LIBRARY & Archives


library & archives

A world-class botanical library, the CalBG Library specializes in systematic, floristic and evolutionary botany and the botany, horticulture, natural history and ethnobotany of California.

The CalBG Library contains some 32,000 books and approximately 1,100 print journal titles, with access to electronic journals and books through The Claremont Colleges Library. Special Collections holds 2,200 rare herbals, historic scientific literature, and illustrated botanical books. CalBG Library holdings can be found in The Claremont Colleges Library catalog The Library provides support services for the staff and students of CalBG, members and volunteers of the organization, members of The Claremont Colleges and the general public. Founder Susanna Bixby Bryant’s plan for her botanic garden included a research-quality library. She built a considerable personal collection in her lifetime, and that collection continues to be the foundation of the Library today. The collection also includes journal article reprints, maps, newspaper articles regarding CalBG, and nursery and seed catalogs. A list of the Library’s California Topographic Maps is available here.


marcus e. jones

The papers, photographs, and herbarium of botanist Marcus E. Jones (1852-1934) provide a unique view of the American West and Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The finding aid to the Marcus E. Jones papers can be found here.

The first English edition, with annotations and illustrations, of Jones' A Botanical Excursion to Colorado and the Far West can be downloaded here.

clara mason fox botanical illustrations

Artist, poet, and schoolteacher Clara Mason Fox (1873-1959) moved with her family to Orange County, California in 1887. She found artistic inspiration in Silverado Canyon, Santiago Canyon, and the Santa Ana Mountains. Her collection of almost 150 botanical illustrations are housed in the CalBG archives and have been featured in various exhibitions and publications. The finding aid to the Clara Mason Fox botanical illustrations can be found here.


Robert F. Thorne (1920-2015) was plant taxonomist, herbarium curator, and professor of botany at California Botanic Garden and Claremont Graduate University from 1962 until his retirement in 1987. The collection contains his field notes, correspondence, publications, manuscripts, and photographs made over the course of his career. The finding aid to the Robert F. Thorne papers can be found here.


The CalBG records document the history of the garden from its founding in Orange County in 1927 to the present day. The collection includes Susanna Bixby Bryant’s correspondence files, department records, meeting minutes and reports, publications, information about the Bixby Bryant family, and more. The finding aid to the CalBG records can be found here.
Check out our guide to see a full list of CalBG archival collections here. All finding aids are available through the Online Archive of California.

policies & protocols

library collection policy


Regulations for Use of Archives

Regulations for Use of the Library




California Revealed: California Revealed is a State Library initiative to help California’s public and special libraries digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials - books, newspapers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and more - that tell the incredible stories of the Golden State. California Revealed has awarded CalBG with numerous cataloging assistance grants which allow staff to process and inventory materials in the collection. The items are then sent for digitization and made freely available for public online access through the California Revealed website.


Susanna Bixby Bryant established Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in 1927. In setting aside 200 acres of her family’s Orange County ranch for the garden, Bixby Bryant provided a location for the research, study and appreciation of native California flora. CalBG became an affiliated institution of The Claremont Colleges in 1951 when the Garden moved to its present location in Claremont, 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Garden, an independent organization, became the home of Claremont Graduate University’s Botany Program. As a research organization and institution of higher education, CalBG is involved with research in systematic and evolutionary botany (science fields that sort out the relationships and evolutionary history of plants).

Encouraging the use of California native plants in home landscapes is a major aspect of the Garden’s objective and to further this goal, we offer horticulture and community education programs to the public. The Garden’s grounds include many areas designed to illustrate the ways in which native plants can be used to achieve home garden and landscape design projects. More than half of CalBG's 86 acres is devoted to California plant communities—plantings designed to depict native plant habitats. The emphasis to display plants in their native habitats was established by Bixby Bryant in the early years of the Garden.