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Plant Hunters
The Treasures of Two Centuries and Six Continents Captured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Daily, March 16 through May 30

Plant hunting is not for the faint of heart!  For centuries plant hunters scoured the world for exotic plants to bring back to wealthy patrons and flourishing botanical gardens.  Some plant hunters were botanists in their own right; some came from wealthy backgrounds or were supported by rich patrons.  They were all looking for adventure.


Pictured at left, Campsite in the Himilayas from Joseph Hooker, Himalayan Journals 1854.

Celebrating the diverse and beautiful plants that arrived in England from around the world, William Curtis - botanist and entomologist - started Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1787 to educate and entertain the public by illustrating and describing these species.  For each plant illustrated, this beautiful journal provides additional information such as its history, conservation, and economic uses.


GladiolaNearly 230 years later, Curtis's Botanical Magazine continues to showcase the work of dedicated and intrepid plant hunters, as well as talented botanical artists.  More than 11.000 plant portraits have been published to date.  The Magazine is the longest-running botanical serial and is still being published by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

The Plant Hunters exhibition is located in the Andersen Horticultural Library entry corridor and continues with six display cases in the library, arranged by continent. 

ChrysanthymumAndersen Horticultural Library is fortunate to have a nearly complete run of Curtis's Botanical Magazine from 1787 (volume 1) through the current year's subscription, with a few exceptions.  The volumes are housed in a climate-controlled room and can be viewed by appointment.  Nearly two dozen volumes are on display in this exhibit.  

Plant Hunters is sponsored by the Andersen Horticultural Library through the generosity of the Andersen Book Trust.

Pictured above right, Gladiolus Cruentus, Blood-Red Gladiolus, Curtis's Botanical Magazine (1869) v.95: plate 5810. And above left, Rhodoanthemum Catananche, Chrysanthemum, Curtis's Botanical Magazine (1874) v.100: plate 6107.


U Media Archive Exhibit: Three Minneapolis Seedswomen 

Miss Carrie Lippincott cover, 1896

At the beginning of the 20th century, Minneapolis was home to three seed companies owned and operated by women. These firms were unusual in their time because they were run by women, they marketed to women customers, and they focused on flower seeds. Miss Carrie Lippincott, who called herself "The Pioneer Seedswoman of America," started producing small 5 x 7 inch lithographed catalogs in 1891. Emma V. White, the "Northstar Seedswoman," produced her first catalog in 1896. Jessie R. Prior, who was in business only a short period of time, produced small catalogs simply titled "Flower Seeds."

Emma V. White cover, 1900

The Andersen Horticultural Library hosts a collection of catalogs from these three firms. Our copies of the three seedswomen's catalogs have been digitized cover-to-cover and are available online at the UMedia Archive, All text in these catalogs is searchable. For example, type "marigold" in the search box to find links to 170+ pages within the UMedia Archives. Parameters can be chosen in the right hand column to limit your search to items from the Andersen Horticultural Library. A zoom tool allows one to view fine details.

Cattleya amethystoglossa
orchid from Curtis's Botanical
Magazine. vol 94.

U Media Archive Exhibit: Botanical Images from the Collections of the University Libraries

Digitized botanical images from rare and special books in the Andersen Horticultural Library and other University Libraries can viewed online at Many of these images were part of the Transfer of Knowledge botanical art exhibit on display in 2005 at the Reedy Gallery, located at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.