Job Bicknell Ellis Papers (PP)

Archives, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
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Collectors: Ellis, Job Bicknell, 1829-1905.
Title: Job Bicknell Ellis Papers (PP)
Dates: 1857-1903
Dates: Bulk, 1880-1903
Quantity: 1.7 linear feet; 4 boxes
Call Phrase: Ellis (PP)

Biography of Job Bicknell Ellis

Job Bicknell Ellis (1829-1905) was an American mycologist best known for his work as a collector and classifier of fungi, primarily pyrenomycetes. Ellis was born in Potsdam, New York 21 January 1829. He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY (1849) and began an erratic career as a classics teacher and farmer in New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Having no formal training as a botanist or mycologist, he progressively took up mycological fieldwork and dedicated his life to the collection and exchange of dried specimens (exsiccati), creating reference collections sold in sets of one hundred. The most important of these so-called "centuries" of specimens are Fungi Nova-Caesareenses [sic] (Fungi of New Jersey) (1878) and the North American Fungi issued in series from 1878 to 1898.

In 1856 Ellis married Arvilla J. Bacon who became his lifelong assistant and collaborator in assembling duplicate sets of exsiccati. Based in Newfield, New Jersey Ellis maintained a voluminous correspondence with American and European mycologists, a virtual "Who's Who" of 19th century mycology. In 1880 Ellis began to receive financial support from Benjamin Matlock Everhart, a wealthy merchant of Westchester, Pennsylvania. Together they co-authored North American Pyrenomycetes (1892). With William A. Kellerman, Ellis and Everhart founded the Journal of Mycology (1895), a forerunner to Mycologia. Toward the end of his life (1896) Ellis sold his collection of over 100,000 specimens to the NYBG for its Cryptogamic Herbarium. Ellis published over 500 scientific articles. He died 30 December 1905 in Newfield.

Scope and Content

The Job Bicknell Ellis collection consists of correspondence, research papers, catalogues, a hand-sewn pouch of loose notes, and artwork which includes two volumes of watercolor illustrations as well as pen and ink and pencil sketches entitled Figures of North American Fungi, in slip-cased covers. Most of the material relates to the later part of his career (from c. 1880) of collecting and identifying fungi, with representative correspondence from a broad range of mycologists and botanists on specimen exchange and identification.


The collection is organized into seven series:
Series 1: Correspondence. 1855-1904. Arranged alphabetically.
Series 2: Research Papers. 1877-1896. Arranged by subject.
Series 3: Artwork. 1880-82; 1884. Arranged by genus.


Access restrictions

This collection is open for research with permission from Mertz Library staff.


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be submitted in writing to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Ellis, Job Bicknell, 1829-1905--Archives.
Everhart, B.M. (Benjamin Matlock), 1818-1904.
Fungi--North America--Identification.
New York Botanical Garden Archives.

Related Material

Farlow Reference Library, Harvard University

Papers of William Gibson Farlow, 1844-1919

Collection of Botanists Papers, 1855-1946

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Job Bicknell Ellis Papers (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

This collection was transferred to the New York Botanical Garden Archives.

Processing Information

Originally processed by David Rose, Archives Assistant, June 1999 (revised November 1999)with grant funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH-PA 23141-98) and the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation. Converted into EAD in June 2006 by Kathleene Konkle under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH-PA 50678-04).

Container List


Series 1. Correspondence.

Scope and Content:

This series contains letters from a wide range of mycologists, primarily on specimen exchange and identification. In many cases, the quantity of correspondence is quite small, often a single letter. Notable are letters from George Washington Carver, Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, William Farlow, Asa Gray, H. W. Harkness, Auguste B. Langlois, Charles McIlvaine, Charles Horton Peck, Henry Ravenel, Pier A. Saccardo, and William Trelease. The letters of Benjamin Matlock Everhart is the largest single correspondence, numbering over 100 items.

Folder Title Date
1.1 Anderson, Frederick William n.d.
1.2 Arthur, Joseph Charles n.d.
1.3 Atkinson, George F. n.d.
1.4 Ballard, Julia P. n.d.
1.5 Banning, Mary Elizabeth n.d.
1.6 Bartholomew, Elam n.d.
1.7 Behm, N. n.d.
1.8 Bessey, Charles Edwin n.d.
1.9 Britton, Nathaniel Lord n.d.
1.10 Brown, Edgar n.d.
1.11 Burk, William H. n.d.
1.12 Burrill, T. J. n.d.
1.13 Calkins, William Wait n.d.
1.14 Carpenter, Williams S. n.d.
1.15 Carver, George Washington n.d.
1.16 Cavara, D. F. n.d.
1.17 Chester, Grace D. n.d.
1.18 Clarke, Cora Huidekoper n.d.
1.19 Cockerell, T. D. A. n.d.
1.20 Collier, Peter n.d.
1.21 Commons, Albert n.d.
1.22 Cooke, Mordecai Cubitt n.d.
1.23 Corno, Maxime n.d.
1.24 Crandall, Charles S. n.d.
1.25 Currier, Charles L. n.d.
1.26 Davis, J. J. n.d.
1.27 Dearness, John n.d.
1.28 Dietel, P. n.d.
1.29 Dudley, William R. n.d.
1.30 Eckfeldt, J. W. n.d.
1.31 Egeling, B. F. G n.d.
1.32 Everhart, Benjamin Matlock n.d.
1.33 Everhart, Benjamin Matlock n.d.
1.34 Everhart, Benjamin Matlock n.d.
1.35 Everhart, M. F. n.d.
1.36 Farlow, William Gibson n.d.
1.37 Fautrey, F. n.d.
1.38 Fergus, K. D. L. n.d.
1.39 Ferry, Rene n.d.
1.40 Fries, T. M. n.d.
1.41 Frost, Charles Christopher n.d.
1.42 Gaillard, A. n.d.
1.43 Galloway, B. T. n.d.
1.44 Gentry, Thomas George n.d.
1.45 Gerard, William Ruggles n.d.
1.46 Gerlach, Francis A. n.d.
1.47 Gray, Asa n.d.
1.48 Gray, Jerome B. n.d.
1.49 Greene, Edward L. n.d.
1.50 Haines, William S. n.d.
1.51 Halsted, Byron D. n.d.
1.52 Harkness, Harvey Willson n.d.
1.53 Harvey, Frances L. n.d.
1.54 Heller, A. A. n.d.
1.55 Hitchcock, A. S. n.d.
1.56 Holway, Edward Willet Dorland n.d.
1.57 Howe, Marshall A. n.d.
1.58 Jackson, Halliday n.d.
1.59 James, Davis Lawler n.d.
1.60 James, Joseph Francis n.d.
1.61 Jefferies, M. J. n.d.
1.62 Jones, Marcus E. n.d.
1.63 Jones, L. R. n.d.
1.64 Kellerman, William Ashbrook n.d.
1.65 Kelsey, Francis Duncan n.d.
1.66 Lagerheim, G. de n.d.
1.67 Lamson-Scribner, Frank n.d.
1.68 Langlois, Auguste Barthelemy n.d.
1.69 Leahy, Harry J. n.d.
1.70 Macoun, John n.d.
1.71 Magnus, Paul W. n.d.
1.72 McBride, Thomas Huston n.d.
1.73 McIlvaine, Charles n.d.
1.74 Martin, George n.d.
1.75 Martindale, Isaac Comly n.d.
1.76 Massee, George n.d.
1.77 Meehan, Thomas n.d.
1.78 Meschutt, George F. n.d.
1.79 Minns, Susan n.d.
1.80 Morgan, Andrew Price n.d.
1.81 Nash, George Valentine n.d.
1.82 Nuttall, Lawrence William n.d.
1.83 Pammel, L. H. n.d.
1.84 Patouillard, Narcisse-Theophile n.d.
1.85 Pazschke, Franz Otto n.d.
1.86 Pearson, Alex W. n.d.
1.87 Peck, Charles Horton n.d.
1.88 Peters, Thomas Minott n.d.
1.89 Phillips, George W. C. n.d.
1.90 Phillips, William n.d.
1.91 Pierce, Newton B. n.d.
1.92 Piper, Charles V. n.d.
2.1 Rau, Eugene Abraham n.d.
2.2 Ravenel, Henry W. n.d.
2.3 Ravenel, M. n.d.
2.4 Rehm, Heinrich n.d.
2.8 Rex, George Abraham n.d.
2.6 Robinson, Frank n.d.
2.7 Rothrock, Joseph Trimble n.d.
2.8 Saccardo, Pier A. n.d.
2.9 Seymour, Arthur Bliss n.d.
2.10 Shear, Cornelius Lott n.d.
2.11 Smith, C. L. n.d.
2.12 Southworth, Effie n.d.
2.13 Sprague, Charles James n.d.
2.14 Stevenson, Nellie W. n.d.
2.15 Stevenson, William Clark, Jr. n.d.
2.16 Stevenson, W. Lawrie n.d.
2.17 Stuntz, Steve C. n.d.
2.18 Suksdorf, Wilhelm Nikolaus n.d.
2.19 Thaxter, Roland n.d.
2.20 Thompson, J. S. n.d.
2.21 Townsend, C. A. n.d.
2.22 Tracy, Samuel Mills n.d.
2.23 Trelease, William n.d.
2.24 Tyler, John M. n.d.
2.25 Vise, John E. n.d.
2.26 Waghorne, Arthur Charles n.d.
2.27 Webber, H. J. n.d.
2.28 Weed, E. M. n.d.
2.29 Wegelin, H. n.d.
2.30 Weldin, John n.d.
2.31 Williams, Thomas Albert n.d.
2.32 Wingate, Harold n.d.
2.33 Winter, Georg n.d.
2.34 Wood, Frank E. n.d.
2.35 Wood, Thomas Fanning n.d.
2.36 Zabriskie, Jeremiah Lott n.d.
2.37 Unidentified correspondence with notes n.d.

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Series 2. Research Papers.

Scope and Content:

There are five files of mycological catalogues and descriptive notes, including a note on pyrenomycetes by Narcisse-Theophile Patouillard. The cover (boards) of Ellis' Fungi Nova-Caesareenses(1877) is included as an incidental item. There is an original hand-sewn pouch of loose notes on numbered specimens of fungi (some with pencil sketches and/or attached spore prints) and a separate file of notes, Agaricini. Each is organized alphabetically by genus.

Folder Title Date
2.38 Descriptive notes on fungi n.d.
2.39 Descriptive notes on fungi n.d.
2.40 Note sur deux genres nouveaux de pyrenomycetes by N. Patouillard n.d.
2.41 Synopsis of the genera n.d.
2.42 A list of mycological books (pamphlet) n.d.
2.43 Fungi Nova-Caesareenses [sic] 1887 n.d.
3.1 "Notes on Agarics," hand-sewn note-pouch, with loose notes on fungi, 1877
3.2 Agaricini, descriptive notes on fungi n.d.

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Series 3. Artwork.

Scope and Content:

There are two slipcased boxes (volumes) entitled Figures of North American Fungi. Volume I contains 149 watercolor illustrations of fleshy fungi, dated variously 1880, 1881, 1882, and 1884, based on specimens found in New Jersey and New York. The plates, separated by file tabs, are as follows: Agarics(95), Gasteromycetes (7), Hydnum (7), Russula (3), Polyporus (16), and Boletus (21). All are stamped “B.B.” and “M.B.” on reverse and have watermark initials on the front. One polypore illustration is signed “Charles H. Peck, Albany, State Museum of Natural History, 21 Dec 1880.” Volume II contains 26 ink sketches of microscopic structures and ascocarps of various ascomycetes, all identified on reverse as #9225.

Box Title Date
4 Figures of American Fungi, Volumes I and II 1880-1882/1884

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