Ref NoMS/48
TitleList of botanical excursions in South America - Richard Spruce
AdminHistoryRichard Spruce (1817-1893) was a Victorian naturalist who spent 15 years exploring and collecting in the Amazon and Andes of South America. He was born in Ganthorpe, Yorkshire, on 10 September 1817. After training under his father, a teacher, Spruce became a tutor and he was a Schoolmaster at Haxby and at Collegiate School of York between 1839-1844. He developed an early interest in botany and from an early age began listing the plants found in and around Ganthorpe. From 1841 he kept a record of botanical fieldtrips he had undertaken in Yorkshire and in 1842 he travelled to Ireland. In 1845 he began his career as a professional plant hunter in the Pyrenees when he was sent on a collecting trip. In 1849, following the success of this first trip, he was encouraged by Sir William Hooker, the Director of Kew Gardens, to undertake a botanical exploration of the Amazon. He followed Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Walter Bates to the Amazon Basin, collecting more than 30,000 plant specimens there and in the Andes during the next 14 years. After returning to England he wrote 'The Hepaticae of the Amazon and the Andes of Peru and Ecuador'. He did a PhD in Berlin in 1864 and was made an Associate of the Linnean Society in 1893. He retired to Coneysthorpe, Yorkshire, in 1876 and died there on 28 December 1893.
DescriptionNotebook entitled 'List of Botanical Excursions, June 19 1841 - April 30 1863' by Richard Spruce containing an itinerary of Spruce's travels in the Amazon. It includes details of his travels as well as references to some of the species he collected and more personal details such as periods of illness.

Also includes 6 pages of handwritten text entitled 'Notes on the possible acclimitisation of Europeans in tropical South America'.
Date1841-1863
LevelFile
Extent1 notebook
LanguageEnglish
NotesSpruce did not publish an account of his years travelling in South America, but his friend, Alfred Russel Wallace, edited Spruce's notes and letters which were published in 2 volumes as 'Notes of a botanists on the Amazon and Andes' (1908). Wallace used this notebook heavily for this work and there is evidence of Wallace's handwriting.
AcquisitionDonated to the Linnean Society by W.G. Wallace (son of Alfred Russel Wallace) on 27 January 1934.
Finding_AidsTranscript and notes on Spruce produced by Michael B. Pearson in 2001 filed adjacent to it.
Creator NameSpruce, Richard
Access_StatusOpen
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