These papers include incoming correspondence, 1887-1901, mostly concerning Palmer's botanical collecting; notes from his collecting trips to the American west and Florida,
circa 1861-1890; and a catalog of Palmer's papers, 1914.
Edward Palmer (1831-1913), a naturalist, had his greatest influence as a plant collector in the western United States and Mexico. He collected extensively for the United
States Department of Agriculture and the United States National Museum between 1869 and 1910.
The collection includes not only Palmer's own material but also that of William E. Safford, William Andrew Archer, Joseph Nelson Rose, William Ralph Maxon, and Frederick Vernon Coville that concern Palmer. The collection was in the custody of the Department of Botany of the National Museum of Natural History before it was transferred to the National Anthropological Archives. Other than the biographical material, the subject matter is largely botanical and concerns collecting activities in Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, Texas, and Idaho.
Scope and Contents:
The Edward Palmer papers contains material largely of Palmer, including correspondence, 1870-1920; journal notes, 1869-1910; field notes, 1890-1907; numerical list of Palmer's specimens, some 1913. The collection also contains material of William Andrew Archer, including card index of plants and their uses; common plant name index; bibliography cards and records of works consulted; Spanish-English dictionary (cards); as well as material of William E. Safford, including manuscript of "Edward Palmer: Botanical Explorer"; miscellaneous material and drafts relating to the biography. Other material in the collection includes miscellaneous working material of Safford and Archer and photographs of botanical specimens from several collections "received from the Ball estate."
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Palmer (1831-1911) was an English-born United States Army physician, naturalist, and collector for the Smithsonian and several other institutions. He specialized in botany and anthropology.
The history of the collection is not completely clear, but it appears, at least in part, to have been brought together in the work of William E. Safford on a biography of Palmer and the work of William Andrew Archer in ethnobotany. The collection transferred from the Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, to the National Anthropological Archives in 1981. Added to the collection were materials sent by Robert Bye, of the University of Colorado, in 1981.
The Edward Palmer papers are open for research.
Access to the Edward Palmer papers requires an appointment.