Marshall, Humphry, 1722-1801. Papers, 1785-1792 and n.d. 22 items

Letters and other papers of Humphry Marshall, of Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Marshall was a botanist and plant dealer, and author of Arbustum Americanum: The American Grove, 1785, (French translation: Catalogue alphabetique des arbres et arbrisseaux, 1788). He was a Quaker, and a cousin of botanist John Bartram (1699-1777).

These are all letters received by Marshall, concerned with orders for trees, shrubs and seeds, and the publication of his work. One of the main correspondents in this collection is British botanist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), president of the Royal Society, London, and honorary director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Others include Dr. Thomas Parke (1749-1835), George Pennock, Samuel Vaughan, and William Vaughan. Several of the letters include detailed lists of plants requested. A few are addressed to Moses Marshall (1758-1813), Humphry's nephew and his assistant in the later years of his life. Included with the collection is an undated broadside, "Some Account of the Naked or Siberian Barley."

Marshall was a botanist and plant dealer from Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Included with images of the manuscript material are scans of pages from Marshall's Arbustum Americanum and William Darlington's Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall. The pages from Darlington's book provide transcriptions for some of Marshall's letters.


Notes on Names and Spellings

Arbustum Americanum, Title Page and Dedication

Humphry

Marshall's first name is sometimes spelled "Humphrey" in reference books, and even by his correspondents. But examples of his signature, as well as the title page of his book, show "Humphry" as the correct form.

Arbustum Americanum

The full title of Marshall's major publication is Arbustum Americanum: The American Grove, or, An Alphabetical Catalogue of Forest Trees and Shrubs, Natives of the American United States, arranged according to the Linnaean system. However, a typographical error on the title page of the first edition gives the first word as "Arbustrum" and this spelling is still often found in citations of the work. (See, for example, Webster's Biographical Dictionary, 1976).

The confusion over this error has been compounded over the years with the appearance in some reference works of misspellings such as "Arboretum" or even "Arboratum Americanum." (See Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, New York: 1888; National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, New York: 1929.)

"Arbustum" is Latin, meaning a place where trees are planted, a grove, orchard, or plantation; there is no such word in Latin as "arbustrum."

Samuel Vaughan

One of Marshall's correspondents in this collection appeared at first to be named James Vaughan. The manuscript dealer had written "James" in pencil next to the signature on one of the letters, and another hand had written "James Vaughan" in ink on the address portion of two others. However, several of these letters were printed in Darlington's Memorials, where the writer is identified as Samuel Vaughan. From this and other evidence it is clear that Samuel was the correspondent's name. Vaughan was an English planter from Jamaica, and friend of Benjamin Franklin. He lived in Philadelphia for a number of years, and was instrumental in arranging for publication of Arbustum Americanum.


The letters are arranged alphabetically by writer, and then chronologically. The broadside is filed after the letters. A list describing each item is given below.

A number of these letters were printed in William Darlington's double biography, Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall. Letters that appear in that book are marked with the note "Darlington, p. ___." Page numbers refer to the first edition (Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1849).

Letters

Provenance

These letters were found in a brown paper wrapper with a label from the Franklin Bookshop, S. N. Rhoads, 920 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa., addressed to Mr. [sic] C. R. Barnett, (i.e., Claribel R. Barnett), Librarian, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. A note on the wrapper gives the total value as $90. Pencil notations on many of the items, which include the price of certain pieces, were probably added by the manuscript dealer. The wrapper has been saved and filed separately in box 10/6, folder 3.

Sir Joseph Banks, 1786-1793

Darlington's Memorials, Title page

Title page for William Darlington's double biography Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall, 1849

Darlington's Memorials, Marshall's home

An illustration of Humphry Marshall's home in Bradford Township, Pennsylvania.

Banks to Marshall, April 5, 1786

Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, April 5, 1786. Discusses the growing of the ginseng root.

Banks to Marshall, February 6, 1788

Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, February 6, 1788, an order for plants for "Kew Garden, his Majesties [sic] Botanic Institution." In two pieces; top of letter is torn off with the back leaf missing.

Banks to Marshall, May 6, 1789

Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, May 6, 1789, acknowledging the receipt of a box of plants and placing a request for some more for his Majesty's garden.

Banks to Marshall, April 3, 1790

Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, April 3, 1790, acknowledging receipt of plants and an order for more.

Banks to M. Marshall, 1792

Sir Joseph Banks to Moses Marshall, 1792, acknowledging receipt of order and the placement of another.

Banks to Marshall, August 28, 1793

Sir Joseph Banks to Mr. Marshall, August 28, 1793, introducing to Marshall a German friend, the Baron Itzenplitz.

 

Dr. Thomas Parke and George Pennock, 1788-1792

List of Marshall letters

  • Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, April 5, 1786. Discusses the growing of the root of the ginseng. Darlington, p. 559. Box 10/4, folder 16.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, February 6, 1788, an order for plants for "Kew Garden, his Majesties [sic] Botanic institution." In two pieces -- top of letter is torn off with the back leaf missing. Box 10/4, folder 17.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, May 6, 1789, acknowledging the receipt of a box of plants and placing a request for some more for his Majesty's garden. Darlington, p. 562. Box 10/4, folder 18.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Humphry Marshall, April 3, 1790, acknowledging receipt of plants and an order for more. Also notes that some of the smaller pieces of root may be too small to preserve and would be appreciative of larger ones in the future. Darlington, p. 563. Box 10/4, folder 19.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Moses Marshall, March 2, 1791, acknowledging receipt of order and the placement of another. Darlington, p. 564. Box 10/4, folder 20.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Moses Marshall, (1792), acknowledging receipt of order and the placement of another. Box 10/4, folder 21.
  • Sir Joseph Banks to Mr. Marshall, August 28, 1793, introducing a German friend, the Baron Itzenplitz, to Marshall, saying that "he may have it in his Power to recommend you to much business in Germany." Darlington, p. 565. Box 10/4, folder 22.

  • Dr. Thomas Parke to Humphry Marshall, 10 July 1789, stating that he had received a letter for Marshall from "Descenut" or "Deseemet" (?) of Paris which Parke had had translated into English. Also refers to another letter he has received from R. Barclay stating the King's gardener requests a box of cranberry plants. Oversize. Box 10/6, folder 2.
  • Enclosure from the letter above (Parke to Marshall, 10 July 1789), letter from Paris listing requests for plants in Latin, English, and French. Also gives instructions as to how the plants should be packed for shipment. Oversize. Box 10/6, folder 2.
  • Dr. Thomas Parke to Humphry Marshall, 9 October 1792, in which he states that he has obtained a shipment from John Bartram and includes a receipt and container list. Also mentions that he would like to fill an order for another individual very shortly. Note: The John Bartram mentioned (1743-1812) was the son of botanist and explorer John Bartram (1699-1777), and brother of William Bartram (1739-1823). Box 10/4, folder 23.
  • Enclosure from the letter above (Parke to Marshall, 9 October 1792), a receipt dated October 10, 1792, and signed by John Bartram (1743-1812) for "1 case of growing Roots of American Trees Shrubs etc." for 3 pounds. Box 10/4, folder 23.
  • Enclosure from the letter above (Parke to Marshall, 9 October 1792), a container list of "growing Roots of curious Trees, Shrubs & Herbacious Plants." Box 10/4, folder 23.

  • George Pennock to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, dated "9 mo." [i.e., September] 12, 1788, in which the author, a nephew of Marshall's, discusses his observations on the Hessian fly. Box 10/4, folder 24.

  • Samuel Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, 13 April 1785, in which Vaughan expresses a desire to send a box of plants to England and asks if it is too late in the season to send them. Box 10/4, folder 25.
  • Samuel Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, 30 April 1785, in which he describes presenting Marshall's Botanical Catalogue before the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture as well as the Philosophical Society and his efforts to get the work published. He also states that although Marshall was named an honorary member of the former Society that he is unable to enclose the certificate at that time. Darlington, p. 555. Box 10/4, folder 26.
  • Samuel Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, 14 May 1785, in which he further describes his efforts to get Marshall's work published and his preference for the work to be published in America as opposed to England. He also asks Marshall's advice on plants to plant in the state-house square. Darlington, p. 556. Box 10/4, folder 27.
  • List of trees "Planted in the State-house square," as well as a list of "Wanted" plants, from Samuel Vaughan, ca. 1785. Box 10/4, folder 28.
  • Samuel Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, 28 May 1785, in which Vaughan expresses his desire to plant in the State-house square all trees and shrubs that grow in North America. Asks for Marshall's assistance in this, also hopes that Marshall may expedite the corrections on his catalogue. Darlington, p. 557. Box 10/4, folder 29.
  • Samuel Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, Philadelphia, 22 May 1786, referring to the meteorological research of a professor of "Cambridge College, Massachusetts," and requesting Marshall's assistance in this project. Darlington, p. 558. Box 10/4, folder 30.
  • William Vaughan to Humphry Marshall, London, 20 July 1787 in response to a request of Marshall's as well as to thank him for seeds and plants his brother procured for him through Marshall. Suggests ways of labeling and packing that would better preserve the plants and seeds. Box 10/4, folder 31.

  • Broadside, "Some Account of the Naked or Siberian Barley," undated. Box 10/4, folder 32.

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