Torrey was a prolific writer from the beginning of his career. A Flora of the Northern and Middle Sections of the United States (1824) classified plants according to the Linnaean system, while his Compendium of the Flora of the Northern and Middle States (1826) used a natural system. Torrey published the first American edition of John Lindley’s An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany in 1831.
In 1826, Torrey wrote to friend and fellow botanist William Darlington (1782-1863) about his preferred collection methods:
“How do you collect your specimens of plants? Do you take a box or a large book with you into the field? I prefer a book for those specimens which I intend to dry. It is made of smooth paper about the size of a newspaper folded into a quarto and furnished with a strap and buckle at the front and at each side. There is also a strap on one of the covers by which it is suspended on the back or at the side…It is very well to take with you besides this book, a small ‘Vasculum Dillenianum’ for keeping fresh such specimens as you are desirous of examining in a natural state.”
Image: Vasculum of John Torrey, 19th century. Metal. LuEsther T. Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden.