NY State College of Agriculture
Cornell University
Nature Study
Education of Women
Commission on Country Life
   Hortorium Brochure
   Squash Specimen
   Carrot Specimen
   Ethel Zoe Bailey
   Horticultural Catalog Collection
   LHB with Rubus Specimen
   LHB at his Hortorium

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Bailey collected numerous specimens and books for his own research. At a time when most herbaria concentrated on wild plants, his specimens represented a unique repository of preserved specimens of cultivated plants. Numbering more than 200,000 when Bailey gave them to Cornell, his specimens were enhanced by notes and photographs to create a permanent record, which Bailey called his “card index of the vegetable world.” The collection included materials Bailey gathered during expeditions in Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and China, as well as novelties he grew as soon as they were introduced. The Hortorium also contained nearly 3,000 books about wild plants and cultivated plants of every country and an extensive collection of seed and plant catalogs. Bailey regarded the orderly treatment of the names of cultivated plants as his most significant contribution to the plant sciences.

In order to provide continuity for his life’s work, Bailey gave his herbarium and his library to Cornell University in 1935, specifying that it be called the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, a name he coined for a place for the scientific study of cultivated plants. The Hortorium became a department of the university, with Bailey as its unsalaried director and his daughter, Ethel, as curator. Now a unit of the Department of Plant Biology, the Hortorium today continues its mission to include systematic studies of wild and cultivated plants, ethnobotany, plant molecular systematics, paleobotany of angiosperms, systematics theory, biodiversity studies, and pharmaceutical studies of tropical plants.

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