Robert Almer Harper Papers (PP)

Archives, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
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Bronx, New York 10458-5126
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This finding aid was produced in English.

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Collectors: Harper, Robert Almer, 1862-1946.
Title: Robert Almer Harper Papers (PP)
Dates: 1910-1946
Quantity: 2 linear inches; 1 box
Call Phrase: Harper (PP)

Biography of Robert Almer Harper

Robert Almer Harper, widely known botanist, was born in Le Claire, Iowa, on January 21, 1862. He received a B.A. (1886) and an M.A. (1891) degree from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany in 1896. Harper taught at Gates College (1886-1888), Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy (1889-1891), and Lake Forest University (1891-1898). He was professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin from 1898 to 1911 and from 1911-1930 he was Torrey Professor of Botany at Columbia University.

While chief of the board of scientific directors of the New York Botanical Garden in the 1920s, Harper conducted a series of experiments to find better methods of treating diseased plants. He wrote widely and belonged to many scientific organizations, among them the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Botanical Society of America. Harper died on May 12, 1946, in Bedford, Virginia, at the age of eighty-four.

Scope and Content

The collection comprises materials relating to his professional career as a research botanist, including correspondence with scientific colleagues, photographs, lectures and notes, and materials on the Tropical Plant Research Foundation.


The collection is organized into four series:
Series 1: Biographical information. 1910-1946 and undated. Arranged chronologically
Series 2: Correspondence. 1912-1939. Arranged alphabetically
Series 3: Subject files. 1917-1934 and undated.
Series 4: Tropical Plant Research Foundation. 1925-1926 and undated.


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.
Harper, Robert Almer, 1862-1946--Archives.
New York Botanical Garden Archives.
Tropical Plant Research Foundation.

Related Material

New York Botanical Garden

RG4--Bernard Ogilvie Dodge Records

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Robert Almer Harper Papers (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the New York Botanical Garden.

Processing Information

Originally processed by an archives volunteer in June 2000. Converted to 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. Biographical information.

Scope and Content:

One file with general information and a photograph; and one with information relating to his honorary degree from Columbia University in 1929.

Folder Title Date
1.1 General 1910/1946
1.2 Honorary degree 1929

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Series 2. Correspondence.

Scope and Content:

Correspondence with scientific colleagues on a variety of subjects.

Folder Title Date
1.3 Allee, W.C 1931
1.4 Barton, Lela 1933
1.5 Broadhurst, Grant 1912
1.6 Brunel, J 1932-1933
1.7 Crocker, William 1932
1.8 Eddy, W. H. 1929
1.9 Emmons, Chester 1930
1.10 Fackenthal, Frank 1928-1929
1.11 Findlay, Hugh 1923
1.12 Fox, Dixon Ryan 1929
1.13 Marie-Victorin, Prof. Fr. 1932
1.14 Moore, Barrington 1931
1.15 Raines, M.A. 1936
1.16 Raper, Kenneth B. 1936/1939
1.17 Reed,George 1934
1.18 Raid, Mary 1926
1.19 Rice, M.A. 1932
1.20 Varrelman, F.A. 1930

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Series 3. Subject files.

Scope and Content:

Four files on scientific and organizational topics.

Folder Title Date
1.21 Compilation of Species of Micropuccinia, 1924
1.22 Cytology lectures, Columbia University, 1917
1.23 National Academy of Sciences, Officers and Members 1934
1.24 Notes n.d.

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Series 4. Tropical Plant Research Foundation.

Scope and Content:

Two files of memoranda and correspondence, including many with W.A. Orton, Director and General Manager; and a photograph of laboratory at Boruga, Cuba.

Folder Title Date
1.25 Statements, memoranda, correspondence 1925
1.26 Statements, memoranda, correspondence 1926
1.27 Photograph, Laboratory at Boruga, Cuba, n.d.

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