Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
JDH/2/16 f.40
Thiselton-Dyer, Sir William Turner
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Letters to Thiselton-Dyer
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Original MS
9 page letter over 3 folios

JDH received William Thiselton-Dyer's [WTD's] letter of 13 July [1877] at Denver, Colorado. He is glad WTD is not overwhelmed by the duties of RBG Kew Director in JDH's absence. Mrs Hodgson wrote to JDH about visiting WTD & his wife Harriet Thiselton-Dyer. JDH is working learning a lot about western conifers, especially the Pines of Colorado, which are very diverse & incl. Pinus edulis, P. ponderosa P. aristata, P. flexilis, Abies douglasii, A. menziesii, A. engelmannii, Picea concolor, Juniperus virginiana, J. occidentalis & J. communis. Of these western American species only the Junipers are found East of the Rocky Mountains. JDH has collected 500 species. Next the party travels East to the Wahasatch [Wasatch] Mountains beyond Salt Lake to get a glimpse of the West Colorado vegetation where Pinus edulis gives way to P. monophylla. They will go to Nevada & the Taxodium grove via Carson & Silver City then via Calavera & Mariposa to San Francisco, the Redwood [Sequoioideae] district & Monterey. JDH's travelling companion Asa Gray should write a general description of the botanical geography of North America, they may write something jointly for Hayden's Survey. The Stracheys are good company. Discusses improvements being made at RBG Kew: replacement of the boilers [in the Palm House] with 'Rivers' Boilers', the controversy over the height of the [RBG Kew boundary] wall, bad work done by a contractor & poor foundations of the Palm House. JDH is anxious to give up his duties at the Royal Society & focus on RBG Kew. JDH has seen the RBG Kew report published in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH. Mentions news regarding his sons Charles Paget Hooker & Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker. JDH is suffering with diarrhoea & travelling through wilderness has left him bruised. He does not have the energy he once had, though he did climb Gray's Peak to 14,300 feet. Recounts the feeling of being at the top of the peak during an electrical storm with Mr Darrell, son of Judge Darrell of Bermuda.


who sends us Juniper seeds) had so severe a shock that he did not recover for two hours -- now I must break off I could fill a hundred pages with interesting matter. I am now amongst the low country & native vegetation of the Salt Lake but we go to the mountains (Wasatch) tomorrow.
I enclose a few lines for Harriet -- With kindest regards to Bentham Oliver & Smith.
Ever aff[ectionatel]y y[our]s | Jos. D. Hooker[signature]

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Salt Lake City Utah
Aug[ust] 7/[18]77
My dear Dyer*1
I received your wellcome[sic] letter of July 13 at Denvers[sic] two days ago -- it had arrived after me all round Colorado. I need not say I am most glad to hear of your being settled & not altogether overwhelmed with the duties, though for the present they must be very hard & trying. Mrs Hodgson most kindly wrote me a little account of her visit to you & Harriet which made me very glad.
As for me, I never worked harder in my life -- there is so much to learn & the incessant travelling collecting & packing adds enormously to the drudgery. I am very pleased

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to have picked up the knowledge I already have of the trees & especially of the Pines of Colorado & hope before I get back to have such a knowledge of the habits & habitats of the Western Conifers as no one else has. The association of so many species is a feature quite new to me, & such as exists no where else. To find 8 or 10 Conifers on one M[oun]t[ain]. is a marvellous feature in vegetation. Thus in Colorado we have between 5 & 10000 f[ee]t Pinus edulis, ponderosa, aristata & flexilis Abies Douglasii Menziesii & Engelmannii (varieties of one) -- Picea concolor & Juniperus virginiana, occidentalis & communis, all abundant. Of these except the two of the Junipers none are found

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East of the R[ocky]. M[ountains]. Of other plants I have collected as diligently & largely as I can -- & have some 500 sp from all Elevations of 4000 f[ee]t up to 14000 f[ee]t. Here we are going into the M[oun]t[ain]s East of us (the Wahasatch [Wasatch]) (E[ast] of Salt Lake) which will give us a glimpse of W[est]. Colorado vegetation & the perhaps we shall find Pinus monophylla which replaces Edulis & extends W[est]. to Nevada. This done we go to Nevada getting to the Calendar Taxodium grove by the rear by Carson & Silver city (off the line of rail). & so by by Calavera & Mariposa to San Francisco. There I hope to visit the Red wood (Taxodium &c) district to the North & Monterey to the South & then home by end of September.

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[Asa] Gray is a splendid companion though 65 he is as active as a cat & full of eagerness to see & show me every thing. I do wonder that he has never written a general view of the Bot[anical]. Geog[raphy]. of N[orth]. Am[erica]. -- it would be so easy & instructive -- We shall have to do something of the kind for Haydens Survey Reports. The Stracheys make capital travelling companions always good natured lively & much enduring.
Thanks for the Garden Reports which Gray likes much as do I.
I am glad that you washed our hands of Rivers Boilers*2. The Board have (I feel sure) a letter from me recommending that the whole heating system should be

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referred to a Committee of Experts. I cannot understand Board going in for nothing but Rivers untried Boilers. I advocated 4 improved saddles[?] & 2 accessories which might be Rivers.
I quite expected that the F[irst]. C[ommissioner]. would advocate a reduced height of wall & did all I could to prevent it. I do hope that you have carried the point of going on with the wall out of the money voted for painting the Fern house. The F[irst]. C[ommissioner]. was convinced that the wall must be heightened. -- If the Board give the Kewites the victory (real or apparent) in this matter, I must remonstrate even more vigorously*3. Their reports & remonstrances were most unfair to me & false. By rights I should have been present at the deputation to have defended

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As to Wilkie & the contractor I am in utter despair. The only way is to report to the Board all negligence & bad material & establish a law[?] upon the Works Sept Dep[artmen]t.
I am not impressed at what you tell me of the quicksands under the P[alm]. H[ouse]. I always was given to understand that the bottoming[?] & ground work which was a contractors work was very bad, & that moreover the site of the building was a bog. -- Whereas the upper works of iron glass & stone were wonderfully good -- It is well you detected the faulty piers -- but you & Smith must continue to keep your eyes upon every thing. I cannot tell you how much I

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feel being away at all this --
All I see & do here makes me more than ever anxious to throw up the R[oyal]. S[ociety]. & stick to Kew. & especially to the Tree & shrub department. As I look back on what it is & what it was & what it should be, I do not know whether I am more astonished at what has been done at Kew, or what there is to do. Willy [William Henslow Hooker] sent me the Daily Telegraph notice of Kew -- Have you sent the Report to other papers? I never have, but intended to propose the doing so before I left.
Willy has told me of Charlie's [Charles Paget Hooker's] passing, which is a great relief to my mind. I hope that Brian [Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker] will get through well -- he deserves it.

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I am partly pulling through pretty well, though troubled with diarrhea[sic] & completely covered with bruises, chiefly from tearing on mule or pony back through the Aspen bushes[?] on the Mountains & slipping on stones. I got up to 14300 [feet] on Gray's peak without difficulty (on my legs) but I have not the wind & muscle I had & indeed the mountain climbing here is pretty severe work. When near the lip of G[ray's]. P[eak]. in a severe hailstorm, the Electric fluid fizzed out at the side of my head like the fiz[sic] out of a half drawn S.W. bottle. followed by a loud clap of thunder: soon after I had a shock in my arm followed by another clap. The fluid also fizzed from the horse's ears, & a Mr Darrell (son of Judge D[arrell]. of Bermuda

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who sends us Juniper seeds) had so severe a shock that he did not recover for two hours -- now I must break off I could fill a hundred pages with interesting matter. I am now amongst the low country & native vegetation of the Salt Lake but we go to the mountains (Wasatch) tomorrow.
I enclose a few lines for Harriet -- With kindest regards to Bentham Oliver & Smith.
Ever aff[ectionatel]y y[our]s | Jos. D. Hooker[signature]


1. Sir William Turner Thiselton--Dyer (1843--1928). British botanist and third Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1885--1905). He succeeded Joseph Hooker in the role after serving as his Assistant Director for ten years. He previously held professorships at the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester, Royal College of Science for Ireland and Royal Horticultural Society. He married Hooker's eldest daughter Harriet in 1877.
2. E.G. Rivers, an Office of Works engineer designed and installed six tubular boilers in the Palm house at RBG Kew in 1877, replacing the original twelve.
3. Refers to the Gardens' high boundary wall on the Kew Road. Three feet were added to the height of the wall in summer 1877 to the objection of local residents. It was one of the issues that led to the formation of the Kew Garden's Public Rights Defence Association.

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