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Grant number: PG-258352-18

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Denver Botanic Gardens, Inc. (Denver, CO 80206-3751)
Allaina Wallace (Project Director: May 2017 to present)

Conservation and Preservation Assessment of the Rare Books Collection at the Helen Fowler Library

A preservation assessment of 1,300 rare books pertaining to the history of botany, botanical folklore, studies of the Rocky Mountains, and the development of the city of Denver. Collection highlights include rare 16th- and 17th-century books on plants, as well as books with local interest, those by Enos Mills (the father of Rocky Mountain National Park), Alice Eastwood (a self-taught and prolific botanist), and George Kelly and Walter Pesman (two of the founders of the Colorado Forestry and Horticultural Association and the Denver Botanic Gardens). An assessment would facilitate the long-term care of this collection and support its use by researchers and other visitors to the gardens.

Denver Botanic Gardens Helen Fowler Library is the largest botanical and horticultural library in the Rocky Mountain region. Uncommon among botanical and horticultural libraries, the library circulates a collection of about 30,000 items. The non-circulating Rare Books Collection, the focus of this project, includes about 1,300 books dating back to the 16th century. Items in this collection represent some of the earliest botanical illustrations in the field. Funds for the support and growth of the collection dissipated sometime in the 1990s. Access decreased to prevent damage to the collection. Prior to that time, the collection was used by staff seeking public domain images, prints were displayed in art exhibitions, artists and historians used the collection in their research. Our goals include a conservation assessment of the rare books collection to guide future use and provide recommendations for the design of a new rare books storage and reading room.

Project fields:
Arts, Other; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,450 (approved)
$5,450 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2019