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Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation


Cabinet of curiosities: Macer Floridus

15 January 2016

On display from 19 January to 30 June 2016 in the Cabinet of curiosities in the Hunt Institute lobby is a two-leaf fragment of a handwritten copy of the Macer Floridus estimated to be from the mid-12th century, as well as several early printed editions. Stop by the Institute during our normal business hours to see this fragment from our Archives, which is the oldest item in our collections, and the printed edition from 1477, which is the oldest printed book in our Library.

The cabinet of curiosities, also known as kunstkammer (art room) or wunderkammer (wonder room), emerged in the 16th century to describe a room devoted to objects of antiquity, archaeology, art, ethnography, geology, natural history and religion. In the 20th century Rachel Hunt (1882–1963) amassed a collection of botanical materials spanning the history of botany, which went on to form the core of the Hunt Institute's collections. We have greatly expanded it over the years, many items having come from the collections of others, like Rachel, who created their own cabinets of curiosities to understand the wonders of the world. From time to time we display some of those curiosities to share the wonders of the Institute's collections.

About the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. To this end, the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative collections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits and data files, and provides publications and other modes of information service. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.

Media Contact:
Scarlett T. Townsend