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Grant number: PG-233834-16

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Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (Claremont, CA 91711-3157)
Irene Holiman (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Improving Environmental Conditions and Care for Archives and Special Collections

Purchase of an environmental monitoring system, archival-quality shelving units, and archival supplies to protect materials in the Garden’s Special Collections and Archives.  The Special Collections holds 2,200 rare herbals, historic scientific literature, and illustrated botanical books, while the Archives houses 242 linear feet of institutional records, original manuscripts, botanical field notes, original botanical illustrations, glass slides, and photographs.  Notable items include the Historia Mundi, a 1525 natural history recorded by Pliny the Elder; herbals spanning several centuries; the field notes, diaries, glass negatives, and photographs of Marcus E. Jones, a major Western botanist who recorded discoveries throughout the Southwest and Mexico; and 500 hand-tinted glass slides and photographs of wildflowers and landscapes from 1920s Los Angeles.  The collections are frequently used by educators, researchers, and authors for the history of Southern California, Mexico, and the West.  A 2014 preservation assessment recommended environmental monitoring.

The primary mission of the Library at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is to support research in the plant sciences by staff, graduate students & visitors. However, two important collections that are part of the Library are of great interest to scholars in the humanities as to those in the natural sciences. These are the Special Collections and Archives; both housed in a secured area of the Library. The Special Collections holds rare books including herbals, important historical scientific literature and richly illustrated botanical books, some dating from the 1500s. The Archive Collection includes institutional records and documents, original manuscripts, architectural and facilities plans for the Garden, aerial photographs of RSABG property, botanical field notes, original botanical illustrations, glass slides, and photographic images in diverse formats. Curation and preservation of these collections is of high priority for library collections staff, and for the Garden as a whole.

Project fields:
Social Sciences, Other

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,872 (approved)
$5,804 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017