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Rowe collection of botanical specimens

Call Number: MSS 35

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises over 500 pressed plant specimens from the area around Liverpool, assembled by a "Miss Rowe" of 2 Elizabeth Street, in 1861. Each specimen is mounted on a folded sheet of paper and held in place by small bands of paper. On the facing page of the folded sheet, Rowe identifies the specimen with its Latin and common name, the location the specimen was found, and the date collected. Specimens were housed within small blue tinted envelopes (13 x 20 cm), some of which are still sealed. Sixty-nine of the envelopes are adorned with a watercolor depiction of the plant enclosed, along with a printed label giving the Latin name of the family to which the specimens belong.

Attribution to Rowe is based on an engraved calling card bearing the name "Miss Rowe," annotated in manuscript "2 Elizabeth Street" (see final item in the collection).

The collection is accompanied by a large mahogany box (52 x 35 x 10 cm) previously used to house the envelopes; with a hinged lid, brass lock, and key. On the inside of the lid is a paper label reading "L.N.F.C. Names of natural orders from Dr. Dickinson's Flora of Liverpool."


  • 1861-1862


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is the physical property of the Yale Center for British Art. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund


5 Linear Feet (6 boxes, 1 oversize)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection comprises over 500 pressed plant specimens from the area around Liverpool, assembled by a "Miss Rowe" of 2 Elizabeth Street, in 1861.

Biographical / Historical

The identity of the “Miss Rowe” associated with this collection is unclear. Records note that Frances Rowe, of 2 Elizabeth Street, Liverpool, married Thomas Roberts on November 13, 1868 (witnessed by Jane A. Rowe). The surgeon William Palmer Rowe resided at 2 Elizabeth Street in 1860. “Miss Rowe” could be one of his unmarried sisters – Mary L. Rowe (born 1835) or Jane Adelaide Rowe (born 1830), or a more distant relation.

The collection was assembled as part of a recurring competition organized by the Liverpool Naturalists’ Field Club. One such instance of the competition is described in Popular Science Review, v. 1 (1862), p. 125:

On the arrival of the Liverpool party at Hoghton station [Manchester], the honorary secretary the Rev. William Bannister, distributed amongst the ladies a printed list, headed “L.N.F.C. Names of Natural Orders from Dr. Dickinson’s ‘Flora of Liverpool.’

The list comprises 101 orders, beginning with ‘Ranunculaceae,’ and ending with ‘Characcae,’ each order being separated from the adjoining ones by perforated lines, so that the greatest facility was afforded for tearing off the names of the orders.

The object of this proceeding was to enable such of the ladies as desired it to compete for the “Botanical Prize” (a book value 10s. 6d.) one of which is awarded at each excursion to the lady who collects and arranges, according to the natural orders, the largest number of species in flower.

Another article in Popular Science Review, v. 2 (1863), p. 94, notes, “Miss Rowe, a young lady member of this club, is remarkably successful in these competitions, and possesses very extensive knowledge in systematic botany.”

Guide to the Rowe collection of botanical specimens
compiled by Francis Lapka
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
1080 Chapel Street
P. O. Box 208280
New Haven CT 06520-8280 US


1080 Chapel Street
New Haven , CT 06510

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