- 1818 - 1908 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Small Collection: 2 boxes of correspondence, notes and papers
Name of creator
Born Stirling 1786, died Perthshire 1845
Robert Graham graduated from Edinburgh University in 1808 and was licensed by the Royal College of Surgeons in that year, securing an appointment at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1812. There he gave occasional lectures on botany and in 1818 became the first professor of botany at Glasgow University. In 1820 he was appointed Regius Professor of medicine and botany at Edinburgh University and keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden and King’s botanist (a post he held until his death in 1845), and was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1821. As Keeper of the Botanic Garden, Graham was responsible for establishing a new botanical garden on a 14 acre site in Inverleith Row to replace the one in Leith Walk. Over a period of two years he supervised the removal of all trees, shrubs and plants to the new site, sometimes subsidising the wages and expenses of the garden from his own pocket. In 1834 the largest palm house in Britain was opened at the Inverleith garden. In 1836 Graham became the first president of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh and in 1840 was made president of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. He was a popular lecturer, the first to lecture on botany during the winter months, and was the author of numerous papers on new species of plants, many grown in the Garden. He travelled widely collecting plants through Britain, Jersey and Ireland and embarked on, but never completed, a flora of Great Britain.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; 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’.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Graham, Prof Robert (1786-1845), Regius.Keeper. 1820-1845
•2 boxes of correspondence, notes and papers
includes reprint given to Graham in 1841 by De Jussieu: "Note sur des Fleurs Monstrueuses d'une espece d'Erable" by Adrien de Jussieu, extracted from Des Annales des Sciences Naturelles, June 1841
Dates of creation: 1818–1908
Box 1 of 2
• GB235 GRR/1 Ms. copies of correspondence, “Transcribed from R. Brown’s Correspondence.3. in the Botanical Department of the British Museum”, regarding Robert Brown’s candidature for the joint offices of King’s Botanist for Scotland, Regius Keeper, and Professor of Medicine and Botany in Edinburgh University, 1819–1827. Correspondents include Sir Joseph Banks, George H. Baird (Principal of the University of Edinburgh), Patrick Neill, and Lord Melville; ms. copies of correspondence between Robert Brown and Robert Graham, principally on botanical subjects, “Transcribed from R. Brown’s Correspondence.1. in the Botanical Department of the British Museum”, 1828–1845.
• GB235 GRR/2 Typescript notes,” Dr. [James] Dunsmure’s MS. /Evidently note of Prof. Graham’s lecture”, 25 pp.; typescript notes recording other scientist’s views on plant structures and functions:[Achille] Richard, 29 pp; [Charles] Darwin, 10 pp.; Mr. [Joseph] Knight, 3 pp.; [Augustin] De Candolle and [Kurt] Sprengel, 2 pp.; [Thomas]Thomson, 3 pp.; [John] Smith, 3 pp.; [Henri] Dutrochet, 3 pp.
• GB235 GRR/3 Ms., plant notes, 27 pp; ms. lecture notes for winter course, 47 pp.; ms. notes for Compendium of British Flora, 16 pp., 1831; ms. letter from Robert Graham to W.H. Campbell, Edinburgh Botanical Society, 1 p., 1837. [Note: 29 letters moved to Campbell folder at Boc. Soc. Scotland]; ms. copies of correspondence, 1824–1841. [Originals filed under “Balfour, J. Hutton, sup. corres. under “Plinian”; “Hooker, W. J.”; “Hamilton, Dr. Francis”]; “Biographical Sketch of the Late Robert Graham,” by Charles Ransford (Edinburgh, 1846; “Description of several New or Rare Plants …”, by Dr Graham, Edin. New Phil. Journal, 1829–1832; reprint, Notice of Botanical Excursions into the Highlands of Scotland from Edinburgh this Season, 1833,” by Dr Graham, Edin. New Phil. Journal, 1833; reprint, “Account of Botanical Excursions from Edinburgh in Autumn 1839,” Robert Graham; Index Stirpium Officinalium ut in Horto Regio Botanico Edinburgensi, with ms. annotations, 2 copies, 1826.
Box 2 of 2
• GB235 GRR/4 Scrapbook, typescript, ms., and copies of papers and correspondence, and [brass?] printing plate: “University of Edinburgh, May 81, Lectures of Botany, Robert Graham, M.D.” Papers include typescript biographical sketches, typescript copy of Graham’s appointment as Regius Professor of Botany in the University of Glasgow by George III (Aug. 1818) and ms. and typescript copy of Graham’s appointment as Regius Professor of Botany in the University of Edinburgh by George IV (March 1820), testimonial letters supporting Graham’s appointment, and a reprint letter to Patrick Neill, Secretary to the Caledonian Horticultural Society, from Andrew Duncan, on the controversy about the location for a new botanical garden at Edinburgh, May 1820. Subjects of correspondence include the disposal of Dr Graham’s papers and discussions of botanical matters. Correspondents include J.H. Balfour, William Brand, Robert Brown, Sir Joseph Banks, Mrs. Graham, A. Menzies, and Sir James Smith.
listing by M.R.
Name access points:
George Husband Baird
John Hutton Balfour
Sir Joseph Banks
William Hunter Campbell
Augustin de Candolle
W. J. Hooker
Sir James Smith
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Name access points
- Dunsmure, Dr. James (Subject)