About the Royal Botanic Gardens Archive
The archive is a primary source digital collection with global coverage allowing for comparative analyses of different regions with primarily English-language content. This is due to the Royal Botanic Gardens’ role as the hub of a global network of institutions and knowledge transfer throughout the timeframe of the collection.
The archive is a relevant resource to teaching and research in several disciplines. Environmental humanities is a growing and multi-disciplinary field in higher education, and this archive enables researchers and students to access a wealth of documents covering environmental, economic, and imperial histories. The Miscellaneous Reports is comprised of unique or rare material organized by country or region in bound ‘scrapbooks’, including reports and related correspondence covering a broad range of topics in environmental humanities.
The diversity of material in the Miscellaneous Reports collection will allow students and researchers across many fields to study, among others: Kew’s important role in the advancement of knowledge and professionalization of science; the globalization and commoditization of the world economy, especially economic and medical botany; exploration and travel; the interconnectivity of professional and personal networks; and the effects and ramifications of colonial and imperial activities.
This archive covers the years c.1840-1970 – a crucial period in globalization and the peak of global colonial activity. It contains 772 files (c.300,000 images). Most files are bound volumes averaging 400-500 images each and are similar to scrapbooks: the materials – reports, correspondence, or other published or unpublished literature – were collated by Kew and aggregated into volumes organized by country or region.
This mix of material types and collecting structure, together with Kew’s key role as a scientific, political, and colonial institution is what makes the Miscellaneous Reports so fascinating and rich for scholars and students.
Primary Source Materials
- Published and unpublished reports
- Travel literature
- Newspaper and journal articles