Spring 2024 Bulletin

From the Archives

Emily Buff
Colored botanical illustrations of a yellow flower, including its leaves, stem, and fruiting body. The flower has five large outside petals and many interior petals. The image shows the flower in several stages of development, including budding, flower, and fertilization. The leaves are large and fat. The stem is shown in a cross section and is comprised of smaller shafts. The fruiting body is also shown in a cross section, which illustrates seed development.
An illustration of the Yellow Water-lily (Nuphar lutea) “Nymphæa lutea,” Artist unknown.
Colored botanical illustrations of a pink flower, including its leaves and roots. The flower is comprised of many smaller flowers of four large pink petals, with four smaller and thinner petals alternating, which bud off the main woody-looking stem of the plant. The leaves are a little larger than the smaller flower, but very thin. The illustration of the roots shows how the plant can also spread by root, and displays a cross section of the stem, which is comprised of rings similar to tree growth.
An illustration of Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) “Epilobium angustifolium,” Artist unknown.

Jan Kops, ed., Flora Batava (J.C. Sepp en Zoon). Archives of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Mass.

By Emily Buff, Archives Intern

Within the Academy Archives is an illustrated book with over eighty hand-colored illustrations of native plants of the Netherlands. This book was received through the Academy’s publication exchange with other academic and state societies.1 A record of these exchanges can be found in the Academy’s letterbooks.2  

The Academy received the first installment of the Flora Batava in 1803 from the Secretary of the Interior Council of the Republic of Batavia, which would later become part of the Kingdom of Holland and then part of the Netherlands. The King of the Netherlands sent later issues to the Academy.3 The correspondence concerning the sending and receiving of issues of the Flora Batava dates from 1803 and 1822. 

The Academy’s library was sold to the Linda Hall Library in the 1940s, but a small portion of the books was not included in that sale because of its significance to the history of the Academy. The Flora Batava was one such book.