Anna Murray Vail 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: Vail, A. M. (Anna Murray), b. 1863.
Title: Anna Murray Vail Papers (PP)
Dates: 1892-1905
Quantity: .5 linear feet; 1 box
Call Phrase: Vail (PP)

Biography of Anna Murray Vail

Anna Murray Vail (1863-1955) was born 1863 in New York City. She was educated in Europe and later became a student of Nathaniel Lord Britton. In 1896 she donated her Herbarium which consisted of 3000 specimens, mostly from Eastern United States, to the New York Botanical Garden. Ms. Vail was a member of the Torrey Botanical club and was active in the movement to found the New York Botanical Garden. She studied the taxonomy of Leguminosae and Asclepiadaceae.

In 1900 she became the first Librarian of NYBG where she stayed until 1907. After resigning her post she went to France where she lived through two World Wars. She was active in The American Fund for French Wounded (1915-1919) which was founded to further the relief efforts of American women during WWI.

While in France, she had acquired a house in Hericy and remained active in Library work until her health failed her. By 1952 she had become blind and she died in 1955 at the age of 92.

Scope and Content

The Anna Murray Vail Papers document the botanical career of Ms. Vail, especially as it pertained to her research in the Asclepiadaceae and Leguminosae families. The collection contains some correspondence, research papers, manuscripts and field notebooks. The papers are arranged in three series.


The collection is organized into three series:
Series 1: Correspondence. 1895-1899. Arranged alphabetically.
Series 2: Research Notes. n.d. Arranged alphabetically.
Series 3: Field Notebooks. 1891-1897. Arranged chronologically.


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.
Vail, A. M. (Anna Murray), b. 1863 -- Archives.
New York Botanical Garden Archives.
Plants -- Massachusetts -- Tyringham.
Plants -- New York (State) -- Greene County.
Plants -- New York (State) -- Tannersville.
Plants -- Virginia.

Related Material

The New York Botanical Garden

RG6--Records of the Library

RG3--Records of the Director in Chief- N.L Britton’s administrative files.

The New York Public Library:

Manuscripts and Archives Section, 5th Avenue.

Control No. NYPW93-A39.--American Fund for the French Wounded, 1915-1919.

Separated Material

Field Notebooks have been removed from the main collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Anna Murray Vail 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 Susan Fraser, NYBG Archivist, July 1999, with grant funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities. (NEH-PA 23141-98). Converted to EAD in July 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:

Correspondence relating to botanical subjects.

Folder Title Date
1.1 Baker, Edmund 1899
1.2 Burkill, Henry 1899
1.3 Eastwood, Alice (photocopy) 1895
1.4 Lemmon, J.G. 1895
1.5 Millspaugh, C.F. 1899
1.6 Robinson, B.L. 1897-1899

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Series 2. Research Notes.

Scope and Content:

Research Notes consists of some handwritten notes, typed data sheets and carbon copies of species descriptions mainly in the Asclepiadaceae and Leguminosea families.

Folder Title Date
1.7 A n.d.
1.8 Amsonia n.d.
1.9 Asclepias n.d.
1.10 Cracca n.d.
1.11 Crotalaria n.d.
1.12 C n.d.
1.13 Dalia n.d.
1.14 Dolicholus n.d.
1.15 Galactia n.d.
1.16 Gondolobus n.d.
1.17 Lachnostoma n.d.
1.18 M n.d.
1.19 Meibomia n.d.
1.20 P n.d.
1.21 Philibertella n.d.
1.22 Parosela n.d.
1.23 Polygonum n.d.
1.24 Psorelea n.d.
1.25 R-S n.d.
1.26 Notes on Juniperus communis L. n.d.
1.27 Some Later “Bigelow Papers” …A Reminiscence n.d.
1.28 Photographs n.d.

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Series 3. Field Notebooks.

Scope and Content:

The collection also contains a number of field notebooks from Miss Vail’s collecting trips to Virginia, Vol. 222; Tyringham, Massachusetts, Vol. 294; and Tannersville and Greene County, New York, Vol. 629.

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