Collections

LIBRARY & Archives

Collections

library & archives

The Library is temporarily closed, please contact the Librarian by email (iholiman@calbg.org) or phone (909) 625-8767 ext. 210, for additional information or assistance.
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 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 library contains nearly 56,000 books and approximately 1,000 print and electronic journals related to the mission of CalBG. The collection also includes journal article reprints, maps, newspaper articles regarding RSABG/CalBG, nursery and seed catalogs.
Special Collections holds 2,200 rare herbals, historic scientific literature, and illustrated botanical books. RSABG Library holdings, can be found in the Claremont Colleges Library catalog https://library.claremont.edu/.

archives

Check out our guide to see a full list of CalBG archival collections here.

marcus e. jones PAPERS

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.

clara mason fox botanical illustrations

Artist, poet and schoolteacher, Clara Mason Fox, was born in Ohio in 1873 and lived in Orange County until her death in 1959.  She found artistic inspiration in Silverado Canyon, Santiago Canyon and the Santa Ana Mountains. Her collection of over one hundred and fifty botanical illustrations are housed in the CalBG archives and have been featured in various exhibits and publications. Her impressive paintings of California flora have meticulous, technical descriptions of foliage density, height of shrubs and textures of fruits. A finding aid will be available soon.

THEODORE PAYNE COLLECTION

Nurseryman Thedore Payne (1872-1963) was a leading advocate for the preservation of native California plants and encouraged Susanna Bixby Bryant in the development of her own native garden. The collection contains correspondence between Payne and Bryant, a selection of Payne nursery catalogs, and writings by Payne. The finding aid to the Theodore Payne collection can be found here.

FIELD NOTEBOOK COLLECTION

The CalBG archives hold the field notebooks of numerous botanists, documenting their plant collecting work in California and other areas. The collection contains the notebooks of Philip A. Munz, Steve Boyd, John C. Roos, Orlando Mistretta, and many others. A finding aid will be available soon.

policies & protocols

library collection policy

archive
policy

Regulations for Use of Archives

Regulations for Use of the Library

ARCHIVES REPRODUCTION POLICY

ARCHIVES REPRODUCTION AGREEMENT FORM

PROJECTS

The California Golden Poppy Website: From watercolors that derive their beauty from their simplicity to detailed works dedicated solely to the appreciation of the flower, this website seeks to bring these often overlooked works of artistry out of the California Botanic Garden Library and Special Collections and back into the view of the general public. Website created by Shanti Penprase, the 2013 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern. https://sites.google.com/a/rsabg.org/the-golden-poppy/

Picturesque California Website: The year 1888 was a time of great activity in the printing world. Not only were there dozens of new printing techniques and unusual formatting techniques, but printing companies were clamoring to satisfy the public’s fascination with the West. Most of these efforts were relatively small-scale in the form of brochures and single prints. However, in 1888, the J. Dewing Publishing Co. brought together these two emerging trends in a highly ambitious work. This work would be known as Picturesque California. Website created by Shanti Penprase, the 2013 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern. https://sites.google.com/a/rsabg.org/picturesque-california/

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. https://californiarevealed.org/collections/california-botanic-garden

LIBRARY HISTORY

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. RSABG 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, RSABG 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 RSABG’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.

awards

In 2015, the library was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities, Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions. This grant is dedicated to improving environmental conditions and care for the archives and special collections, allowing staff to purchase much needed supplies such as an environmental monitoring system, archival-quality shelving units, and archival supplies to protect materials in the Garden's special collections and archives.

hours & contact information

Appointments should be made at least one day in advance.

Monday through Friday 9 am until 12 pm and 1 pm until 4 pm

Staff: Irene Holiman

iholiman@calbg.org

(909) 625-8767, ext. 210