U.S. Plant Introduction Garden Records

Photo of a man (Edward Simmonds) in a hat holding a potted mango plant.

Introduction

The U.S. Plant Introduction Garden Records cover the period from 1895 to 1951, with the bulk of the material produced between 1908 and 1919. The collection occupies 5.75 linear feet of shelf space. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Subtropical Horticulture Research Station in Miami, Florida transferred these records from its library to the Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in 2014.

The materials in the collection are in fair to good condition and may be used without restrictions. The supplementary reports on the Miami station and specific crops were removed from their original cloth-covered binders because of water damage. These reports were re-housed in acid-free folders and document boxes. Some of the USDA publications transferred with this collection, including Farmers' Bulletins and Bureau of Plant Industry Bulletins, were discarded because they were in poor condition, and copies already exist in NAL's general collection.

This collection was arranged and described by Diane Wunsch in 2015.

Historical Sketch

The USDA established a Plant Introduction Garden on six acres of rented land on Brickell Avenue in Miami, Florida in 1898. David G. Fairchild, chief of the USDA's Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction at that time, led an effort to build field stations for adapting imported plants in different regions of the country. He planned the Miami facility as a place to test, develop, and distribute plant material brought back by USDA plant explorers from around the world.

The original garden site soon became crowded. In 1914, the USDA's Bureau of Plant Industry leased an additional 25 acres in the Buena Vista subdivision of north Miami in order to expand. As the department's plant exploration activities continued, the garden quickly outgrew the combined Brickell and Buena Vista sites. On Fairchild's recommendation, the USDA obtained permission from the War Department to use part of the abandoned Chapman Field Military Reservation for the plant introduction garden.

The first permanent planting was made at the Chapman Field site in 1923. Over the next three years, many of the plants grown at the Brickell and Buena Vista gardens were transferred to the new location. In 1926, a hurricane swept through Miami, causing severe damage to the early gardens. They were soon abandoned, most of their plants having been established at Chapman Field.

In a departmental reorganization in 1972, the Chapman Field facility was renamed the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station (SHRS). In 1987, the plant collections at SHRS were formally designated as part of the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), and Chapman Field became a National Germplasm Repository.

Scope and Content Note

The U.S. Plant Introduction Garden Records comprise materials from files, reports, manuscripts, and publications transferred from the USDA's Subtropical Horticulture Research Station in Miami, Florida. The records in this collection contain original and copy correspondence, notes, reports, plant inventories, photographs, lists, books, and drawings that record the early activities of the Miami research station.

The bulk of the files contain materials, primarily notes, correspondence, photographs, clippings, and pamphlets, on the subject of mangoes. The documents in the files were kept in their original subject order without any apparent format or date arrangement. One box of files contains original handwritten and typewritten correspondence from David G. Fairchild to T. B. McClelland, Harold Loomis, R. A. Young, and others at the Miami station between 1939 and 1951. There are also carbon copies of replies from station personnel to Fairchild. Other records include documents from Fairchild's 1939-1941 Pacific expedition, and two handwritten and illustrated notebooks of F. Wilson Popenoe recording his observations of mangoes in India. In addition, there are a few items related to the investigation of cryptostegia as an alternative source of rubber during World War II.

The supplementary project reports cover the following tropical crops: Annona (anona), artichoke, avocado, carob, chayote, lychee (litchi), mango, and papaya. There are also three volumes of supplemental reports on the Miami plant introduction garden's activities, and a list of rubber-producing plants.

Among the bound volumes are reports of David Fairchild's trips to the Florida plant introduction station in 1913, 1914, and 1915. The collection also includes a few volumes of bulletins of the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction, and proceedings of the American Pomological Society for 1891 and 1895.

Container List

Box 001 - Fairchild files. 1936-1951, undated.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

001 001 David Fairchild correspondence 1939-1944
001 002 David Fairchild correspondence 1945-1951
001 003 Photograph of David Fairchild testing spray
equipment
undated
001 004 Fairchild Expedition, notes sent to Washington,
D.C.
1939-1941, 1943
001 005 Fairchild Expedition, original notes (1 of 2) 1939-1941
001 006 Fairchild Expedition, original notes (2 of 2) 1939-1941
001 007 Charles Torrey Simpson library, bibliographies 1936, 1943, 1945
Box 002 - Mango files. 1889-1919, undated.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

002 001 Mango (1 of 2) 1889-1919
002 002 Mango (2 of 2) 1889-1919
002 003 Mango (1 of 2) 1908-1916, undated
002 004 Mango (2 of 2) 1908-1916, undated
002 005 Mango (1 of 2) 1909-1916, undated
002 006 Mango (2 of 2) 1909-1916, undated
002 007 Mango 1903, 1907, 1911-1918, undated
002 008 Mango varieties, L 1903, 1908, 1910, 1915, undated
002 009 Mango varieties, M 1911, undated
002 010 Mango varieties, N 1903, 1916, undated
002 011 Mango varieties, O undated
Box 003 - Mango files. 1889-1922, undated.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

003 001 Mango 1889, 1903-1915, 1922, undated
003 002 Mango 1889, 1903, 1909-1916, undated
003 003 Mango 1913, 1915, undated
003 004 Mango 1913-1917, undated
003 005 Mango 1900, 1907-1912, 1915
003 006 Mango undated
003 007 Mango 1911-1915, undated
003 008 Mango 1911-1915, undated
003 009 Mango notebook, Bombay, F. Wilson Popenoe 1912
003 010 Mango notebook, Calcutta, F. Wilson Popenoe 1912
Box 004 - Mangoes, California fruit and nut crops, and cryptostegia (rubber) investigation files. 1890-1942, undated.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

004 001 Mangoes, bananas, and plantains: reports 1890,1928
004 002 Mango varieties and commercial scores 1903, undated
004 003 "The Mango" by G. Marshall Woodrow, manuscript and
correspondence
1903
004 004 Mango introductions 1907-1909
004 005 Correspondence related to Sandersha mangoes 1909
004 006 Literature and correspondence course materials on
fruit and nut crops in California (1 of 2)
1915, 1925, undated
004 007 Literature and correspondence course materials on
fruit and nut crops in California (2 of 2)
1915, 1925, undated
004 008 Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction
progress report
1922
004 009 Photograph panel albums 1942, undated
004 010 Cryptostegia literature 1934, undated
004 011 Cryptostegia program of SHADA in Haiti 1942
Box 005 - Supplementary project reports. 1907-1919.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

005 001 Annona (1 of 2) 1906-1916
005 002 Annona (2 of 2) 1909-1916
005 003 Annona 1917-1919
005 004 Artichoke and chayote (1 of 2) 1907-1915
005 005 Artichoke and chayote (2 of 2) 1907-1915
005 006 Avocado (1 of 2) 1909-1912
005 007 Avocado (2 of 2) 1909-1912
005 008 Avocado (1 of 2) 1914
005 009 Avocado (2 of 2) 1914
Box 006 - Supplementary project reports. 1910-1921.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

006 001 Carob (1 of 2) 1910-1918
006 002 Carob (2 of 2) 1910-1918
006 003 Chayote (1 of 2) 1916
006 004 Chayote (2 of 2) 1916
006 005 Chayote (1 of 2) 1917-1918
006 006 Chayote (2 of 2) 1917-1918
006 007 Chayote (1 of 2) 1919,1921
006 008 Chayote (2 of 2) 1919,1921
Box 007 - Supplementary project reports. 1907-1919.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

007 001 Lychee (1 of 2) 1907-1915
007 002 Lychee (2 of 2) 1907-1915
007 003 Lychee (1 of 2) 1916-1919
007 004 Lychee (2 of 2) 1916-1919
007 005 Mango (1 of 2) 1908-1912
007 006 Mango (2 of 2) 1908-1912
007 007 Mango (1 of 3) 1913-1914
007 008 Mango (2 of 3) 1913-1914
007 009 Mango (3 of 3) 1913-1914
Box 008 - Supplementary project reports. 1912-1919, undated.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

008 001 Papaya (1 of 2) 1912-1914
008 002 Papaya (2 of 2) 1912-1914
008 003 Papaya (1 of 2) 1915-1919
008 004 Papaya (2 of 2) 1915-1919
008 005 List of rubber producing plants undated
Box 009 - Supplementary reports. 1907-1918.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

009 001 Miami Plant Introduction Garden (1 of 2) 1907-1914
009 002 Miami Plant Introduction Garden (2 of 2) 1907-1914
009 003 Miami Plant Introduction Garden (1 of 2) 1915-1916
009 004 Miami Plant Introduction Garden (2 of 2) 1915-1916
009 005 Miami Plant Introduction Garden 1917-1918
Box 010 - Reports from David Fairchild's Florida trips. 1913-1915.

Box

Folder

Title

Date(s)

010 Report of Florida Trip in 1913 1913
010 Report of Southern Trip, Spring of 1914 1914
010 Report of Florida Trip in 1915 1915

Publications. 10 volumes. 1886-1923.

Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions. Vol. 1-50. Plant Immigrants. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 1908.

Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions. Vol. 51-100. Plant Immigrants. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 1910.

Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions. Vol. 101-150. Plant Immigrants. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 1914.

Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Bulletin of Foreign Plant Introductions. Vol. 153-176. Plant Immigrants. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, 1919.

Proceedings of the Twentieth Session of the American Pomological Society Held in Grand Rapids, Mich., September 9th, 10th and 11th, 1885 . s.l.: American Pomological Society, 1886.

Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Session of the American Pomological Society Held in Washington, D.C., September 22-24, 1891 . Ann Arbor, MI: The Register Publishing Company, 1891.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. Bulletins 54-57. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903-1905.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. Bulletins 66-69. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904-1905.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported by the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Vol. 61-66. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1919.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported by the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. Vol. 67-76. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1921.

Sources used for this finding aid

Fairchild, David. "Reminiscences of Early Plant Introduction in South Florida." Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 51 (1938): 11-33. Condensed and reprinted by USDA Agricultural Research Service, https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/miami-fl/subtropical-horticulture-research/docs/reminiscences-of-early-plant-introduction-in-south-florida/

Loomis, H. F. "Activities of the U.S. Plant Introduction Garden." 1957. Reprinted by USDA Agricultural Research Service, https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/miami-fl/subtropical-horticulture-research/docs/activities-of-the-us-plant-introduction-garden/.

McGuire, Raymond G., Raymond J. Schnell, and Walter P. Gould. "A Century of Research with USDA in Miami."Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 112 (1999): 224-32. Reprinted by USDA Agricultural Research Service, https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/miami-fl/subtropical-horticulture-research/docs/a-century-of-research-with-usda-in-miami/