The New York Botanical Garden was established with a mission to seek knowledge about plant life, conduct research, offer courses of instruction, and provide a place for the public to learn about botany. This historical study of the New York Botanical Garden provides the first and only comprehensive social history of this vital institution. The monograph is intended for the general public as well as the scientific community. In order to familiarize the reader with the nature and historical development of the modern botanical garden, the narration begins long before 1891, and goes back as far as the Ancient Egyptians and Romans. In addition, the work discusses the interesting local history and people who inhabited the area where the great institution was established. The story continues with the foundations of The Garden, and its early history and developments through the Depression. The book also considers the growing importance of environmental issues and the growth of the conservatory, library, and herbarium. The history concludes with the major events of the late 1970s, with an overview of the garden up to the year 2000. Every institution or organization has a mission. The New York Botanical Garden provides a public service to improve human life, and has assumed a certain charisma that permeates its very foundation. Reading the institution's story illuminates this charisma, which has characterized the Garden throughout its history.
This small volume is not only a history of the establishment and growth of the New York Botanical Garden; it also provides an interesting perspective on the parallel history of the New York City area and the nation throughout the 90 years that are described, thoroughly footnoted and indexed by historian Harry Dunkak.--Aaron M. Ellison, Harvard University "Plant Science Bulletin "