Papers of: Holmes, Edward Morell (1843-1940)

Scope and Content

Notes and extracts on vegetable materia medica, botany, etc. (with the exception of MS.2882, which deals with British insects, and MS.7961 which consists of general correspondence). The plants discussed include species from Africa, Asia and the Americas. Many of the pieces are drafts of lectures (to bodies such as the Royal Botanic Society) or of papers later published in journals such as the Pharmaceutical Journal , Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society , Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association , etc. Some items include inserted correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Morell Holmes described himself as a "Consulting Botanist and Pharmacognosist" and was the author of many papers on botany and materia medica. He was lecturer in botany at the Westminster Hospital School from 1873 to 1876, lecturer in materia medica to the Pharmaceutical Society from 1887 to 1890, and Curator of the Museum of the Pharmaceutical Society from 1872 to 1922. In 1900 he was President to the British Pharmaceutical Conference. For an obituary see the Pharmaceutical Journal , 1930, 4th series, 71 , pp.284-286.


The material is divided between the main Western Manuscripts series (MSS.2867-2932 and 7961) and the American Manuscripts series (WMS/Amer.145-148). The four manuscripts in the American series deal with Latin American flora while the other large block of material, MSS.2867-2932, deals with flora from around the globe. MS.7961 comprises a single file of general correspondence. Within each of the large blocks of manuscripts, material is arranged in chronological order of composition (with the exception of MS.2932, which is written in collaboration with Edward Arthur Lionel Batters (1860-1907) and placed at the end of the block of material as a reflection of this difference in authorship).

Access Information

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Edward Morell Holmes's widow in 1935 (accession number 89200), with the exception of MS.2882 and WMS/Amer.148 which were purchased from Dulau & Co., London, in April 1931 (accession numbers 57899 and 57888 respectively).

Other Finding Aids

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973); and Robin Price, An Annotated Catalogue of Medical Americana in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1983).

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

holograph manuscripts and typescripts, held as volumes, files or bundles of papers.

Archivist's Note

description compiled by Christopher Hilton based upon those in the Library's published finding aids by S.A.J. Moorat and Robin Price.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Corporate Names