Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University
This National Historical Landmark dates back to 1872
Backstory and Context
The Arnold Arboretum’s founding dates back to New Bedford merchant James Arnold who left money in his will to Harvard College to establish an arboretum. Charles Sprague Sargent was the arboretum’s first director and over his 54 years there he raised tremendous funds and established the agreement between Harvard College and the city. Sargent also organized the arboretum’s collections by family and genus, a system that the arboretum still follows today. “By developing a comprehensive library devoted to botany, horticulture, and dendrology, an equally notable herbarium to serve as the repository of specimens of woody plants from throughout the world, and a publication program that included both scholarly and semi-popular works, Sargent established the Arnold Arboretum as a leading scientific institution” (“Our History”).
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library focuses on the study of temperate woody plants, including 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs on botany, horticulture, flora, urban forestry, and taxonomy.