Davenport, Geo. E. (George Edward), 1833-1907. George Edward Davenport papers, 1872-1907:
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.: gra00067
Repository: Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Davenport, Geo. E. (George Edward), 1833-1907
Title: George Edward Davenport papers
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (File cabinet P1, Box 1, Map Case drawer 3, photo collection file cabinet)
Language of materials: English
The bulk of the collection was donated by Davenport's daughter, Mary Elizabeth Davenport,
in 1922 and 1924. Smaller gifts of Davenport correspondence were given to the Gray
Herbarium by Davenport's grandson George Edward Davenport Yantis, Dr. Mildred Faust
of Syracuse University, Nettie M. Sadler, and Benjamin Lincoln Robinson. The North
American Fern Herbarium index was deposited at the Gray Herbarium in September 1931
by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society; ownership was transferred to the Gray
The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register
and provide two forms of valid photo identification. Please contact email@example.com
for additional information.
George Edward Davenport papers, Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University.
Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria
- Asa Gray correspondence files, 1832-1892
- Botany Libraries portrait collection
- Jane Gray autograph collection
Letters from Davenport in the Administrative correspondence of the Gray Herbarium
and Harvard University Herbaria, 1890-1965
- Baker, John Gilbert, 3 letters
- Conant, Woodbury Page, 3 letters
- Farlow, William Gilson, 1 letter (Folder 7)
- Hall, Franklin Wilson, 1 letter
- Horner, Charlotte Nichols (née Saunders), 5 letters
- Hosmer, Jane, 2 letters
- Leggett, William Henry, 1 letter
- Terry, Emily (née Hitchcock), 2 letters (Folder 2)
- Tilton, George Henry, 2 letters
- Woolson, Grace A., 5 letters
George Edward Davenport was born in Boston on August 3, 1833, to William and Deborah
Skidmore Davenport. He attended public school in Boston and was interested in botany
from an early age. Davenport married Mary Frances Cronin in 1854; they had ten children,
eight of whom survived to adulthood. From the time of their marriage until 1875, they
lived in South Boston. In 1875, the family moved to Medford, where Davenport spent
the rest of his life.
Davenport joined the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1872 and his focus on
ferns developed after a collecting trip with Ebenezer Herring Hitchings in 1873. In
1875 he gave the Society his herbarium of North American ferns which he continued
to add to for the rest of his life. Around this time he began to publish his botanical
writings. His early articles appeared in the "Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club"
and the "Botanical Gazette." His later articles were primarily published in "Rhodora"
and the "Fern Bulletin." Davenport also maintained a personal herbarium of fern specimens
from around the world.
In addition to his work on ferns, Davenport wrote about forestry and horticulture,
publishing over 100 articles and several monographs. It was reported in the 1901 "Fern
Bulletin" that he was working on a manual of the ferns of North America. He continued
to work on the manual for several years, but it was not completed at the time of his
In 1878 Davenport helped found the Middlesex Scientific Field Club, later the Middlesex
Institute, which was active in promoting the conservation of the Middlesex Fells.
He was a founding member of the New England Botanical Club, a corresponding member
of the Torrey Botanical Club, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He was also active in the Linnaean Fern Chapter, later the American Fern Society,
serving as president for one term. He carried on extensive correspondence with both
professional and amateur fern specialists, and was consulted often in the naming of
newly discovered western American and Mexican ferns.
He also participated in civic affairs, serving on the Medford school board for 18
years. He was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, and was interested in labor
Davenport died on November 29, 1907, while walking in the Middlesex Fells.
Clute WN. 1907. In Memorium. Fern Bull. 15(3):68-70.
Collins FS. 1908. George Edward Davenport. Rhodora. 10(109):1-9.
Davenport GE. 1902. Early Fern Study in America. Fern Bull. 10(4):97-101.
Editorial. Fern Bull. 9(2):44; 1901.
The collection is divided into four series: Correspondence, Manuscripts, Photographs,
and John Williamson etchings.Series I. Correspondence. Davenport's correspondence was combined into one series within the Davenport papers
for ease of use. Unaddressed letters may remain in the Asa Gray correspondence files.
The bulk of Davenport's correspondence consists of around 2000 letters to Davenport
from about 340 correspondents, dated 1872-1907, primarily pertaining to Davenport's
botanical work. There are also a few letters from Davenport to various recipients.
Correspondents are mostly amateur and professional botanists and fern specialists;
roughly one quarter are women. Many letters appear to have been mounted at one time
and 125 postcards remain mounted.
Correspondents with 40 or more letters include:
Series II. Manuscripts. This series contains seven unpublished manuscripts dating from about 1879-1899. It
also contains an index to the shelf locations of Davenport's North American Fern Herbarium
and a few herbarium sheets.Series III. Photographs. Photographs consist of pictures of ferns and portraits of Davenport, divided into
four subseries. Subseries A. "Ferns of New England." Contains a photograph album with 38 pairs of
albumen prints and corresponding cyanotypes and three unpaired images; some images
appear to be duplicates. The photographs are of herbarium specimens and were taken
by Davenport. The subseries also contains a printed circular offering Ferns of New
England specimens for sale and loose photographs from the Ferns of New England series,
including 19 albumen prints and 15 cyanotypes.Subseries B. Photographs for sale. Contains 12 albumen prints of Arizona and Mexico
photographs taken by Cyrus Guernsey Pringle and 2 of the Middlesex Fells taken by
Davenport. Also contains a printed card advertising both sets of photographs for sale
along with their prices.Subseries C. Specimen photographs. Contains three mounted photographs of plant specimens
- two on herbarium sheets.Subseries D. George E. Davenport portraits.
Containing five portraits of Davenport. One portrait, which appeared in Fern Bulletin
15, no. 3 (1907), was moved here from the Davenport correspondence. Four additional
portraits labeled in Mary Elizabeth Davenport's handwriting are filed in the Botany
Libraries photograph collection (nos. 0091, 0092, 0093, and 0094).Series IV. John Williamson etchings.This series includes an unbound set of etchings prepared for Davenport by John Williamson.
- Eaton, Daniel Cady - Professor of Botany at Yale, fern specialist
- Gilbert, Benjamin Davis - amateur botanist interested in ferns
- Lown, Clarence - amateur plant collector interested in ferns
- Myers, Florence J. - amateur botanist, active in the Syracuse Botanical Club
- Pringle, Cyrus Guernsey - professional plant collector
- Robinson, John - botanist, published on ferns
- Rust, Mary Olivia - amateur botanist, active in the Syracuse Botanical Club
- Slosson, Margaret - botany student interested in ferns, active in the Linnaean Fern
- Stout, William - amateur botanist interested in ferns
- Terry, Emily Hitchcock - Matron of Hubbard House at Smith College, amateur botanist
interested in ferns
- Underwood, Lucien Marcus - professor of botany at Columbia University, fern specialist
- Williamson, John - metalworker, artist, and amateur botanist interested in ferns
The Davenport papers contain correspondence, manuscripts, herbarium sheets, photographs,
etchings, a family tree, and paper ephemera. The bulk of the Davenport papers consists
of correspondence dated 1872-1907, primarily pertaining to Davenport's botanical interests.
- Series: I. Correspondence
Scope and Contents: The following is a list of senders of the Davenport letters, with notations of number
of letters and their inclusive years for each sender. In most cases the names of senders
serve as folder titles; when "mounted postcards" are mentioned, however, users must
refer to the postcard files at the end of the alphabet.
- Drawer P1, Andrews, Albert LeRoy
Date: 1900-1901 Andrews, A
- Drawer P1, Birkenhead, W.J. (nursery and seedsmen)
Date: 1878-1879 Birkenhead, W.J.
- Drawer P1, Britton, Elizabeth Gertrude (née Knight)
Date: 1886-1901 Britton, E.
- Drawer P1, Britton, Nathaniel Lord
Date: 1889-1896 Britton, N.
- Drawer P1, Brown, Addison
Date: 1878-1883 Brown, A.
- Drawer P1, Brown, S.A.
Date: 1897-1898 Brown, S.
- Drawer P1, Buckley, Samuel Botsford
Date: 1874 Buckley
- Drawer P1, Burbank, H.H.
Date: 1889 Burbank
- Drawer P1, Burgess, I.I.W.
Date: 1884-1887 Burgess
- Drawer P1, Burnham, Florence I.W.
Date: undated Burnham, F.
- Drawer P1, Burnham, Steward Henry
Date: 1900-1901 Burnham, S.
- Drawer P1, Butler, Faustina
Date: undated Butler, F.
- Drawer P1, Butler, L., Miss
Date: undated Butler, L.
- Drawer P1, Clapp, Ida (Mrs. J.B.)
Date: 1901 Clapp, Ida
- Drawer P1, Eaton, Daniel Cady
Date: 1873-1890 Eaton, Daniel
Scope and Contents: Fifty-nine letters, one list, one telegram, five postcards; botanical content, including
copies of correspondence between Eaton and J. Donnell Smith; one personal letter from
Eaton's wife, Caroline.
- Drawer P1, Fuller, Lucy Derby
Date: 1901 Fuller, L.
- Drawer P1, Fuller, Julius R.
Date: 1883 Fuller, J.
- Drawer P1, Gibbons, William Peters
Date: 1874-1876 Gibbons
- Drawer P1, Gifford, I.S. (Mrs. Henry S.)
Date: 1878-1883, undated Gifford
- Drawer P1, Gillett, Edward
Date: 1878, 1880 Gillett
- Drawer P1, Grant, John Marshall
Date: 1873-1874, undated Grant, J.
- Drawer P1, Grant, Margaret H
Date: undated Grant, M.
- Drawer P1, Graves, Charles Burr
Date: 1896-1902 Graves, C.
- Drawer P1, Green, Henry Albert
Date: 1881 Green
- Drawer P1, Greenman, Jesse More
Date: 1896-1903 Greenman
- Drawer P1, Griffin, Delia Isabel
Date: 1905-1906 Griffin
- Drawer P1, Guttenberg, Gustavus [Gustav von]
Date: 1880 Guttenberg
- Drawer P1, Haines, Thomas Harvey
Date: 1898 Haines
- Drawer P1, Harger, A.
Date: 1878 Harger
- Drawer P1, Harwood, G.S. Mrs.
Date: 1906 Harwood
- Drawer P1, Haskins, C.C.
Date: 1876 Haskins
- Drawer P1, Hawes, C.A.
Date: 1904 Hawes
- Drawer P1, Hawley, Helen D.
Date: 1877-1879 Hawley
- Drawer P1, Hazen, Tracy Elliot
Date: 1903 Hazen
- Drawer P1, Heacock, Edward R.
Date: 1905, 1907 Heacock
- Drawer P1, Higginson, Storrow
Date: 1871-1887, undated Higginson
- Drawer P1, Hinckley, A.J.
Date: 1903 Hinckley
- Drawer P1, Holden, Issac
Date: 1887-1888 Holden
- Drawer P1, Holland, J.W.
Date: 1884 Holland
- Drawer P1, Holm, Theodor
Date: 1900-1901 Holm
- Drawer P1, Hooker, Joseph Dalton
Date: 1878 Hooker
- Drawer P1, Horner, Charlotte Nichols (née Saunders)
Date: 1885-1905 Horner
- Drawer P1, Horsford, Frederick Hinsdale
Date: 1886, 1898 Horsford
- Drawer P1, Horton, Frances Belle
Date: 1900-1905, undated Horton
- Drawer P1, Hosmer, Abby P. (also Abbie)
Date: 1878 Hosmer, A.
- Drawer P1, Hosmer, Jane
Date: 1874-1876 Hosmer, J.
- Drawer P1, Hotchkiss, Mary T.
Date: 1881 Hotchkiss
- Drawer P1, Howell, Thomas Jefferson
Date: 1883-1895 Howell, T.
- Drawer P1, Hulst, George Duryee
Date: 1885 Hulst
- Drawer P1, Humphrey, George W.
Date: 1876 Humphrey
- Drawer P1, Huntington, John Warren
Date: 1897 Huntington
- Drawer P1, Isaman, S. George
Date: 1879-1882 Isaman
- Drawer P1, Jellett, Edwin Costley
Date: 1901 Jellett
- Drawer P1, Jenks, Charles William
Date: 1902 Jenks
- Drawer P1, Jesup, Henry Griswold
Date: 1875-1878 Jesup
- Drawer P1, Jones, Marcus Eugene
Date: 1880-1907 Jones, M.E.
- Drawer P1, Keeler, Henry Dutton
Date: 1874 Keeler
- Drawer P1, Kennedy, George Golding
Date: 1888-1904 Kennedy
- Drawer P1, King, John D.
Date: 1883 King
- Drawer P1, Klugh, Alfred Brooker
Date: 1903, 1906 Klugh
- Drawer P1, Knight, Elizabeth Gertrude (later Mrs. Britton) 2 letters
- Drawer P1, Knowles, Charles J.A.
Date: 1881 Knowles
- Drawer P1, Knox, E.C.
Date: 1879-1880 Knox
- Drawer P1, Krauskopf, E.
Date: 1878 Krauskopf
- Drawer P1, Lawrence, Rosewell B.
Date: 1885 Lawrence
- Drawer P1, Lesquereux, Charles Leo
Date: 1873 Lesquereux
- Drawer P1, Lincoln, Agnes Wyman
Date: 1897 Lincoln
- Drawer P1, Lown, Clarence
Date: 1878-1886 Lown
- Drawer P1, Lyon, Harold Lloyd
Date: 1904 Lyon
- Drawer P1, McDonald, Francis Eugene
Date: 1897 McDonald
- Drawer P1, McKay, Alexander Howard
Date: 1876 McKay
- Drawer P1, Mair, J.
Date: 1872 Mair
- Drawer P1, Manahan, Kirk
Date: 1879 Manahan
- Drawer P1, Manning, Warren Henry
Date: 1887, 1895 Manning
- Drawer P1, Mansfield, I.F.
Date: 1881, 1883 Mansfield
- Drawer P1, Martindale, Isaac Comly
Date: 1883 Martindale
- Drawer P1, Maxon, William Ralph
Date: 1897-1907 Maxon
- Drawer P1, Meehan, Thomas
Date: 1883, 1895 Meehan
- Drawer P1, Merrill, J. Warren
Date: 1876-1882 Merrill
- Drawer P1, Mertz, Henry Ney
Date: 1879 Mertz
- Drawer P1, Metcalf, Rest E.
Date: undated Metcalf
- Drawer P1, Miller, F.A.
Date: 1873-1874 Miller, F.
- Drawer P1, Miller, Mary Farnham
Date: 1901 Miller, M.
- Drawer P1, Millspaugh, Charles Frederick
Date: 1892-1899, undated Millspaugh
- Drawer P1, Minns, Susan
Date: 1899 Minns
- Drawer P1, Mirick, Nellie
Date: 1897-1905 Mirick
- Drawer P1, Moody, Elizabeth Meads
Date: 1902 Moody, E.
- Drawer P1, Morong, Thomas
Date: 1888 Morong
- Drawer P1, Morse, Frances R.
Date: 1901 Morse
- Drawer P1, Morss, Philip B.
Date: 1900 Morss
- Drawer P1, Myers, Frances J. [incoming letters] 3 folders
Date: 1877-1883 Myers [incoming]
Scope and Contents: Forty-five letters from Myers to Davenport, one specimen, one specimen label, one
clipping; primarily botanical content, some personal content.
- Drawer P1, Nash, Frances
Date: 1880 Nash
- Drawer P1, Nichols, H.P.
Date: 1878 Nichols
- Drawer P1, Norton, Mary E.B.
Date: 1880 Norton
- Drawer P1, Noyes, Helen Maria
Date: 1899 Noyes
- Drawer P1, Owen, Maria Louisa (née Tallant)
Date: 1900-1905 Owen
- Drawer P1, Packard, Alpheus Spring
Date: 1878, 1882 Packard
- Drawer P1, Parish, Samuel Bonsall
Date: 1879-1901 Parish
- Drawer P1, Parlin, John Crawford
Date: 1898, 1907 Parlin
- Drawer P1, Patterson, Harry Norton
Date: 1886, 1890 Patterson
- Drawer P1, Perkins, Charles Edward
Date: 1881 Perkins, C.
- Drawer P1, Perkins, George Henry
Date: 1873 Perkins, G.
- Drawer P1, Plimpton, F.S.
Date: 1890 Plimpton
- Drawer P1, Pliven, Charles F.
Date: undated Pliven
- Drawer P1, Porter, Thomas Conrad
Date: 1890 Porter
- Drawer P1, Powell, S.L.
Date: 1891 Powell
- Drawer P1, Poyser, W.A.
Date: 1907 Poyser
- Drawer P1, Price, Sarah Frances (Sadie)
Date: 1896 Price
- Drawer P1, Prindle, Earle S.
Date: 1887 Prindle
- Drawer P1, Purdie, Henry Augustus
Date: 1903 Purdie
- Drawer P1, Rand, Edward Lothrop
Date: 1896-1898 Rand
- Drawer P1, Rattan, Volney
Date: 1889 Rattan
- Drawer P1, Reynolds, Mary Collins
Date: 1879-1884 Reynolds
- Drawer P1, Rich, William Penn
Date: 1902 Rich
- Drawer P1, Richard, D.
Date: 1872 Richard
- Drawer P1, Richards, Josephine L.
Date: 1883-1896, undated Richards, J.
- Drawer P1, Ritchie, John
Date: 1897 Ritchie
- Drawer P1, Rooney, Bridget M.
Date: 1905-1906 Rooney
- Drawer P1, Rose, Joseph Nelson
Date: 1890-1900 Rose, J.
- Drawer P1, Ross, Ellen H.
Date: 1899 Ross
- Drawer P1, Rous, Francis Peyton
Date: 1896 Rous
- Drawer P1, Roy, William
Date: 1875-1879 Roy, W.
- Drawer P1, Rugg, Harold Goddard
Date: 1906 Rugg
- Drawer P1, Rusby, Henry Hurd
Date: 1897 Rusby
- Drawer P1, Sargent, Charles Sprague
Date: 1881-1891 Sargent
- Drawer P1, Schneck, Jacob
Date: 1880-1901 Schneck
- Drawer P1, Scribner, Frank Lamson
Date: 1876-1877 Scribner
- Drawer P1, Seaton, Henry Eliason
Date: 1884-1888 Seaton
- Drawer P1, Seelye, Charles W.
Date: undated Seelye
- Drawer P1, Selous, Florence
Date: 1891 Selous
- Drawer P1, Seymour, Arthur Bliss
Date: 1885, 1894 Seymour
- Drawer P1, Shattuck, Isabelle C.
Date: 1901 Shattuck
- Drawer P1, Shockley, William Hillman
Date: 1878-1879 Shockley
- Drawer P1, Slosson, Margaret
Date: 1896-1907, undated Slossom
- Drawer P1, Smith, S. Isabelle
Date: 1905 Smith, S.
- Drawer P1, Steele, Maria Olivia
Date: 1886 Steele
- Drawer P1, Stone, Harriet H. (Mrs. Leander Stone)
Date: 1882 Stone
- Drawer P1, Stout, Anna A.
Date: 1882 Stout, A.
- Drawer P1, Suksdorf, Wilhelm Nikolaus
Date: 1882-1895 Suksdorf
- Drawer P1, Thayer, H.C.
- Drawer P1, Thompson, Jos. P.
Date: 1895 Thompson
- Drawer P1, Trelease, William
Date: 1896-1900 Trelease
- Drawer P1, Tucker, A.E., Mrs.
Date: 1883 Tucker
- Drawer P1, Wallengren, Hans Thure Sigurd
Date: 1883 Wallegren
- Drawer P1, Wally, Clara L.
Date: undated Wally
- Drawer P1, Ware, Robert Allison
Date: 1906 Ware
- Drawer P1, Watt, David Allan Poe
Date: 1874-1897, undated Watt
- Drawer P1, Welcome, George H.
Date: 1889, 1892 Welcome
- Drawer P1, Werner, William C.
Date: 1886 Werner
- Drawer P1, White, Frank A.
Date: 1878-1880 White
- Drawer P1, Whitner, J.N.
Date: 1874 Whitner
- Drawer P1, Wibbe, John Herman
Date: 1878 Wibbe
- Drawer P1, Wight, Alexander Este
Date: 1905 Wight
- Drawer P1, Willard, Charlotte A.
Date: 1880 Willard
- Drawer P1, Williams, Emile Francis
Date: 1896 Williams
- Drawer P1, Wilson, William M.
Date: 1875-1876 Wilson, W.
- Drawer P1, Wolcott, William E.
Date: 1892 Wolcott
- Drawer P1, Wood, Alphonso
Date: 1878 Wood, A.
- Drawer P1, Wood, George A.
Date: 1899 Wood, G.
- Drawer P1, Woodward, Mrs.
Date: 1876 Woodward
- Drawer P1, Woolson, Grace A.
Date: 1897-1906 Woolson, G.
- Drawer P1, Wright, William Greenwood
Date: 1879-1884, undated Wright
- Drawer P1, Yates, Lorenzo Gordin
Date: 1879-1889 Yates
- Drawer P1, Yinnans, Julia
Date: 1883 Yinnans
- Series: II. Manuscripts
- Box 1, Folder 1, "The Underwood Botrychiums in the Gray Herbarium" manuscript intended as correction
for article by Underwood 2 pages
- Drawer P1"George E. Davenport: Cheilanthes myriophyllum and C. Fendleri, unfinished letters
of Wm Stout on same subject 1879-80" notes and draft correspondence
- Drawer P1, Untitled manuscript in pencil 6 pages
- Drawer P1, Two drafts of letters to Daniel Cady Eaton, dated expressing disagreement with Eaton's
disposition of Cheilanthes
Date: 1880 February 18
- Drawer P1, Copy of letter to Charles or Edwin Faxon from Daniel Cady Eaton regarding Eaton's
disposition of Cheilanthes
Date: 1879 December 30
- Drawer P1Copy of schema of Cheilanthes
- Drawer P1, "Notes on the specimens of 'Cheilanthes Fendleri' in the Cambridge (Mass.) Herbarium"
manuscript 10 pages
Date: 1879 December
- Drawer P1, "Variation and Hybridity in Ferns" typescript with note: "Full paper as read at Waterville,
Me." 5 pages
- Drawer P1, "A Protest [criticism of Underwood's article on Botrychium ternatum]" manuscript 4 pages
Date: 1899 January
- Series: III. Photographs
- A. "Ferns of New England"
- Box 1, Folder 2"Ferns of New England" disbound album
- Box 1, Folder 4"Ferns of New England" loose photographs
- D. George E. Davenport portraits Stored with Botany Libraries photograph collection.
- B. Box 1, Folder 5Photographs for sale: C.G. Pringle photographs and Davenport's Middlesex Fells photographs
- C. Box 1, Folder 6Specimen photographs