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Edward Tuckerman Materials

Identifier: MA.01028

Scope and Contents

The Edward Tuckerman Materials consist of 0.5 linear feet of material in 1 archives box. The materials include several notebooks from Edward Tuckerman's college years (he attended several institutions and received several degrees) and shortly thereafter, as well as materials dating from after his death. The latter materials include obituaries and correspondence regarding the distribution of some of his library and herbaria. The bulk of the material falls into the periods of 1831-1848 and 1886-1889.


  • Creation: circa 1830-1890
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1831-1848
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1886-1889


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Edward Tuckerman Materials for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Edward Tuckerman Materials should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Tuckerman, the eldest son of Edward Francis Tuckerman (1775-1843), a Boston merchant, and Sophia May Tuckerman(1784-1870) was born in Boston in 1817. After attending Ingraham’s School and the Boston Latin School, he attended Union College, from which he received a B.A. in 1837 and an M.A. in 1844. He also attended Harvard Law School and earned his L.L.B. in 1839. In 1841 he was still at Harvard, studying in the Divinity School. Then, after a few years studying history, philosophy, and botany in Germany, he returned to Harvard where he joined the Class of 1846 to earn a A.B. (according to an obituary, out of "friendship for several members of [the senior] class"). His obituary records that he was "a scholar in the truest sense of the word." While it is true that the family's wealth allowed him to follow his interests, it is also true that he produced results of lasting quality. A local obituary records that he was also known for his charity, often ordering food and clothing to be delivered to local people in need, and for his almsgiving.

In 1854 Tuckerman married Sarah Eliza Sigourney Cushing, the daughter of Thomas Parkman Cushing (his father's business partner) and Martha Cargill Cushing, formerly of Virginia. In 1855 Tuckerman joined the faculty at Amherst College. Initially, he taught history; three years later he became a professor of botany. Severe hearing loss forced Tuckerman to abandon his classroom work for botanical research. Although no longer teaching in the classroom, Tuckerman was included in the Amherst College course catalogues until his death in 1886.

Tuckerman is probably best known as an authority on lichens -- it was in the course of his research on this topic that he found the famous ravine in the White Mountains that now carries his name. Tuckerman’s lichenological work is contained in many articles and books, but he also wrote widely on genealogy, biography, and theology. Another gift to Amherst College includes his early (1834-1841) columns for the "Churchman" that he wrote under the titles of "Notitia Literaria" and "Adversaria."

In the late 1850s the Tuckermans began to build Applestead, a large stone house surrounded by gardens and an orchard. In the first quarter of the 20th century the College converted Applestead into a fraternity and then tore it down in order to build the Cage. Photographs of the estate may be found in several collections in the Archives and Special Collections.

Tuckerman seems to have lived an increasingly secluded life as his hearing loss grew. He died on March 15, 1886.


0.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The Edward Tuckerman Materials include a small group of documents ranging from items associated with some of botanist Edward Tuckerman's early schoolwork and interests to much later correspondence among his widow and colleagues about his botanical collections. The material includes correspondence, notebooks, photographs, and unique documents. Notable among the material are items associated with the Boston Phrenological Society.


The Edward Tuckerman Materials are arranged chronologically within one series.

Related Materials

For related material in the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, see also:

  1. The Orton Loring and Margaret Tuckerman Clark Papers (MA.01029)
  2. The Cushing-Tuckerman-Esty Family Papers (MA.00293)
  3. The Edward Tuckerman Botanical Papers (MA.00043)

Separated Materials

Catalogued items:

  1. Enumeratio methodica Caricum quarundam. Species recensuit et secundum habitum pro viribus disponere tentavit. Edward Tuckerman. Schenectady, N.Y.: Isaac Riggs, 1843.
  2. Act of incorporation, constitution, and by-laws of the Boston Society of Natural History. Boston : John H. Eastburn, printer, 1832. Includes one receipt for the initiation fee to the Boston Society of Natural History, signed by A. Binney (Nov. 20, 1833) and one printed announcement of Tuckerman's membership in the society from D. Humphreys Storer, both tipped in. There is also a laid-in manuscript letter to Tuckerman from D. Humphreys Storer appointing Tuckerman to a committee "to examine and report upon the Catalogue of Crustacea contained in the Survey of Prof. Hitchcock."
Margaret R. Dakin, Archives and Special Collections Specialist
2017 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299