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HE Massachusetts Horticultural Society was founded and incorporated A. D. 1829. From the beginning the importance of a collection of books and periodicals on subjects of horticultural interest was recognized and on April 7, 1829, a Committee on the Library was appointed "to have charge of all books, drawings, and engravings, and to recommend from time to time such as it may be deemed expedient to procure."
This committee consisted of H. A. S. Dearborn, the first President of the Society, John C. Gray, Jacob Bigelow, T. W. Harris, and E. Hersey Derby. Subsequent committees have been continued without interruption to the present time, and through their labors and the fostering care of the Society a collection of books on horticulture has been made which is believed to be the oldest, most complete, and best organized strictly horticultural library in the world.
In addition to the liberal appropriations from the funds of the Society the interest in the library by the members has been shown by the following donations and bequests for its increase and maintenance:
In 1869 Josiah Stickney, President of the Society in 1858, established a fund of $12,000, the income of which for thirty years was to be expended for the purchase of books on botany, horticulture, landscape gardening, and other kindred subjects. Through the income of this fund the Society was enabled to add to the library important and valuable publications among which may be mentioned the following titles: Flora Danica; Sibthorp's Flora Graeca; Curtis's Flora Londinensis; Flore Portugaise, by Hoffmansegg and Link; Flora Brasiliensis, by Von Martius and others; Karsten's Florae Columbiae; De Tussac's Flore des Antilles; Roxburgh's Plants of the Coast of Coromandel; Blanco's Flora de Filipinas; The Herefordshire Pomona, by Robert Hogg and H. G. Bull; Gallesio's Pomona Italiana; Von Martius's Historia Naturalis Palmarum; Bateman's Monograph of Odontoglossum; and Miss Woolward's Genus Masdevallia.
In 1900 the bequest of John S. Farlow of $2500 was received the income of which has been devoted annually to the purchase of books in accordance with the provisions of Mr. Farlow's will. In 1901 by the will of John D. Williams French a fund of $5000 was bequeathed to the Society the income of which is used for the purchase of books for the library.
The first catalogue of the library was printed in the New England Farmer of August 10, 1831, and enumerated 190 volumes. Later lists of books were published from time to time in the Transactions of the Society until 1854, when a catalogue was issued in a small pamphlet containing the titles of 414 volumes. Another was published in 1867 enumerating the titles of 1290 volumes, and in 1873 a complete catalogue was printed occupying 155 octavo pages. No complete catalogue has been printed since the latter date, although for many years it was customary to publish the accessions in the annual reports of the Committee on the Library. The present catalogue enumerates approximately 22,000 volumes, including pamphlets, which now being bound in covers are counted as volumes.
In addition to the books the library has accumulated a collection of nurserymen's and seedsmen's trade catalogues of many countries numbering 11,000 items and dating back to 1776. This