Guide to the Research Collections



Histories, bibliographies, and dictionaries for the subjects of gardening, horticulture, and forestry are collected comprehensively by the library. Other forms of printed material are collected on a selective or representative basis. By virtue of being a depository for United States Federal Government publications, the library holds substantially complete files of the bulletins and reports of agricultural stations, national parks, and similar organizations. There are good holdings of materials published by other national governments, although state and municipal records are present in large numbers only from the United States and Canada.

The Research Libraries do not generally collect works on the technical aspects of gardening, horticulture, and forestry because of the other large collections in New York City which provide such holdings to the public. Information relating to the library's resources in this area may be found in the sections of this Guide on "The Biological Sciences" and "Agriculture," in chapters 58 and 59.

Periodicals are featured in the holdings. Journals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on gardening are usually represented by substantial, if incomplete, files. In gardening, for example, some 200 titles are listed in the Public Catalog, not all of them currently published and received. Horticulture is also represented by a substantial number. Included under these headings are titles such as Florists' Exchange (1888-1961), Horticulture (1904- ), The Garden (1872-1927), and Gardener's Chronicle of America (1905-51). The contents of periodicals in these subjects are not generally indexed in the library's catalogs. The publications of horticulture societies and gardening clubs likewise make an important contribution, although files are by no means complete. Included are national, state, and local organizations.

Periodicals related to forestry include titles such as Schweizerische Anstalt für das forstliche Versuchswesen. Mitteilungen (1891-1959) and Revue des eaux et forêts (1862-1948), along with trade journals, typical among which is The Lumberman's Review (1892-1930). The increasingly important topic of conservation is represented by Conservation in the Americas (1946- ), Michigan Conservation (1931-, incomplete), among others, and by foreign titles such as Ochrona przyrody (1950) and Razvedka nedr (1947- ).


Entries in the Public Catalog under the subject of gardening are arranged chronologically. For example, under the heading "Gardening, to 1800" are works arranged by date of publication. The General Research and Humanities Division has had the primary collecting responsibility for this area, including the topic of landscape gardening (formerly the responsibility of the Art and Architecture Division); this topic is of first importance, including as it does most of the works on individual and historic gardens, along with similar specialized materials. Books of a general nature, most of them of interest to the amateur gardener, are maintained in the reference collection of the Main Reading Room. General works are available in the collections, dating from the sixteenth century and including such items as Nicolas de Bonnefons's Le iardinier françois (1651) and works by Sir William Chambers and others. The Prints Division has a wealth of prints of gardens and flowers, although these are not arranged by subject but by the name of the artist or print maker.


Special subjects, such as fruits and flower growing, are well covered by monographs, journals, and the publications of specialized organizations. A collection of some interest includes uncataloged seed catalogs. The library presently receives the catalogs of only four companies; but there are, in addition, the catalogs of a number of other companies ranging in date from 1860 to the 1950s, at which time most appear to have been discontinued. All of these catalogs are administered by the Annex Section of the Research Libraries: detailed information about them is available in the "Scrapbook File" of the General Research and Humanities Division.

Materials related to the subject of horticulture may be found in other sections of this Guide. Among those is "Agriculture," described in chapter 59; of particular note is the discussion of various monograph series issued by departments of agriculture and experimental stations, works on plant culture, and the like. In addition, "Botany," treated in chapter 58, contains references to materials of historical importance to the topic of horticulture, including botanical information available in illustrated folio works.

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This subject is more than adequately covered; the preceding observations on types of materials present are applicable here. Periodicals have been discussed above; the publications of forestry organizations and the reports of national and state bureaus of forestry are substantial, particularly for the United States. Approximately 550 entries under the heading "Natural Resources--Conservation" refer to government publications, including conservation laws of the states of the United States. There are also reports of national and international congresses on conservation and publications of the associations and organizations concerned with the subject.

The Local History and Genealogy Division has not only pictorial material on United States national parks in its archives of photographs, stereopticon views, and scrapbooks, but also regularly receives ephemeral material which is stored in vertical files. Ephemera from state parks in the United States is also available, although on a more limited basis. As a matter of course commercially published materials augment this ephemera on state and national parks.