- 1913 - 1949 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1 box, 10cm
Name of creator
Roland Edgar Cooper was born in 1890 in Kingston-Upon-Thames, but lost both his parents by the age of four. He came to be cared for by his aunt Emma Wiedhofft who was married to William Wright Smith, eventual Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It was this association that was to shape Cooper's career - he travelled to Calcutta with Smith in 1907 when he became in charge of the Herbarium there, travelling and collecting botanical specimens in Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. In 1910, Cooper and Smith returned, and Cooper took the Horticultural course at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
In 1913, Cooper returned to the Himalayas to collect plants for A.K. Bulley of Ness, near Liverpool. He travelled through Sikkim in 1913, Bhutan in 1914-15, and the Punjab in 1916.
In 1921, after the First World War, during which Cooper served in the Indian Army, he was appointed Superintendent of the Botanic Garden at Maymo in the Shan Hills of Burma, eventually returning to Scotland in the late 1920's for the education of his son. From 1930-1934 Cooper worked at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as the Garden Curator's assistant, taking the role of Curator (Head Gardener) himself in 1934, a post he held until his retirement in 1950. Post retirement, he and his wife Emily Bartusek moved to Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex.
During his career, Cooper became a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, the Botanical Society of Edinburgh (now Scotland), the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Anthropological Society. He was also the vice-president of the Scottish Rock Garden Club, of which he was a founder member.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
REC/1: Roland Edgar Cooper – Plant Collecting paperwork, 1913-1949
REC/1/1: Notebooks, 1913-1916
REC/1/1/1: Field Books
REC/1/1/1/1-19: Sikkim, 1913; 19 books covering collection numbers 1-1023
REC/1/1/2: Plant Determinations
REC/1/1/2/1-3: Sikkim, Bhutan and Punjab, 1913-1916: notebooks covering collection numbers 1-6002 and summary sheet
REC/1/1/3/1: Itinerary, Bhutan, 1914-1915
REC/1/1/4: 3 numbered notebooks
REC/1/1/4/1: No.1: includes Sikkim itinerary, June-Oct 1913; trip to Phalut (Sikkim) Oct. 1913; Notes on witchcraft in Bengal, Feb. 1914; Notes on Bhutan travels; 1914; Notes on Bhutan forest distribution, 1915; Journal of travels in Eastern Bhutan, 1915; Misc. Notes on Sikkim and Bhutan including catalogue of Bhutan photographs.
REC/1/1/4/2: No.2: Notes of Itinerary of Second Tour of Bhutan 1915
REC/1/1/4/3: No.3: includes Notes on Topography and Vegetation of Western Bhutan, (1915?); Journal and Botanical Notes, Punjab, 1916; Misc. Notes including catalogue of Punjab photographs.
REC/1/1/5: Collecting books – 3 boxes containing books used to collect and number plants in the field.
REC/1/2: Maps- Two maps relating to Cooper's plant collecting expeditions, 1908-1916
REC/1/2/1: The first map is of Sikkim, Bhutan, parts of Nepal, Tibet, Bengal and Eastern Bengal and Assam, dates to 1908 and is annotated with Cooper's routes and the legend, "RE Cooper, A- 1914 - Tour in Bhutan, July-August, Sept, Oct, Novr; B- 1915 - April, May, June, July, August, Sept.".
REC/1/2/2: The second map is of parts of Lahaol and Spiti of the Kangra District and Chamba, Punjab with portions of ... Kashmir, dates to 1913 and is annotated with Cooper's routes and the legend "RE Cooper's visit to Kulu and Lahaol, 1916, seed collecting for A.K. Bulley, Neston, Cheshire".
REC/1/3: Retrospective Published Writings, 1933,1949
REC/1/3/1: Cooper’s copy of "Botanical Tours in Bhutan, with Special Reference to the Occurrence of the Genus Primula", by Roland Edgar Cooper, published in Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, November 1933.
REC/1/3/2: Cooper’s copy of "Notes upon Bhutan in the Eastern Himalaya", by R.E. Cooper, published in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Vol. 74, part 2, February 1949.