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Australian Plants: Collectors and Illustrators


By J.H. Willis , D. Pearson , M.T. Davis and J.W. Green

The INTRODUCTION below was written for the version of this list published as Western Australian Herbarium Research Notes No. 12, 1986: 1-111, by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture.

Willis et al 1986 coverINTRODUCTION (1986)

This list of collectors and illustrators of Australian plants is the working base of a projected catalogue of biographies now in preparation and intended to be published separately.

The original ms. catalogue was commenced by the late Mervyn Davis in 1955 during her service on the staff at the National Herbarium, Melbourne. Subsequently much material has been added from the researches of J.H. Willis and more recent contributors.

The present list includes both past and contemporary workers in Australia. Where known, dates of birth and death are given, otherwise the period when the subject was known to have been active (fl.). As well, the subject's stated areas of interest are given, along with his or her professional occupation if possible. The information is taken from a file of biographies assembled by the authors; in the case of contemporaries it is mostly as supplied by the individuals themselves (*). Many of the names of collectors appearing on herbarium specimen labels have proved untraceable and can only be listed here as they appear, sometimes as bald surnames. In the case of married women, the principal entry is usually under the married name; a cross reference is included if she is known to have collected or illustrated under her maiden name. Occupations and interests are given as supplied, without attempting standardisation. Capital letters (other than initially) indicate official titles of posts held.

The larger catalogue will expand the present list into more detailed biographies, including those of noteworthy persons who did formative work on Australian botany but did not visit Australia. It is anticipated that Part I, covering the letters A to D, will be published in the near future. each biography will contain a selection of bibliographical and other details, including the locations of plant collections. The names of explorers, ships' captains and surgeons who safely transported plants back to Europe or North America will be listed in an appendix. Background material to the published biographies, for example correspondence, press cuttings, tape recordings and photographs, will be held as archives in the National Herbarium, Melbourne.

The list is being published now, partly because of its inherent usefulness as a work of reference and partly to stimulate further contributions from readers. The authors would be grateful to receive any additional material. The completed catalogue will give further information about the contributors and will facilitate the location of plant collections, writings and other source materials.

The authors wish to thank the many individuals and institutions, both Australian and overseas, who have provided amendments and additions to a pre-issue circulated in 1984; these will be fully acknowledg0d in the biographical sections. Thanks are due to Mrs Helen Williams, the manuscript typist and copy editor. The assistance of a Commonwealth A.B.R.S. grant to Daphne Pearson is gratefully acknowledged.

Much of the information on palaeobotanists was supplied by Dr J.G. Douglas, 42 Sunhill Road, Mount Waverley,

Signs and abbreviations.used:

* personal contribution to archives
? indicates uncertainty
c. (circa) about
ext. (extant) still living
fl. (floruit) period of activity
ob. (obit) dead

Surnames (Family names) starting with:
A . B . C . D . E . F . G . H . I . J . K . L . M . N . O . P-Q . R . S . T . U-V . W . X-Y-Z

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