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The 2009 ASHS Annual Conference

The Library Collection of the Missouri Botanical Garden: A Resource for Historical Literature on Health and Horticulture

Sunday, July 26, 2009: 4:40 PM
Field (Millennium Hotel St. Louis)
Douglas Holland, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO
The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) Library ranks among the finest botany

libraries in the world. From its beginnings in 1856 as a small collection of

horticultural books purchased by the Garden’s founder Henry Shaw, the library has now grown to over 200,000 volumes, containing a significant portion of the world’s accumulated knowledge about plants. While most researchers know and

use the collection for post-Linnaean plant nomenclature, classification, and evolution, the collection is also very rich in early literature, including a comprehensive set of Renaissance herbals, as well as general Materia Medica and horticulture spanning five centuries.  The oldest volume dates from 1474 and the library contains over 6000 volumes printed before 1830. This collection is freely available for scholarly use and increasingly available via digital facsimile online.

The presentation will highlight important literature found in the MBG collection relevant to health and horticulture, featuring examples from some of the earliest printed books containing plant illustrations. It will also introduce attendees to the Biodiversity Heritage Library digital library and how best to access and mine the freely available data and digital collections available at this resource.