We specialize in Americana, especially manuscript materials. We offer manuscript letters and archives, diaries, journals, personal and business correspondence from the 17th century through the 20th.

  • Letters to Jacob Bigelow
    Collection of 44 letters, 98 pages, mainly quarto, in very good, clean and legible condition.
    Significant archive of incoming correspondence to Dr. Jacob Bigelow from twenty notable correspondents, dating from 1814 – 1823, which illuminates the beginnings of American Botanical Science and its relation to medicine in the new American Republic. Bigelow was a 19th century Renaissance man, physician, teacher, botanist, and technician - he is becoming recognized today as one of the major philosophers of the medicine of his era – a transitional figure between the old medicine and the new. Bigelow studied under Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work on the medicinal plants of the United States exerted a strong influence on Bigelow’s subsequent career. Bigelow built up his medical practice in Boston after 1811, and continued to pursue his interest in botany, he instituted in 1812 a course of lectures in botany – in connection with these lectures and in the preparation of drugs for his medical practice, he commenced an intensive study of the flora of the Boston region and in 1814 published Florula Bostoniensis, based on these researches. He was the first native born botanist to collect and describe New England’s flora. At the time the study of natural history was advanced by passionate scientific amateurs, Bigelow brought a more thorough, systemic, and scientific approach to the subject. Bigelow is often remembered today for his bibliographic… more >