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Guide to the Kate Furbish Collection, 1873- , undated

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Title:
Kate Furbish collection
Creator:
Furbish, Kate
ID:
M070
Date [inclusive]:
1873- , undated
Date [bulk]:
1873-1909
Extent:
6 Linear Feet
Repository:
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Abstract:
Kate Furbish (1834-1931) was a notable botanical illustrator; the bulk of Furbish's life's work--collecting, classifying, and drawing the flora of Maine--was done between 1870 and 1908. The collection includes sixteen bound volumes of Furbish's sketches and watercolors of flora, entitled "Maine Flora," loose artwork, journals, correspondence, and research materials.
Conditions Governing Access:

Access restrictions apply to unconserved fragile originals in Botanical Artwork series.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Personal material: Journals (1873 May 19 - 1877 Oct 2) available on microfilm; George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Me.; 1 microfilm reel.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Illustrations in Botanical Artwork series, volumes 1-14, are available as digital files; George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Me

Preferred Citation:

Kate Furbish Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Kate Furbish (1834-1931) was born Catherine in Exeter, New Hampshire, on May 19, 1834, to Benjamin and Mary Lane Furbish. When she was barely a year of age, the family relocated to Brunswick, Maine, where she developed a passionate interest for wildflowers. Like many young women of her time, Kate pursued a genteel education, which included painting and the study of French literature; she even spent a year in Paris perfecting her painting. In 1860, however, a serious interest for science gripped Furbish after she attended a series of botany lectures in Boston by George L. Goodale, later a professor of botany at Harvard.

The bulk of Furbish's life's work--collecting, classifying, and drawing the flora of Maine--was done between 1870 and 1908. By 1880 she had earned respect among well-known naturalists, including the eminent American botanist Asa Gray. In 1894, Furbish also helped to found the Josselyn Botanical Society of Maine and she served as president in 1911. In 1908, Furbish bequeathed her collection of paintings and drawings to Bowdoin College. She died on December 6, 1931.

Kate Furbish's name gained fame in 1976 when the wild snapdragon, named the Furbish lousewort, was rediscovered after having been believed to be extinct. This discovery helped stall and eventually stop the building of the Dickey-Lincoln dam and reservoir on the St. John's River, which would have flooded 88,000 acres of northern Maine forests.

Collection primarily comprises sixteen bound volumes of Furbish's sketches and watercolors of flora, entitled "Maine Flora." Other items in the collection are correspondence, research materials such as flora identification notes and catalogues of Maine plants, herbaria, journals, manuscripts, artifacts, artifacts, printed ephemera and images of Furbish and her botanical artwork.

Two volume facsimile edition of Kate Furbish's Maine Flora (vols 1-14) published in 2016: The plants and flowers of Maine : Kate Furbish's watercolors / with an introduction by Melissa Dow Cullina, Director of Education & Staff Botanist, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Lanham, Maryland : Rowman & Littlefield: [Brunswick, Maine] : Bowdoin College Library, 2016; this facsimile edition is also available as an e-book.

Series Description:

16 volumes of Furbish's botanical watercolors, entitled "Maine Flora," as well as loose sketches and watercolors of various flora, many of which are unidentified. Includes some matted artwork. The series also contains a card index to the common names of the flora depicted in the volumes.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access restrictions apply to unconserved fragile originals in Botanical Artwork series.

Ranunculaceae - Cruciferae

volume-ovsz-folio 1

Crassulaceae - Gaprifoliaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 2

Violaceae - Oxalideae

volume-ovsz-folio 3

Geraniaceae - Leguminosae

volume-ovsz-folio 4

Rosaceae - Sacifragaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 5

Rubiaceae - Compositae

volume-ovsz-folio 6

Compositae

volume-ovsz-folio 7

Lobeliaceae - Plantaginaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 8

Plumbaginaceae - Labiatae

volume-ovsz-folio 9

Borraginaceae - Amarantaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 10

Polygonaceae - Urticaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 11

Platanaceae - Araceae

volume-ovsz-folio 12

Lemnaceae - Orchidaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 13

Amaryllidaceae

volume-ovsz-folio 14

Addenda

volume-ovsz-folio 15

Addenda

volume-ovsz-folio 16

Mentha canadensis, American mint, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 1

Prunus virginiana, Common chokecherry, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 1

Sambucus sp., Common elder, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 2

Veratrum viride, False hellebore, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 3

Smilax herbacea, Smooth carrionflower, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 2

Lactuca canadensis, Wild lettuce, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 4

Salix petiolaris, Meadow willow, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 3

Plantanthera hookeri, Hooker's orchid, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 5

[Mushroom composite #1], undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 4

[Mushroom composite #2], undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 5

Trillium cernuum, Nodding trillium, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 6

Salix sp., Willow, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 6

Goodyera tesselata, Checkered rattlesnake plantain, undated, watercolor on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 7

Pogonia ophioglossoides, Rose pogonia, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 8

Cypripedium reginae, Showy lady's slipper, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 7

Aureolaria flava, Smooth false foxglove, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 9

Juncus greenei, Greene's rush, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 10

Sonchus oleraceus, Common sowthistle, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 11

Aralia hispida, Bristly sarsaparilla, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 12

Lysimachia maritima, Sea milkwort, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 8

Venus' Looking-Glass, n.d., watercolor on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 13

Aralia hispida, Bristyly sarsaparilla, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 14

[Lilium philadelphicum], Wood lily, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 15

Lilium philadelphicum, Wood lily, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 16

Unknown, n.d., watercolor on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 17

Unknown 2, n.d., watercolor on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 18

Potamogeton sp., Pondweed, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 9

Rosa sp, Rose, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 19

Solanum dulcamara, Bittersweet (with hop clover), undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 20

Prunella vulgaris, Heall-all; Melampyrum lineare, Cow-wheat; Oenothera sp., Evening primrose, undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 1 folder 21

Showy Tick Trefoil, Desmodium Canadense, watercolor on paper

ovsz-box 3 folder 10

[Unidentified Flora Composite], undated, watercolor, graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 22

Unknown sketch, n.d., graphite on paper

ovsz-box 2 folder 23

Unidentified, 1-42

ovsz-box 2a

Unidentified, 43-76

ovsz-box 2b

Unidentified, 77-92

ovsz-box 2c

Unidentified, matted, 1-5

ovsz-box 2d

Claytonia (Spring Beauty) Newcastle, Delaware, undated (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Conium maculatum (Hemlock), Brunswick, ME, August 1870 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Crab Apple Blossoms, Arsenal Grounds, Augusta, ME, May 1870 (recto); unidentified, Augusta 1870 (verso) (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Gentiana, Brunswick, ME, Oct. 1872 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

[Holly] "This was not gathered in Maine," undated (loan)

loan-box Ovsz 1

Hypercium ellipticum (?) Purola rotundifolia, July 1870 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Ranunculus fascicularis, des by GED [Davenport], not found in Maine, April 1899 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Salix Cordata, undated (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Unidentified, Brunswick, ME, July 1870 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Unidentified, April 19, 1871 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Unidentified, Aug. 1871 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Unidentified, undated (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Unidentified, undated (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

High resolution transparencies (2.5 x 3) originally produced for Tilbury House, publishers for the Furbish book authored by the Grahams

box 7 folder 9

Color slides of various Furbish botanical drawings and paintings

box 7 folder 7

Color slides of eight Furbish botanical images from the Furbish book authored by the Grahams

box 7 folder 6

Prints: Notecards with images from original Furbish watercolors

box 7 folder 5

Black and white photographs of various Furbish botanical drawings and paintings

box 7 folder 3

Negative of the Furbish lousewort (one 4x5 black and white negative)

box 7 folder 1

Digital images: CD made in 2001 from scans of photographic transparencies created for the Furbish book authored by the Grahams and published by Tilbury House

box Mss. CD 1

Acetate composite mechanicals: Prepared by the Stinehour Press and used in the printing of Kate Furbish and the Flora of Maine by Ada Graham and Frank Graham, Jr.

map-case (top)

Series Description:

Consists of correspondence between Kate Furbish and Asa Gray, and President De Witt Hyde of Bowdoin College. The series also includes journals kept by Furbish, including one from her European trip, as well as a prayer book and hymnal.

Arrangement:

Correspondence and journals arranged chronologically.

General Note:

Furbish's 1873 May 19 - 1877 Oct 2 journals are also available on microfilm.

Gray, Asa to Miss [Kate] Furbish, Harvard University, Cambridge: 1882 Jun 27

box 3 folder 1

Furbish, Kate to Mrs. Johnson, East Livermore, Maine: 1894 May 13

box 3 folder 2

Furbish, Kate to William DeWitt Hyde, Livermore Falls, Maine: 1908 Dec 22

box 3 folder 3

Furbish, Kate to William DeWitt Hyde, East Livermore, Maine, 1909 May 5 (with typescript)

box 3 folder 4

Furbish, Kate to [Brother], n.d.

Photocopies of correspondence in other collections

box 3 folder 5

Journals: 1873 May 19 - 1877 Oct 2 (also available on microfilm)

box 3 folder 6

Journals: European tour, 1883 Jun 15 - 1883 Aug 15

box 3 folder 7

Journals: European tour, 1883 Aug 27 - 1883 Sep 25

box 3 folder 8

Series Description:

Artifacts used by Furbish for her botanical artwork. Series includes a cloth apron, pen nibs, pens, and a ceramic dish for mixing watercolors.

"The Ornamental and Useful Plants of Maine" by F. Lamson Scribner, B.S.

box 5 folder 5

Glass jar of pen nibs

box 8

2 pens

box 8

Cloth apron

box 8

Ceramic dish for mixing watercolors

box 8

Prayer book; hymnal

box 4 folder 1

Furbish Lousewort T-shirt, National Resources Council fundraiser

Series Description:

Chiefly writings by Kate Furbish, primarily collection lists and notes, as well as writings by other people, including a catalogue of Maine plants. The series also includes herbaria collected by Furbish.

Arrangement:

Arranged by material type.

Writings: "A Catalogue of Maine Plants" w/ms. notes.

box 4 folder 2

Writings: Collection lists [1/7].

box 4 folder 3

Writings: Collection lists [2/7].

box 4 folder 4

Writings: Collection lists [3/7].

box 4 folder 5

Writings: Collection lists [4/7].

box 4 folder 6

Writings: Collection lists [5/7].

box 4 folder 7

Writings: Collection lists [6/7].

box 4 folder 8

Writings: Collection lists [7/7].

box 4 folder 9

Writings: "An Evening in the Maine Woods" ms. of paper read by KF before the Portland Society of Natural History. 1883 Apr 2

box 4 folder 10

Writings: "General Notes - Botany."

box 4 folder 11

Writings: Norland-Grange lecture [photocopy; original in Pejebscot Historical Society Archives].

box 4 folder 12

Flora identification notes [1/2].

box 4 folder 13

Flora identification notes [2/2].

box 4 folder 14

"Botanical Maine."

box 4 folder 15

Notes removed from inside cover of "Botanical Maine."

box 4 folder 16

Miscellaneous botanical notes.

box 4 folder 17

"Bulletin of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick." 1898.

box 5 folder 1

Catalogues of Maine Plants.

box 5 folder 2

"Catalogue of the Phaenogamous Plants..." [3 copies].

box 5 folder 3

"The Grasses of Maine" by C.H. Fernald, A.M. 1885.

box 5 folder 4

"Outlines of the Classification of Plants" by Charles H. Clark.

box 5 folder 6

Robinson, Benjamin and Merritt Fernald. "Gray's New Manual of Botany." Seventh Edition.

volume 1

Herbaria.

ovsz-box 6

Series Description:

Primarily writings and articles about Furbish, as well as clippings. The series also includes miscellaneous printed ephemera.

Arrangement:

Arranged by material type.

Articles about Kate Furbish.

box 7 folder 10

Reviews of books about Kate Furbish.

box 7 folder 11

Miscellaneous printed ephemera.

box 7 folder 12

Clippings.

box 7 folder 13

Endangered Flora Commemorative Stamps: First day of issue, 7 June 1979.

box 7 folder 14

Map of the Gulf of Maine, printed and matted

ovsz-box 6

Poster announcing the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens exhibit of Kate Furbish illustrations, 2011 Sep 20-30

ovsz-box 6

Josselyn Society, list of plants found by Furbish potentially gone from Maine, 1995

Kate Furbish Botanist an appreciation by Louise H. Coburn, 2 copies; photo enc. [on the board-walk, Atlantic City, 5 women]

Pejepscot Historical Society, Catalogue of Exhibits, 1924

Print of wall plaster from Pompeii purchased by Kate Furbish in 1883

Furbish, Benjamin to his brother, 1835 Sep 19

Furbish, Benjamin to John Furbish, 1861-1862

Furbish, John, correspondence re: military service, 1861-1864

Furbish, James to John Furbish, 1873 Aug 18

Furbish, James to Frank Furbish, 1874 May 29

Furbish, John to Kate Furbish, re: death of Frank Furbish, Mexico City, 1897

Kerr, Alice Furbish, correspondence with Bowdoin College, 1969-2000

Kerr, Alice Furbish, correspondence with Furbish researchers, 1975-2000

Kerr, Alice Furbish, correspondence with Ada and Frank Graham, 1980-1994

Furbish, Frank to [Friend], n.d.

Furbish, Benjamin L., obituary, 1955

Furbish Genealogy

Furbish, Benjamin, re: death and estate, 1873

Furbish hardware store ephemera, 1867, n.d.

Furbish, Benjamin, diary 1861 (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Clippings regarding the drowning of Edward P. Furbish (1863 and 1878), brother and nephew of Kate Furbish

Furbish, John, Facts about Brunswick, Maine, 1862 (published 1976)

Furbish, John, typescript lecture, 1899

Furbish, John, obituary, 1905

Furbish, Samuel Benson, obituary clippings, 1936

Furbish, Maria Louise Day Furbish (wife of John Furbish), ca. 1895

Sketch of residence of Sam Furbish, Wells, Maine, 1912 by Kate Furbish?

Furbish, Kate, n.d. Tintype

box 7 folder 8

Furbish, Kate and her Brunswick home (exterior and interior), 1908, n.d. Black and white photographs

box 7 folder 2

Furbish, Kate with members of of the Josselyn Botanical Society of Maine, Farmington, 1896. Cabinet card

box 7 folder 4

Furbish home on Cumberland St. and hardware store. 6 stereographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish Hardware Store, ca. 1942. 2 photographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Photographs (2) of Europe collected by Kate Furbish (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Photograph of Brunswick, ca. 1853, copy (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish family photographs (3) (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish, Mildred Grush (wife of John Arthur Furbish). 2 photographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish, Kate and her home. 4 photographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish, Kate and her brothers. 1 photograph (loan)

Furbish, John Arthur (nephew of Kate Furbish). 13 photographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Furbish, Benjamin and Mary Lane (Kate Furbish's parents). 2 photographs (loan)

loan-box Ovsz

Children of John Furbish and Maria Louise Day (Kate Furbish's nephews and niece (loan)

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