Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom
JDH/2/16 f.79
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
6 page letter over 2 folios

JDH writes to Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer [WTTD], who is in Gavernie, [France]. Since WTTD left, RBG Kew has had many visitors: the French Royal family including JDH's 'old acquaintances' the Comte de Paris & Duc de Chartres, also [George] Bentham's family & Madame Ragnal. The death of [Algernon Freeman-] Mitford's father in law in Denver, Colorado will delay Mitford coming to RBG Kew. Reports that the Palms in the Palm House have recovered after over heating. A box of Cycad leaves has arrived for WTTD from Denmark also Bangalore Cycas specimens from Cameron & 2 cases of palms from Thornton. [Ferdinand von] Mueller, whom JDH calls 'little better than a lunatic', sent some Andersonias; blue flowered Epacridaceae to be figured in the Magazine [CURTIS'S BTOANICAL MAGAZINE?] but all arrived dead. JDH summarises his correspondence with Maw regarding rock gardens. John Smith, [Kew Curator] will soon return from Cornwall, but he need not as JDH gets on well with his deputy George Nicholson & William Watson is also doing well. JDH, in agreement with Walters, has dismissed 2 lads he found messing around in the Palm House. [William] Nock has not yet turned up [at Hakgala, Sri Lanka]. [James] Zohrab has visited RBG Kew, he expects to go to St Thomas, [Danish West Indies, now the United States Virgin Islands]. JDH has not received the 'Report' & has written to Reid. JDH gathers from the newspapers that Colonel Johnston is in India. JDH hopes that Watt will go to Manipur. JDH describes what a struggle it has been for him & his father, William Jackson Hooker, to develop the RBG Kew herbarium over the last 40 years, with the British Museum [of Natural History] as an impediment. Things have improved for Henry Trimen at Hakgala Garden, [Sri Lanka], & he has received the Landolphias & Cinchonas. [Daniel] Morris also received his cases in good order. JDH is working hard in the arboretum & praises Nicholson's work there. JDH must give his list of palm genera to [George] Bentham.


breaking down.
Now I must break off as Bentham is calling out for a list of my Palm genera.
Ev[er] aff[ectionate]ly Y[our]s | J.D. Hooker [signature]
He dined with us yesterday, & was in great force, but I find him poorly to day.

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Sept. 30 / [18]81
Dear Dyer*1,
Thanks for yours just received with the good news of Harriet, to whom give our love.
You are indeed having a most enjoyable time -- what a host of friends you have met! I envy you your visit to Gavarnie. I should like to spend a week there.
Nothing troublesome has occurred since you left, & nothing of moment stands over for your return. I have had lots of visitors -- inter alia the whole French Royal family minus the Duc d'Aumale. My 2 old acquaintances the Comte de Paris & Duc de Chartres seemed delighted to pay Kew another visit.
Bentham*2 (81 last week) has his

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nephew & niece here, who we have lunched & dined. Mdm. Ragnal is with us for a week & will take Reggie [Reginald Hawthorn Hooker] back.
Mitford's*3 father in law, Lord Airlie, has died rather suddenly at Denver (Colorado) -- this will I fear delay Mitford's coming out, which I very much want.
I think the Palms are all right again in the P[alm]. H[ouse]. -- they soon recover from that yellowing of over-heating which we must obviate next summer by screens.
A great box of Cycad leaves has arrived for you from Denmark, I have done my best towards drying them between large sheets of paper, & give two or three of the very biggest to Jackson*4 to manipulate between wooden boards planks & paper.
Cameron[']s Bangalore Cycas has come in very good state & many specimens.

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Thornton has sent back our two cases full of Palms in capital order[.]
That idiot Mueller*5 (he really is little better than a lunatic) sends a Ward's case of 3 Andersonias (blue fl[owere]d Epacrid[aceae]) from W[estern]. Australia through a collector there -- which he expects will arrive in full flower & hopes I will at once figure them in 3 consecutive numbers of the magazine! -- Of course they arrive stark dead, though beautifully packed, & the case [in] excellent order.
I have had further correspondence with Maw about the Rock Garden, & have told him what I think, but that he had better send in his memorial or his & his cosignees' responsibility & let us see what the Board say -- I have told him that Backhouse's settled me against -- a "Rock Garden" par excellence -- but that I was for any amount of rock gardening at Kew.
Smith*6 seems happy in Cornwall & comes back on the 8th -- he need not as far as I am concerned, for I get on

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very well with Nicholson*7, with whom very mild suppression of his peculiar way of speaking of people & things, has answered.
I get a great deal of work out of him under a great deal of supervision. He is most sensible of encouragement & conversely the cold shoulder.
Watson*8 goes on all right. I caught two lads skye larking in the P[alm]. H[ouse]. last week & dismissed them at once (after communicating[?] with Walters who was very pleased). They howled a little.
Nock*9 has not turned up yet. Zohrab*10 has been here, a very intelligent man, he expects to go to St. Thomas.
"Report" not come -- I have written to Reid about it.
Col. Johnston is (if I read the daily papers aright) back in India & organizing his Munneypore [Manipur] staff! Another letter has come from Watt, which I have answered: it will be a terrible pity if he does not go to Munneypore, but we can do no more.
Yes the Herbarium is an incubus & the B[ritish]. M[useum]. will always be an impediment to

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its proper development. It is an uphill fight for me & has been for now 15 years! -- as it was to my father for 25 before me.
A more satisfactory letter from [Henry] Trimen came to day. His Hagkala [Hakgala] man is recovering: the Landolphias arrived in splendid order -- the 2 Cinchonas just alive.
The cases to Morris also have arrived in good order.
I am working very hard at the Arboretum -- it is a wonderful collection but so hard to house. Nicholson has really made a first rate Herbarium & deserves such credit for the zeal & intelligence he has displayed -- he really works tremendously hard at the office & in the garden; I sometimes fear his

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breaking down.
Now I must break off as Bentham is calling out for a list of my Palm genera.
Ev[er] aff[ectionate]ly Y[our]s | J.D. Hooker [signature]
He dined with us yesterday, & was in great force, but I find him poorly to day.


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. George Bentham (1800--1884). British botanist who donated his herbarium of more than 100,000 specimens to Kew. He spent 27 years with Joseph Hooker in research and examination of specimens for the work Genera Plantarum, an influential work on plant taxonomy which is the foundation of many modern systems of classification.
3. Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (1837--1916). British diplomat and writer. Secretary to the Office of Works from 1874--1886. The Office of Works was the Government body that oversaw the running of RBG Kew & during his tenure as secretary Mitford supported Joseph Hooker's improvement plans.
4. John Reader Jackson (1837--1920). Curator of the Museums of Economic Botany at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1858 to 1901.
5. Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller (1825--1896). German-Australian physician, geographer, and botanist. He was appointed Government Botanist for the then colony of Victoria by Governor Charles La Trobe in 1853, and later director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. He also founded the National Herbarium of Victoria.
6. John Smith (1821--1888). Curator or 'head gardener' of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1864--1886. His predecessor as Curator was also named John Smith.
7. George Nicholson (1847--1908). English horticulturalist and botanist. Started working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1873 succeeding John Smith as Curator of the Gardens in 1886, until his own retirement due to ill health in 1901.
8. William Watson (1858--1925). Gardener employed at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1879. Assistant Curator from 1886 and Curator from Aug 1901 to 1922.
9. William Nock. Kew Gardener from 1874. Worked on Cinchona plantation in Jamaica c.1875--1880. Head of Hakgala Botanic Garden in Sri Lanka from 1881--1904. Acting Director of Peradeniya Botanic Garden after Henry Trimen's death in 1896. Succeeded at Hakgala by John Knighton Nock and then J.J. Nock.
10. James Zohrab. British diplomat. British Consul at Jeddah. In 1881 appointed British Consul at St Thomas and St Croix; islands of the Danish West Indies, now known as the United States Virgin Islands.

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