Plants of the New World
This bibliography focuses on the history of plant science in South America through the early nineteenth century. The Benson Collection's holdings in this area are significant and include rare books, fascimile editions, and large, elaborately produced reports of botanical expeditions. Much of the material listed is kept in the Rare Books and Manuscripts division of the library. The history of plant science in Latin America can be divided into three large areas: 1) The indigenous traditions, some of which are partially preserved in pre-Conquest picture writing and other artifacts, as well as in early post-Conquest histories and ethnographies; 2) 16th and 17th century attempts by Europeans to discover materia medica--medically useful plants or drugs--in the Western hemisphere; and 3) the age of the Enlightenment and of modern botanical science and expeditions. All materials listed are in the Benson Latin American Collection.