed Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany in 1899 but was never active in teaching, focusing instead on his responsibilities as curator. Much of his energy was directed at completing the work started by his predecessors. He published two fascicles of Asa Gray's "Synoptical Flora of North America" in 1895 and 1897, and collaborated with Merritt Lyndon Fernald on the seventh edition of "Gray's New Manual of Botany," published in 1908.
Robinson also oversaw the separation of the herbarium from the Botanic Garden and the organization of the Gray Herbarium in 1897. He attempted to have a new herbarium building constructed but was unsuccessful, eventually settling for reconstructing the building at the Botanic Garden. He did much of the design work himself and the construction was completed in 1915. Robinson was also responsible for establishing and growing a permanent endowment for the Gray Herbarium.
Robinson was a founding member of the New England Botanic Club and served for 30 years as editor of the Club's journal "Rhodora." He published over 200 scientific papers in his lifetime. He took an active role in the discussions of nomenclature at International Botanical Congresses and traveled to Europe several times to participate in congresses and visit herbaria. Robinson was in poor health for the last few years of his life and was further weakened by the death of his wife in 1932. He died on July 27, 1935, at his summer home in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
Source
Fernald ML. 1937. Benjamin Lincoln Robinson. Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 71(10):539-542.

Series Description

Series I. Notebooks primarily contain notes from Robinson's visits to European herbaria in 1905, 1910, and 1927-1928; one notebook contains notes on American herbaria visited in 1916. Series II. Plant notes consist of a ledger book list of plants collected in southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont, and a book containing labels for Robinson's 1894 collections in Newfoundland.Series III. Manuscript material includes notes on Leguminosae for the unpublished 3rd fascicle of "Synoptical Flora of North America," drafts on Eupatorium intended for "Das Pflanzenreich," notes on the Cocos Island flora possibly intended to expand Robinson's "Flora of the Galapagos Islands" (including a hand-drawn map of the island by Henri François Pittier and a portion of manuscript by William Gilson Farlow), a draft of a talk delivered to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in the winter of 1918-1919, and a number of keys and other manuscripts pertaining to Eupatorium. Manuscripts appear to have been carefully reviewed by Robinson. Many bear notes indicating why they were retained. There are no manuscripts of published works. Series IV. Gray's Manual revision material contains correspondence and notes pertaining to corrections of the 7th edition of Asa Gray's "New Manual of Botany." Series V. Diplomas and membership certificates and related correspondence.Series VI. Original artwork contains one pencil drawing.

Scope and Content

The Robinson papers contain notes, collecting lists, unpublished manuscript material, correspondence, and certificates pertaining to Robinson's education, botanical work, and membership in scientific societies. Materials are arranged by format and subject.

Container List


gra00046