Type Collections

Dean Kelch dgkelch at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Dec 21 14:49:16 CST 1995

Dr. Huxley wrote that dispersing types throughout the herbarium avoids
the chance destruction of all types in the event of partial damage to a
building.  This is quite true, but there is another aspect to this.

After the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the resulting fire destroyed
almost all the buildings downtown, including the California Academy of
Sciences.  Alice Eastwood, the herbarium curator, climbed up the
staircase banister (the stairway itself had collapsed), tied up the types
(which were kept in one case) in an herbarium apron, and lowered them
safely out the window.  By the time she crawled back down the ruined
staircase and rushed outside, the fire was two buildings away.
Nevertheless, the types were saved.

Therefore, the dispersal of types protects them from total destruction in
the case of partial damage, but almost ensures their destruction in the
case of complete damage. Its a trade-off.

Dean Kelch

More information about the Taxacom mailing list