Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Creator
Furbish, Kate, 1834-1931
Title
Kate Furbish collection
ID
M070
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1873-1909
Date [inclusive]
1873- , undated
Extent
6.0 linear feet
Language
Abstract
Collection primarily comprises sixteen bound volumes of Furbish's sketches and watercolors of flora, entitled "Flora of Maine."

Preferred Citation

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


Biographical/Historical Note

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.


Scope and Content

Collection primarily comprises sixteen bound volumes of Furbish's sketches and watercolors of flora, entitled "Flora of Maine." 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. There are digital images, negatives, photographic transparencies, photographs, slides, and microfilm.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

General Note

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.


Collection Inventory

 M070.1 Botanical Artwork   2.0 linear feet

Series Description:

16 volumes of Furbish's botanical watercolors, entitled "Flora of Maine," as well as loose sketches and watercolors of various flora, most 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.

Ovsz-Box Folder
1 1

Loose botanical artworks [1/4]. 

    1 2

    Loose botanical artworks [2/4]. 

      1 3

      Loose botanical artworks [3/4]. 

        1 4

        Loose botanical artworks [4/4]. 

          2 1

          4 Mat-framed botanical artworks [1/4]. 

            2 2

            4 Mat-framed botanical artworks [2/4]. 

              2 3

              4 Mat-framed botanical artworks [3/4]. 

                2 4

                3 Mat-framed botanical artworks [4/4]. 

                  Volume-Ovsz-folio
                  1

                  Ranunculaceae - Cruciferae 

                    2

                    Crassulaceae - Gaprifoliaceae 

                      3

                      Violaceae - Oxalideae 

                        4

                        Geraniaceae - Leguminosae 

                          5

                          Rosaceae - Sacifragaceae 

                            6

                            Rubiaceae - Compositae 

                              7

                              Compositae 

                                8

                                Lobeliaceae - Plantaginaceae 

                                  9

                                  Plumbaginaceae - Labiatae 

                                    10

                                    Borraginaceae - Amarantaceae 

                                      11

                                      Polygonaceae - Urticaceae 

                                        12

                                        Platanaceae - Araceae 

                                          13

                                          Lemnaceae - Orchidaceae 

                                            14

                                            Amaryllidaceae 

                                              15

                                              Addenda 

                                                16

                                                Addenda 


                                                   M070.2 Personal Material, 1873-1909, n.d.   0.5 linear feet

                                                  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.

                                                  Box Folder
                                                  3 1

                                                  Correspondence: Asa Gray to Miss Furbish, Harvard University, Cambridge: 1882 Jun 27 

                                                    3 2

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

                                                      3 3

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

                                                        3 4

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

                                                          3 5

                                                          Photocopies of correspondence in other collections 

                                                            3 6

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

                                                              3 7

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

                                                                3 8

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

                                                                  4 1

                                                                  Prayer book; hymnal 


                                                                     M070.3 Research Material, 1883-1898, n.d.   3.0 linear feet

                                                                    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.

                                                                    Box Folder
                                                                    4 2

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

                                                                      4 3

                                                                      Writings: Collection lists [1/7]. 

                                                                        4 4

                                                                        Writings: Collection lists [2/7]. 

                                                                          4 5

                                                                          Writings: Collection lists [3/7]. 

                                                                            4 6

                                                                            Writings: Collection lists [4/7]. 

                                                                              4 7

                                                                              Writings: Collection lists [5/7]. 

                                                                                4 8

                                                                                Writings: Collection lists [6/7]. 

                                                                                  4 9

                                                                                  Writings: Collection lists [7/7]. 

                                                                                    4 10

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

                                                                                      4 11

                                                                                      Writings: "General Notes - Botany." 

                                                                                        4 12

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

                                                                                          4 13

                                                                                          Flora identification notes [1/2]. 

                                                                                            4 14

                                                                                            Flora identification notes [2/2]. 

                                                                                              4 15

                                                                                              "Botanical Maine." 

                                                                                                4 16

                                                                                                Notes removed from inside cover of "Botanical Maine." 

                                                                                                  4 17

                                                                                                  Miscellaneous botanical notes. 

                                                                                                    5 1

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

                                                                                                      5 2

                                                                                                      Catalogues of Maine Plants. 

                                                                                                        5 3

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

                                                                                                          5 4

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

                                                                                                            5 5

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

                                                                                                              5 6

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

                                                                                                                Volume
                                                                                                                1

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

                                                                                                                  Ovsz-Box
                                                                                                                  6

                                                                                                                  Herbaria. 


                                                                                                                     M070.4 Realia   4.0 items

                                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                                    Box
                                                                                                                    8

                                                                                                                    Glass jar of pen nibs 

                                                                                                                      8

                                                                                                                      2 pens 

                                                                                                                        8

                                                                                                                        Cloth apron 

                                                                                                                          8

                                                                                                                          Ceramic dish for mixing watercolors 


                                                                                                                             M070.5 Images, 1896-2001, n.d.   0.25 linear feet

                                                                                                                            Series Description:

                                                                                                                            This series contains photographs of Furbish as well as various photographs, negatives, prints and slides of her botanical artwork. Also included are color photographic transparencies of Furbish botanical drawings and paintings that were originally produced for Tilbury House, Publishers, publisher of Kate Furbish and the Flora of Maine by Ada Graham and Frank Graham, Jr. (1995). Digital images of the photographic transparencies are included on a CD. In addition there are color slides of eight botanical paintings and acetate composite mechanicals prepared by the Stinehour Press and used in the printing of the Furbish book.

                                                                                                                            Arrangement:

                                                                                                                            Alphabetical by image type, then by subject.

                                                                                                                            Map-case
                                                                                                                            (top)

                                                                                                                            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. 

                                                                                                                              Box
                                                                                                                              Mss. CD 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 Folder
                                                                                                                                7 1

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

                                                                                                                                  7 2

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

                                                                                                                                    7 3

                                                                                                                                    Black and white photographs of various Furbish botanical drawings and paintings 

                                                                                                                                      7 4

                                                                                                                                      Cabinet card group portrait of the Josselyn Botanical Society of Maine, including Kate Furbish, Farmington, 1896 

                                                                                                                                        7 5

                                                                                                                                        Prints: Notecards with images from original Furbish watercolors 

                                                                                                                                          7 6

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

                                                                                                                                            7 7

                                                                                                                                            Color slides of various Furbish botanical drawings and paintings 

                                                                                                                                              7 8

                                                                                                                                              Tintype of Kate Furbish, n.d. 

                                                                                                                                                7 9

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


                                                                                                                                                   M070.6 Articles, Clippings and Ephemera, 1979- , n.d.   0.25 linear feet

                                                                                                                                                  Series Description:

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

                                                                                                                                                  Arrangement:

                                                                                                                                                  Arranged by material type.

                                                                                                                                                  Box Folder
                                                                                                                                                  7 10

                                                                                                                                                  Articles about Kate Furbish. 

                                                                                                                                                    7 11

                                                                                                                                                    Reviews of books about Kate Furbish. 

                                                                                                                                                      7 12

                                                                                                                                                      Miscellaneous printed ephemera. 

                                                                                                                                                        7 13

                                                                                                                                                        Clippings. 

                                                                                                                                                          7 14

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

                                                                                                                                                            Ovsz-Box
                                                                                                                                                            6

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