Held at: Morris Arboretum Archives [Contact Us]100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Morris Arboretum Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania is the official Arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was formerly owned by Quaker siblings John Thompson Morris (1847-1915) and Lydia Thompson Morris (1849-1932), who acquired the area through the purchase of two large estates and surrounding lands--Compton in 1887 and Bloomfield in 1913. When Lydia died in 1932, she left the gardens to the University of Pennsylvania as the Morris Arboretum. The Arboretum was part of the University's Botany Department until, in 1975, it was established as a separate Interdisciplinary Resource Center.
The Historic Image Collection includes photographs, lantern slides, glass plates, postcards, and film negatives, primarily depicting the botanical features and buildings of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. The majority have been digitized and cataloged, and can be viewed online at http://morrisarboretum.pastperfect-online.com.
The collection is organized by building, garden feature, or other subject. There are photographs of the following buildings: Cedar Grove, Compton Mansion, English Park, Fernery, Gates Hall, Japanese Tea House, Mercury Loggia, Seven Arches, and Springfield Mills. There are photographs of the following garden features: Fountains, Japanese Hill and Water Garden, Japanese Overlook Garden, Japanese Pond Garden, Long Fountain, Oak Allee, Orange Balustrade, Pennock Flower Walk, Ravine Garden, Rock Wall Garden, Rose Garden, Summerhouse Pavilion, Swan Pond, Wetlands and Meadows. There are images of the following other subjects: Aerial Views, Bloomfield Farm, Other Places, People, Plants. Nitrate negatives from this collection are in cold storage at the University of Pennsylvania.
This collection also includes a small number of slides by Dr. Edgar T. Wherry (botanist and ecologist to the Morris Arboretum) and Dr. John M. Fogg (botanist, taxonomist, and director of the Morris Arboretum) that have not been digitized. Dr. Fogg's slides are primarily photographs of plants, features, and scenes at Morris Arboretum. About 700 slides pertaining to Morris Arboretum views, garden features, garden, or plant collections have been digitized. Another 2,000 or more film slides of plants Dr. Fogg used for botany lectures are stored separately (in the herbarium) and have not been digitized. Dr. Wherry's slides are primarily photographs of plants and features elsewhere, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region.
A number of nitrate negatives, notepads, and postcards from University of Pennsylvania botany professor Dr. John Harshberger are also part of this collection. In the 1920s, Dr. Harshberger often brought his students to Morris Arboretum and led field trips throughout the Northeast. About 300 of the negatives have been digitized. (Dr. Harshberger's photographs of Chestnut Hill homes and gardens are held at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society; about 2,000 more negatives of United States gardens, people, large homes, and botanically significant research sites are in the University of Pennsylvania Archives.) The postcards, many of which were printed in Germany, date from the early 1900s. Dr. Harshberger collected them to illustrate his botany lectures.
Photographs created or collected by the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Morris Arboretum Archives directly for more information.
Nitrate negatives from this collection are in cold storage at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Fogg, John M. (John Milton), 1898-1982
- Harshberger, John W. , (John William), 1869-1929
- Morris, John Thompson, 1847-1915
- Morris, Lydia Thompson, 1849-1932
- Wherry, Edgar Theodore, 1885-1982
- Morris Arboretum Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Morris Arboretum Archives for information about accessing this collection.