Join Brian Thompson, Curator of Horticultural Literature at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, for an intimate exploration into the library’s rare and old book collection. The collection was started by Brian Mulligan, who served as director of what is now the UW Botanic Gardens from 1946-1972. It holds books from North America and Britain dating from the 17th to 20th century (the oldest being from 1629), as well as modern high-end botanical references. Normally available only by appointment, these books contain a range of information from plant identification and classification to garden design and forestry, accompanied by exquisitely detailed, sometimes even hand-colored, engraved illustrations. This engaging evening will provide you with a deep dive into select pieces from the collection and the story these books tell about our evolving understanding of gardening, botany, horticulture, and the history of book printing.
Brian Thompson has been the Curator of Horticultural Literature for the Elisabeth C. Miller Library since 2002. During his time here, he has developed a special interest in the library’s rare book collection. His education includes an intense course on the printing techniques prior to 1900 at the Rare Book School of the University of Virginia.
Photo of The Herball by John Gerard, 3rd Edition, 1636. Photo taken by Spike Mafford.