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Call No.: gra00064
Repository: Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Olney, Stephen T. (Stephen Thayer), 1812-1878
Title: Stephen Thayer Olney field notebooks
Quantity: 1 collection (3 notebooks in shared box AA)
Quantity: 112 Leaves
Language of materials: English
Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Asa Gray correspondence files, 32 letters, 1845-1876; Sereno Watson papers, 30 letters, 1869-1872.
Stephen Thayer Olney was born on February 15, 1812, in Providence, Rhode Island to Stephen and Polly Olney (née Thayer). He was educated in Providence and worked for Isaac B. Cooke and Co. before starting the Wauskuck Company, a woolens firm, with Jesse Metcalf. The business was profitable and provided Olney with sufficient wealth and free time to pursue his botanical interests.Olney was particularly interested in the genus Carex and contributed sections on Carices to Sereno Watson's botanical report of the King Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel and to Asa Gray's report on Elihu Hall's Oregon plants. He amassed a large private herbarium and botanical library and corresponded with many prominent botanists.Olney never married. He died in Providence on July 27, 1878 after a period of declining health. He bequeathed his herbarium and library as well as $35,000 to Brown University.SourcesBailey WW. 1880. The Herbaria and Botanical Libraries of the United States, III. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 7(11):116-117.Gray A. 1879. Scientific Intelligence: III. Botany. Am. J. Sci. Arts. 17(98):176-180.Humphrey HB. Stephen Thayer Olney, 1812-1878. In: Makers of North American Botany. New York: Ronald Press; 1961. p.192-193.
The Olney papers consist of three small field notebooks. Two notebooks are covered in leather, one is missing a cover. Notebooks contain field notes and collecting lists, likely of Rhode Island plants. They were probably used in the preparation of Olney's Rhode Island floras.