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George H. M. Lawrence Papers, 1850-1982

Scope & content

The papers of George Hill Mathewson Lawrence were donated to the University of Rhode Island Library in 1984 and 1985 by Lawrence's widow, Miriam B. Lawrence. The bulk of the papers are from the period 1971 to 1978 when Lawrence was in semi-retirement at his hone in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Though still on the staff of the Hunt Botanical Library as a Research Associate and Consultant, his sole responsibility was editing the proposed catalogue of Linnaeana in the Hunt Botanical Library.

The papers contained in this manuscript group represent only a small fragment of those generated by Lawrence during his professional life. The bulk of his professional papers are housed in the Archives of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation (formerly the Hunt Botanical Library) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The papers were divided into six series as follows: Linnaeus Catalogue, Correspondence, Subject, Chronological File, the Lawrence Family , and the Ives Family: Household Receipts.

Series I, Linnaeus Catalogue, 1966-1982, contains records relating to Lawrence's work on the proposed catalogue describing the Linnaeus collection in the Hunt Botanical Library. Included are such materials as correspondence, annotated print-outs, lists, slides, and notes concerning the proposed catalogue.

Series II, Correspondence, 1950-1982, consists of Lawrence's professional and personal correspondence with botanists, bibliophiles, rare book dealers, and friends. Correspondence relating to the Linnaeus Catalogue can be found in Series I and some general correspondence can also be found in Series III, the Subject Series and Series IV, the Chronological File. Included in this series are a few items of correspondence of Miriam Lawrence with the same correspondents, mostly letters of condolence concerning the death of her husband.

Series III, Subject File, 1904-1979, consists of a variety of general records relating to activities and areas of interest to Lawrence. Included are correspondence, brochures, printed programs, photographs, course notes, speeches, honorary degrees, and a copy of Lawrence's doctoral dissertation submitted to Cornell in 1939. The Subject File also contains interesting photographs of botanist and plant explorer, David Fairchild (1869 - 1954) and philanthropist, Barbour Lathrop (1847-1927). There are two photographs which depict Lathrop with Alexander Graham Bell and one with Mrs. Bell. Dr. Fairchild was married to Bell's daughter, Marian Hubbard Bell. Most of the photographs appear Fairchild's book, The World Was My Garden, New York, C. Scribner's sons; London, C. Scribner's sons, ltd., 1938.

Series IV, Chronological File, 1970-1978, consists of carbon copies Lawrence's outgoing letters. Most of these letters are duplicated in one of the three preceding series.

Series V, Lawrence Family, 1794-1949, contains a variety of diaries, journals, ledgers, and account books of Lawrence's ancestors in Rhode Island. The materials were collected by Lawrence in anticipation of writing a family history.

Series VI, Ives Family Household Receipts, 1856-1873, consists entirely of receipts for household expenditures made by Moses and Anne Ives of Power Street in Providence. Whether Lawrence collected this material because of a family connection with the Ives or simply out of interest in a well to do nineteenth century Rhode Island family is unknown.