Collection FRG - George Forrest Collection

Original Digital object not accessible

Identity area

Reference code

GB235 FRG

Title

George Forrest Collection

Date(s)

  • 1902 - ? (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

7 metres - extensive Collection: Field Notes; Plant lists; Herbarium Samples; Books; Articles; News cuttings; Photographs; Prints; Expedition Correspondence; Professional Correspondence; Personal correspondence, ephemera & personal documents; Maps.

Context area

Name of creator

(1873-1932)

Biographical history

Born in Falkirk in 1873, George Forrest became one of Scotland's most prolific plant collectors, conducting seven expeditions in Yunnan province, S.W. China between 1904 and his death there in 1932.

Name of creator

(1670-present)

Administrative history

Name of creator

(1853-1922)

Biographical history

Son of John Hutton Balfour, Isaac Bayley Balfour was Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh between 1888 and 1922, specialising in Rhododendrons and Primulas and making improvements to the RBGE's teaching and laboratory facilities.

Name of creator

(1861-1939)

Biographical history

Name of creator

(1875-1956)

Biographical history

Born Dumfriesshire 1875; died Edinburgh 1956
William Wright Smith graduated MA from Edinburgh University in 1896 and, with a teaching diploma from Moray House, taught in Edinburgh schools for 6 years while developing an interest in natural sciences. He lectured at Edinburgh University in advanced botany between 1902 and 1907 before being appointed keeper of the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta in 1907. The following year he became acting superintendent with responsibilities including the Botanic Garden in Darjeeling and the quinine factory at Mungpoo. Smith spent 4 years in India, officiating as Director of the Botanical Survey of India, plant collecting in the remoter regions of the Himalayas up to 14,000 ft. and gaining a wide knowledge of the flora of India, the Himalayas and Burma. In 1911 Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour appointed him Deputy Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, a post he held until Bayley’s retirement in 1922 when he succeeded to the dual post of Regius Keeper of the Garden and Regius Professor of Botany at the University. During the Second World War Wright Smith’s work for the timber supply department stimulated his interest in forestry and through his links with the newly formed Forestry Commission he was responsible for establishing the first specialist garden of the Royal Botanic Garden at Benmore on the Cowal Peninsula, a site suitable for rhododendrons and conifers. Wright Smith also made considerable contributions to taxonomy specialising in Sino-Himalayan plants, particularly Primula and Rhododendron. Known for his ‘homely’, humorous and kindly disposition, Wright Smith received many honours during his long career. On the occasion of his 70th birthday he was presented with two portraits, one by Stanley Cursiter RSA. He was knighted in 1932 and held the post of Keeper for 34 years until his death in 1956.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists); HR Fletcher and WH Brown ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1670-1970’; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; press cuttings
D.W.

Archival history

This is an artificial collection put together by library, archives and RBGE staff throughout the 20th century - i.e. it was not put together by George Forrest himself. Rather it contains correspondence, papers, photographs, etc sent by Forrest to various correspondence, articles about Forrest, items donated by his family or associates and trather than store them as individual collections put together by these bodies, it was thought best to store them together as the Forrest collection, and as Sir William Wright Smith said, it is without exaggeration truly a 'tremendous affair'.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred from Bayley Balfour and Wright Smith collections and donated by individual such as J.C. Williams and Forrest's family. Also includes articles about Forrest and items related to him.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

FRG/1 Correspondence
• 1: Box of Forrest correspondence, 1903-08 (Clementina, I.B. Balfour, Bulley, Family), Forrest related correspondence, copies of his birth and marriage certificates, transcripts of his diary 1904-05, ‘Account of a Journey on the Upper Salwin, October to December 1905’, copy of the article ‘Land of the Crossbow, March 9th 1906’ from the National Geographic Magazine, (carbon copy, original version is in the red notebook under letter 3, filed in
the same box)
• 2: Box of Forrest correspondence, 1909-1911 – correspondence regarding his Yunnan expedition in 1910, and with I.B. Balfour and correspondence relating to Forrest.
• 3a: Box of Forrest correspondence with J.C. Williams 1911-1912, regarding his third expedition (February 1912-March 1915)
• 3b: Box of Forrest correspondence with J.C. Williams and I.B. Balfour, 1913-14 regarding his third expedition (February 1912- March 1915)
• 3c: Box of Forrest correspondence from 1915 regarding his third expedition (February 1912- March 1915)
• 4a: Box of Forrest correspondence from 1917-1920 regarding his fourth expedition (February 1917-March 1920)
• 4b: Box of Forrest correspondence, including I.B. Balfour and William Wright Smith, 1916-1920, regarding his fourth expedition (February 1917-March 1920)
• 5: Box of Forrest correspondence from June 1920-April 1923 regarding his fifth expedition (January 1921-March 1923)
• 6: Box of Forrest correspondence from 1922-28
• 7: Box of Forrest correspondence from 1929-1932, plus obituaries, etc.
FRG/2 Photographs
FRG/2/1 Prints:
• File of photographs marked ‘Forrest, Collectors, Human, etc.’
• File of photographs marked ‘Buildings, Temple, Graves, Towns, etc.’
• File of photographs marked ‘Mountain, Water, Bridge’
• File of photographs marked ‘Plants A-L’
• File of photographs marked ‘Plants M-Prim-’
• File of photographs marked ‘Plants Py-Z and misc.’
FRG/2/2 Glass Plate Negative Collection
FRG/3 Published work
• copy of the article ‘Land of the Crossbow’, from the National Geographic Magazine
FRG/4 Field Books
FRG/4/1 Unpublished Field Books:
• George Forrest’s field books – 27 original field books dating from 1904 to 1932
FRG/4/2 Published Field Books:
FRG/5 RBGE’s Notes relating to Forrest’s plants
• 16 folders in 15 boxes of RBGE’s plant collection notes arranged alphabetically by genus
• Three boxes of Rhododendron notes written and sent by Isaac Bayley Balfour and William Wright Smith c.1919,1921 and 1922 and Primula lists c.1914,1921 and 1922
FRG/6 Forrest’s lecture notes
• Box of lecture notes and lists of slides
• Box containing photo related lists, 1913-24 and lecture notes
FRG/7 Forrest’s collection of papers (unsorted at present)
FRG/8 maps
• Various maps of Forrest’s Botanical expeditions
• File containing maps from 1918-1922, some annotated and some hand drawn
FRG/9 - collection of work about Forrest by others, includes
• Box containing Cowan’s research from 1934 and information regarding Forrest Centenary in 1973
• Various articles referring to Forrest
• Various newspaper articles which mention George Forrest
FRG/10 RBGE Forrest ephemera – collection of objects used by / related to George Forrest
• Camera similar to one used by Forrest

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

open

Conditions governing reproduction

with permission from RBGE

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Envelope containing copies of Forrest correspondence and plant lists from the Rothschild Archive. Not to be copied without permission of the Rothschild Archive

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

GB235 FRG

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation revision deletion

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Art Cabinet: A:2
  • Shelf: F:5:3
  • Shelf: F:5:4