Dr. John Torrey (1796-1873) corresponded with hundreds of scientists—botanists, geologists, chemists, and zoologists—in North America and across Europe. Torrey's correspondence contains important information about his botanical work and is a valuable resource for anyone studying American history, scientific expeditions and the evolution of American science. Until now, researchers could only view these letters by visiting the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and Archives in person.
The Library initiated a project called Digitizing and Transcribing the John Torrey Papers: Natural Science and Exploration in 19th Century America which will vastly improve discovery of these letters. This grant-funded project is preserving, digitizing and transcribing the letters written to Dr. Torrey by over 350 correspondents and making them full-text searchable online in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
You can view the digitized and transcribed correspondence in the Biodiversity Heritage Library here.
And you can help—become a Torrey Transcriber! Volunteer to help us transcribe Dr. Torrey’s letters and you can follow the history-making scientific expeditions of 19th century North America, get to know the colorful characters who collected plant specimens, and possibly make some discoveries of your own!
You can transcribe anytime, anywhere. All you need is a computer with internet, the ability to read 19th century handwriting, and an interest in botany and American history.
Clicking on the button above will direct you to FromThePage, our partner software platform used for transcription.