Gertrude Simmons Burlingham Papers (PP)

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Collectors: Burlingham, Gertrude Simmons, 1872-1952.
Title: Gertrude Simmons Burlingham Papers (PP)
Dates: 1890-1951
Dates: bulk, 1904-1947
Abstract: Collection consists of correspondence, research papers, photography, personal papers, and watercolor illustrations.
Quantity: 5.4 linear feet; 22 boxes
Call Phrase: Gertrude Simmons Burlingham (PP)

Biography of Gertrude Simmons Burlingham

Gertrude Burlingham (1872-1952) was a mycologist and specialist in the genera Lactarius and Russula. She was born in Mexico, NY 21 April 1872 and received her B.S. (1898) from Syracuse University and Ph.D. (1908) from Columbia University after graduate studies in mycology, plant physiology, and the taxonomy of the Agaricaceae. In 1906 she began studies of Lactarius in Windham County, Vermont and initiated correspondence and specimen exchange with Charles H. Peck of the NY State. During this time she also pursued studies at the NYBG.

Dr. Burlingham was a biology teacher in Binghamton, New York (1898-1905) and at the Eastern District High School in Brooklyn from 1909 to her retirement in 1934. She pursued a parallel, unpaid career as a mycologist, making significant contributions to the field. In 1908 she published her doctoral thesis, A Study of the Lactariae of the United States in the Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club. From 1914 she made Vermont a second home where she collected substantial numbers of Lactarius and Russula specimens that became part of the Gertrude S. Burlingham Collection of the NYBG cryptogamic herbarium.

Dr. Burlingham used the genus name “Lactaria” (cf. “Lactarius” used here) in conformance with the "American Code" of botanical nomenclature promulgated by Nathaniel Lord Britton. "Lactaria" was retained due to its chronological priority, though "Lactarius" remained a legitimate homonym. In surveying the genus she conducted fieldwork on the Pacific coast, in Sweden with Lars Romell, and in Denmark with Jakob Lange. During her career she published 19 scientific papers and described several new species of Lactarius and Russula. She remained actively involved in mycology after her retirement in Florida where she died in 1952.

Scope and Content

The Gertrude S. Burlingham collection consists of correspondence, research papers, photography, personal papers, and watercolor illustrations of fungi composed by her colleague Ann Hibbard, covering her 50-year career in mycology. Her field notebooks are located in the NYBG Collectors’ Field Notebook collection


The collection is organized into six series:
Series 1: Correspondence. 1904-1944. Arranged alphabetically.
Series 2: Research Papers. 1906-1937. Arranged by subject.
Series 3: Manuscripts & Typescripts. 1917-1936. Arranged by subject.
Series 4: Photographic Material. 1911-1951. Arranged by subject; then, chronologically.
Series 5: Watercolor Illustrations. 1915-1924. Arranged by species.
Series 6: Personal Papers. 1886-1924. Arranged by subject.


Access restrictions

This collection is open for research with permission from Mertz Library staff.


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be submitted in writing to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Burlingham, Gertrude Simmons, 1872-1952.
Hibbard, Ann, d. 1952.
Lactarius -- Photographs.
Russulaceae -- Photographs.
Women scientists.
New York Botanical Garden.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Gertrude Simmons Burlingham (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the New York Botanical Garden by Clark Rogerson, and accessioned on 1 October 1980 with the accession number 242.

Processing Information

Originally processed by David Rose, Archives Assistant, May 1999 with grant funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH-PA 23141-98) and the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation. Converted into EAD in December 2005 by Kathleene Konkle under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-50678-04.

Container List


Series 1. Correspondence.

Scope and Content:

This series consists of 32 files of correspondence with mycologists including Henry C. Beardslee, C. H. Kauffman, Howard Kelly, Jakob Lange, Charles H. Peck, Lars Romell, Rolf Singer, Alexander H. Smith, and others. There is one file of unidentified letters.

Folder Title Date
1.1 Beardslee, Henry C. 1904-1944
1.2 Dearness, John 1904-1944
1.3 Earle, Franklin S. 1904-1944
1.4 Hibbard, Ann 1904-1944
1.5 Kelly, Howard A. 1904-1944
1.# Kauffman, C. H. 1904-1944
1.7 Lange, Jakob E. 1904-1944
1.8 Kew 1904-1944
1.9 Massee, George 1904-1944
1.10 Morse, E. E. 1904-1944
1.11 Nannfelder, John Axel 1904-1944
1.12 Overholts, Lee Oras 1904-1944
1.13 Peck, Charles Horton 1904-1944
1.14 Romell, Lars 1904-1944
1.15 Schaffer, Julius 1904-1944
1.16 Singer, Rolf 1904-1944
1.17 Smith, Alexander H. 1904-1944
1.18 Stuntz, Daniel 1904-1944
1.19 Walker, Arthur T. 1904-1944
1.20 Zeller, S. M. 1904-1944
1.21 Zvara, Jaroslav 1904-1944
1.22 Unidentified 1904-1944

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Series 2. Research Papers.

Scope and Content:

There are 26 files and 2 boxes of index cards pertaining to studies of Lactarius, Russula, Amanita, and Lepiota. Materials include species descriptions, dichotomous keys, bibliographies, laboratory records, and annotated notes with pencil sketches, attached spore prints, and literature citations. There is an index to Russula species in the Burlingham collection of the NYBG herbarium and 3 files of notes on the effects of magnesium sulfate on the growth of seedlings published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Four boxes of collection notes entitled Mycological Notes, volumes 331-334 (1906-1950) have been separated from the collection and are located with the Collectors’ Field Notebooks.

Folder Title Date
1.23 Agarics, descriptions by S. M. Zeller 1906-1937
1.24 The Lactariae of North America, fascicles I & II, annotated 1906-1937
1.25 Lactarius, descriptive notes (3 files) 1906-1937
1.26 Lactarius, fascicles for exsiccati 1906-1937
1.27 Lactarius, notes on possible new species (notebook) 1906-1937
1.28 Lactarius and Russula, notes from Iconographia Mycologia, Bresadola 1906-1937
1.29 Lactarius and Russula, spore drawings (2 files) 1906-1937
1.30 Lactarius, miscellaneous notes 1906-1937
1.31 Lepiota, notes from Iconographia Mycologia, Bresadola 1906-1937
2.1 Russula, descriptions from Georgia 1906-1937
2.2 Russula, descriptive notes 1906-1937
2.3 Russula, descriptions and spore prints (Simon Davis collection) 1906-1937
2.4 Russula, key to species 1906-1937
2.5 Russula, miscellaneous notes 1906-1937
2.6 Bibliographies, G. S. Burlingham mycological library 1906-1937
2.7 Bibliographical notes for North American Flora, by J. H. Barnhart 1906-1937
2.8 Lab notes, Effects of Magnesium Sulfate on Growth of Seedlings (3 files) 1906-1937
2.9 Mycological notebooks, miscellaneous (3 notebooks) 1906-1937
2.10 Mycological notes, miscellaneous 1906-1937
2.11 Lecture Notes 1906-1937
Box Title Date
3 Index to Russula 1906-1937
3 Index to species of North American Russula 1906-1937
3 Russula species in G. S. Burlingham herbarium 1906-1937
4 Index to Lacatarius 1906-1937
4 Key to the genus Lactarius 1906-1937
4 Russula, foreign 1906-1937
Folder Title Date
5.1 Bibliography 1906-1937

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Series 3. Manuscripts & Typescripts.

Scope and Content:

There are 4 manuscript files. One, New or Noteworthy Species of Russula and Lactaria, includes annotated descriptions of species in Dr. Burlingham’s 1918 paper on the subject.

Folder Title Date
5.2 A Descriptive List and Color Record of Agarics of Alabama by R. P. Burke 1917-1936
5.3 Action of Light upon Protoplasm 1917-1936
5.4 New or Noteworthy Species of Russula and Lactaria 1917-1936
5.5 Points of Difference between Lactaria hibbardae Pk. and Lactaria glyciosma Fr. 1917-1936
5.6 Russula, Long Island 1917-1936

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Series 4. Photographic Material.

Scope and Content:

There are 16 boxes of photographic material consisting of several hundred black-and-white photos with corresponding negatives. Nine boxes of negatives are glass. Subjects are primarily of mushroom specimens (Russula, Lactarius, Amanita, and Lepiota) as well as scenic views and group photos of the Mycological Society of America 1935 foray taken by Lars Romell. There are a few photos taken by Henry C. Beardslee with his accompanying descriptive notes. Most photography dates from the late 1930s and 1940s. All corresponding photos and negatives have been cross-referenced with a note posted on the envelope.

Folder Title Date
5.7 Agarics of Florida, by H. C. Beardslee, photos and notes ITLE 1911-1951
5.8 Lactarius, Russula, et al 1911-1951
5.9 Mycological Society of America, summer foray 1937
5.10 Mounted photographs for lectures 1911-1951
Box Title Date
6 (3 x 5) Lactarius, Russula 1911-1951
7 (3 x 5) Russula, Lepiota et al 1911-1951
8 (4 x 6) Amanita, Lactarius 1911-1951
9 (4 x 6) Russula et al 1911-1951
10 (4 x 6) unidentified fungi 1911-1951
11 (3 x 5 negatives) Lactarius, Russula 1911-1951
12 (3 x 5 negatives) unidentified fungi 1911-1951
13 (3 x 5; glass negatives) Lactarius 1911-1951
14 (3 x 5; glass negatives) Lactarius 1911-1951
15 (3 x 5; glass negatives) Russula 1911-1951
16 (4 x 6; glass negatives) Agaricus, Amanita 1911-1951
17 (4 x 6; glass negatives) Lactarius 1911-1951
18 (4 x 6; glass negatives) Russula 1911-1951
19 (4 x 6; glass negatives) Russula et al 1911-1951
20 (4 x 6; glass negatives) unidentified fungi 1911-1951
21 (4 x 6; glass negatives) fungi, scenic views 1911-1951

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Series 5. Watercolor Illustrations.

Scope and Content:

There is one file of 60 watercolor illustrations by Ann Hibbard who collaborated with Dr. Burlingham in the study of Lactarius and Russula. All illustrations are watercolor paintings over pencil sketches, primarily of species of Russula.

Box Title Date
22 Watercolor illustrations of Russula by Ann Hibbard 1915-1924

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Series 6. Personal Papers.

Scope and Content:

The six files in this series include an address book, elementary school teaching certificates, and incidental items.

Box Title Date
22 Address book 1886-1924
22 News clippings et al 1886-1924
22 Photos 1886-1924
22 Photo portrait and related correspondence 1886-1924
22 Teaching Certifications and announcements 1886-1924
22 Miscellaneous 1886-1924

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