Description of Collections
The Special Collections of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s Montgomery Library include manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and printed material related to the history of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Col. Robert H. Montgomery, Dr. David Fairchild, and other important figures in the fields of horticulture and botany in South Florida. The Special Collections’ holdings are outlined below.
David Fairchild Collection
- Correspondence to and from David Fairchild from 1895 to 1954: 31,055 letters.
- Documents written by David Fairchild covering tropical fruits and plants: 28,660 pages.
- Original manuscripts of published books authored by David Fairchild.
- Personal correspondence dealing with Fairchild family history: 7,085 pages.
- Original reports rendered by David Fairchild covering all of his field trips for the USDA, including photo prints: 19 volumes.
- Original manuscripts of unpublished studies made by David Fairchild from his student days to the end of his life in 1954.
- Complete record of all Allison Armour Expeditions in which David Fairchild participated as the plant scientist: 4,800 prints, all documented.
- Daily pocket diaries kept by David Fairchild from 1892 to 1953: 478 volumes.
- Signed volumes of David Fairchild books, including the rare Book of Monsters.
- Original maps and charts used by David Fairchild throughout his expeditions.
- 2,582 archival prints (with captions) from a collection of 7,200 photo negatives taken by David Fairchild since 1895. Efforts are now underway to print the remaining negatives onto archival-quality photographic paper.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Collection
- Complete records of the history of the development of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. 6,800 pages of written material and photo prints covering all phases of Fairchild activity.
- Fairchild Tropical Garden Bulletin from 1945 to 1992, Garden News and Garden Views from 1993 to date. All publications are indexed.
- 65 blue prints covering the physical facilities of the Robbins Plant Science Building at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- Survey and aerial maps of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
- 26 manuscripts covering various historical memorabilia about South Florida.
George Avery Collection
- Studies of South Florida trees, plants and shrubs by George Avery: 19 books and 14,283 pages of material.
- Complete collection of photos, glass plates, and publications of George Cellon, the first person to develop a budding technique for the production of avocados and mangos. The work was done in Miami.
Cheng Ho Expedition Collection (Ann Archbold Collection)
- The Anne Archbold collection of prints and negatives covering her sponsorship of the Cheng Ho Expedition to Indonesia in 1939-1940 to collect plants for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. David Fairchild was the expedition plant collector: 3,000 negatives and prints.
- Donovan S. Correll collection consisting of field notes used in writing his book Flora of the Bahama Archipelago.
- Additional manuscripts covering his studies of orchids, potatoes, Alaskan plants and work at the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard Univ: 4,671 pages of material.
Frank Craighead Collection
- Frank Craighead collection of studies in the Everglades: 23,805 pages of manuscripts and 12 boxes of color slides in excess of 2,000.
- One cabinet including the original botanic illustrations for published works, primarily Corrells’ Flora of the Bahama Archipelago (1982)
- 27 framed folio-sized watercolor botanical illustrations
- Several additional miscellaneous illustrations
- The personal scrapbooks of Thomas “Ted” Kilkenny, builder and first captain of the Cheng Ho, which cover the construction, launch and voyage of the Cheng Ho, as well as miscellaneous magazine articles and newspaper clippings. the Collection contents date from approximately 1936 through March 1946 and include 3 scrapbooks and one file folder.
- The papers of Arthur C. Langlois include records he kept on all known palm genera with photographs, pictures and drawings dating from the late 1930’s until his death in 1977 with miscellaneous notes and sidebars added by his wife, Margaret A. Langlois. 2,958 pages.
Robert H. Montgomery Collection
- Papers and correspondence of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s founder, Robert H. Montgomery, from 1932 to 1953. Included are his early plans for a botanical garden and correspondence related to Chapman Field (a research center now operated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture): 3,000 pages.
John Popenoe Collection
- Papers covering the 27-year directorship at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden of John Popenoe and his papers covering his scientific studies in the Bahamas.
- J. Paul Scurlock collection of photographic slides of native and exotic plants of the Florida Keys. 3,800 images.
- Written material describing the history of and location of all the plants contained in 4 volumes.
John Kunkel Small Collection
- John Kunkel Small collection of 300 photographs taken in South Florida during the early 1920s. Printed material covering all of his work in Florida. 6,000 pages.
Nixon Smiley Collection
- Nixon Smiley collection covering all of his activities as the Interim Director of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden from 1953 to 1961: 4,000 pages.
- Complete collection of all papers covering field trips.
- The papers of Dent Smith include copies of the correspondence between Dent Smith and over 200 internationally prominent palm botanists and horticulturists. Almost all the materials deal with the establishment and operation of the Palm Society. Dent Smith started the Palm Society in 1956. He conceived, developed, and supported the society throughout its first 30 years. The collection includes over 4,600 letters, manuscripts of Dent Smith’s writings, Palm Society minutes, planning documents, and financial records. Most of the records are from 1955 through the mid-1960s.
All material housed in the Special Collections is the property of the Montgomery Library of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The Special Collections are open to serious researchers and scholars by appointment only.