Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker

Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton

British botanist and explorer (1817-1911). 3 autograph letters signed "Jos. D. Hooker". Kew and The Camp, Sunningdale, Berkshire. 8vo and 12mo. Together 6 pp. on bifolia. With an autograph note attributed to William Jackson Hooker and an autograph letter monogrammed by the botanist Daniel Oliver.
$ 4,889 / 4.500 € (91353/BN60390)

Scientific correspondence by the great botanist with mostly unnamed colleagues, concerning the exchange of specimens and their various designations. The earliest letter is addressed to the American botanist Michael Schuck Bebb, answering questions about willows: "The enclosed herewith contains the best that we can do for you in regard to the willows which Prof. Oliver has drawn up [...] We have no specimen named S. pyrifolia Anders [...]" (Kew, April 1877). - The keeper and librarian of the herbarium in Kew, Daniel Oliver (1830-1916), is also mentioned in the second letter to an unnamed recipient from 19 March 1884.

Hooker announces that he has instructed Oliver to send specimens of "Exotic Grasses" to the correspondent and thanks him for contributions to his magnum opus, "Genera Plantarum": "It will give me great pleasure to contribute to your collection of Exotic Grasses, I have instructed Prof. Oliver accordingly. You have laid us under great obligations in the aid you have given us in respect of the Genera Plantarum. Your offer of specimens of [...] Transylvanian Grasses is most welcome [...] but I must beg you to wait till we have sent you some contributions from Kew." The correspondent had inquired about Hooker's famous collaborator George Bentham (1800-84), to which he responds: "You will have been gratified by hearing before this that my venerable coadjutor, Mr Bentham is alive & working hard at the Lilianae for 'Gen. Plant.' He has not been well of late, & I wish that his bodily health was as good as his altogether unimpaired faculties of sight, analysis, memory & judgement! These at 82 are quite wonderful & show no sign of change. A troublesome cough has weakened him a good deal [...]". Bentham, who late in his life had been "converted" to Darwinism by his young colleague Hooker and who co-authored the "Genera Plantarum", would die in September that year. - In the final letter of the collection, an aged Hooker thanks his correspondent for two specimens of the genus Impatiens and criticizes the quality of some specimens from the collection of the Austrian hortologist Carl von Hügel: "The two species of Impatiens have arrived & I have examined & named them [...] I have examined & named, as far as I can, all the Asiatic species [...] which I have delayed returning until the plates of several species are completed for the forthcoming Part of 'Hooker's Icones Plantarum' in which they will appear. I have sorted the species according the countries which they inhabit. There are some undescribed species in Baron Hugel's collection but without habitats & the specimens being very poor I think it better not to name them [...]". Carl von Hügel (1795-1870) was a diplomat, botanist and explorer who wrote a famous account of his travels in Northern India, introduced many Australian plants to Europe and was the founder of the Imperial Horticultural Society in Vienna. - The undated note that can be attributed to William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865), father of Joseph Dalton and first director at Kew from 1841 onwards, concerns the identification of an orchid: "I am unacquainted with this plant. It may be Rchb's Sobralia Bletia [...]. At all events it is not S. fragrans - which differs in size & the appendages of the column which in S. fragrans are short blunt and not fringed. I take for granted that the leaves are not hairy beneath as the drawing does not indicate them. If they are you had better look to S. Galeotti [...]". - David Oliver's letter from 12 July 1876 to an unnamed friend and colleague concerns the difficult identification of plants and includes two sketches. In closing, Oliver also mentions Joseph Dalton Hooker's intention to marry his second wife Lady Hyacinth Jardine, daughter of William Samuel Symonds: "Entre-nous [...] our good Chief J Hooker intends to marry Lady Jardine [...]". Hooker and Jardine did indeed marry that year. - Two of Hooker's letters on stationery with embossed letterhead of the Royal Gardens at Kew. The letter from 1909 with letterhead of Hooker's private residence "The Camp, near Sunningdale". Traces of folds. Minor browning and minimal stains. With collector's notes in pencil. - The note by William Jackson Hooker on stationery with stamp of the "Horticultural Society 21, Regent Street". With staple holes and collector's note in pencil. - The letter from Oliver on stationery with embossed letterhead of the Royal Gardens at Kew. Somewhat stained..

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