John Bartram Association records relating to its foundation and early organization
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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 John Bartram Association (JBA) was founded in 1893 for the purpose of protecting and enhancing the home and garden of John Bartram, known as "Bartram's Garden." To this day, the JBA continues to speak to audiences of all ages on the discovery of the natural world, just as John Bartram did in his lifetime.
The site of Bartram's Garden was maintained by Bartram's descendants and other enthusiasts of the natural world, beginning with his daughter, Ann Bartram Carr and her husband Colonel Robert Carr in 1777 to the formation of the John Bartram Association in 1893. By the time the John Bartram Association was formed, it was evident that the grounds were in need of care that reached beyond the ability and resources of those in charge. The John Bartram Association and the allied park system of Philadelphia negotiated the terms to transfer the care and maintenance of Bartram's former home and garden to the city of Philadelphia. Thanks to those negotiations, the home and garden are now under the care of the Fairmount Garden System.
In addition to the resuscitation of "Bartram's Garden," the JBA's early efforts secured a safe home and custodian in the University of Pennsylvania for what is known as "The Bartram Memorial Library," the authority collection of volumes representative of early American botanical literature.
John Bartram (1699-1777) was born a third-generation Quaker in Darby, Pennsylvania, who followed his father's footsteps by becoming a farmer. However, his inquiry into the natural world went well beyond farming, into botany, horticulture, and exploration. These curiosities earned him an important place in the scientific world for his discoveries and generosity in sharing knowledge of the fledgling scientific discipline of botany. Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the Swedish botanist and originator of the system of taxonomic classification, regarded Bartram as the "greatest natural botanist in this world," an achievement yet unheard of in his time considering that he was an American-born colonist. In 1928, Bartram purchased a 102-acre plot of land, formerly inhabited by Native Americans as early as 3000 BCE, from Swedish settlers in order to examine its ecology. This plot of land, now known as "Bartram's Garden," was the source of much inspiration for Bartram, in addition to his discoveries from New England to Florida, until the end of his life in 1777.
The John Bartram Association records, dating from 1779 to 1937 (bulk 1893 to 1911), document the association's foundation and early administrative activities predominately through correspondence, accented by newspaper clippings, advertising fliers, and invitation cards. Significant portions of the correspondence records relate to accumulation of the "Bartram Memorial Library," an effort brought about by Mrs. Caroline Bartram Newbold of the John Bartram Association and John M. Macfarlane of the University of Pennsylvania. Accompanying these records is a copy of an inventory of the "Bartram Memorial Library" that appears to date from 1900.
Additionally, the collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other media dealing with matters regarding the foundation and day-to-day administrative workings of the John Bartram Association (1893), the foundation of Botanical Society of Philadelphia (1897), the 200th anniversary of John Bartram's birth (1899), lectures presented by John Bartram Association/Bartram Memorial Library Committee, hosted by University of Pennsylvania (circa 1902-1909), the death of John Bartram Association President, Mordecai Bartram (1904), the appointment of Franklin S. Edmonds as President of John Bartram Association and subsequent administrative personnel change (1905), the integration of Bartram Gardens into Philadelphia's allied park system, the appointment of Henry R. Edmunds as President of John Bartram Association (1908), and Bartram family genealogy.
When the John Bartram Association records were donated, the contents of the collection were filed chronologically. Since this organization best suits the recorded documentation regarding genesis and early administrative dealings of the John Bartram Association, the collection has been left in this original order. General terms (e.g., correspondence, invitation cards, donations, etc.) regard the John Bartram Association administration unless otherwise noted. The term "events" refers to lectures and reunions unless otherwise noted.
- Historic Bartram's Garden (Organization)
- University of Pennsylvania. Libraries
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Samuel Sfirri
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 June 30
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.