TULANE UNIVERSITY HERBARIUM

The Minna F. Koch Memorial Library of Botany


The Koch Library, which now includes more than 1000 titles, was established in 1957 by New Orleans architect Richard Koch, Anna F. Koch, and Emilie F. Koch as a memorial to their sister, Minna Frotscher Koch, a professional botanist and teacher. Through several gifts and bequests, the Koch family made possible the acquisition of books, journals, and other reference works supporting the activities of the Tulane University Herbarium. The first work purchased with Koch funds was a complete set of Curtis's Botanical Magazine, which began publication in 1787 and includes more than 10,000 hand-colored illustrations of plants.

Over the ensuing four decades, many other finely illustrated works were added to the Koch Library. Donations were made by Saumel Wilson, Jr., Professor Thomas T. Earle in memory of his wife Esther Wilson Earle, and by the late Rose Feingold, who was keenly interested in cultivated plants and their histories. Further donations were made by Henry T. Howard, Jr., James and Octa Crump of Holly Bluff Gardens, and by the Friends of the Tulane University Library in conjunction with the Special Collections Division of the University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. These works now form an exceptional resource for plant identification, as well as an archive of botanical history, nomenclature, and illustration. A selection of illustrations from Koch Library titles is presented below.

All Koch Library holdings are included in the University Library's on-line catalog, with location given as "Koch Library." Except for a few works kept in the University's rare book room, the Koch Library is housed adjacent to the Herbarium. The Koch collection is non-circulating. Inquiries about access to Koch books should be directed to the Herbarium Curator.

 

Minna Frotscher Koch (1894-1957) was a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Newcomb College, class of 1916. From 1924 to 1925 she served as President of the Newcomb College Alumnae Association. She pursued an interest in botany at Cornell University, there taking a Ph.D. degree in 1930 with a dissertation on the floral morphology of Asteraceae. She was a research botanist at The New York Botanical Garden and at the Southern Forest Experiment Station in New Orleans before becoming an instructor at Florida State College for Women. She published several papers on the taxonomy of angiosperms. Before her death, Dr. Koch donated many books from her personal library to the Tulane University Herbarium. The Koch Library, established in her memory, is a fitting tribute to this avid botanist and dedicated Newcomb College alumna.


A Selection of Illustrations from the Koch Library

 

Portrait of the author holding a sprig of potato.

John Gerard (1545-1612): The herball or generall historie of plantes. London, 1597.

"Plantago vaginata"

Étienne Pierre Ventenat (1757-1808): Description des plantes nouvelles et peu connues cultivées dans le jardin de J. M. Cels. Paris, 1800-1803.

"Siliquosae tetrapetalae bicapsulares"

Robert Morison (1620-1683): Plantarum historia universalis Oxoniensis. Oxford, 1680.

"Quercus macrocarpa"

André Michaux (1746-1803): Histoire des chênes de l'Amérique. Paris, 1801.

"Luffae Arabicae"

Prosper Alpini (1553-1617): Historiae aegypti naturalis pars prima. Leiden, 1735.

"Magnolia Yulan var. Soulangiana"

John Lindley (1799-1865), Editor: The botanical register [or Edwards's botanical register]. 33 volumes. London, 1815-1847.

"Theobroma"

Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829): Tableau encyclopedique et methodique des trois regnes de la nature... botanique. Paris, 1791-1823.

"Catasetum semiapertum"

John Lindley (1799-1865), Editor: The botanical register [or Edwards's botanical register]. 33 volumes. London, 1815-1847.

"Cineraria"

Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829): Tableau encyclopedique et methodique des trois regnes de la nature... botanique. Paris, 1791-1823.

"Adisia polyciphala"

Robert Wight (1796-1872): Illustrations of Indian botany or figures illustrative of each of the natural orders of Indian plants described in the author's prodromus florae peninsulae Indiae orientalis. Madras, 1840-1850.

"Woodwardia radicans"

William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865): Genera filicum or illustrations of the ferns, and other allied genera from the original coloured drawings of the late Francis Bauer. London, 1842.

"Manettia filicaulis"

Heinrich Wawra (1831-1887): Itinera principum S. Coburgi. Die botanische Ausbeute von den Reisen ihrer Hoheiten der Prinzen von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. I. Reise der Prinzen Philipp und August um die Welt (1872-1873). II. Reise der Prinzen August und Ferdinand nach Brasilien (1879). Vienna, 1883-88.

"Mountain Lily, Ranunculus lyallii"

Mrs. Charles Hetley: The native flowers of New Zealand illustrated in colour. London, 1888.

"Trixis gigas"

Heinrich Wawra (1831-1887): Itinera principum S. Coburgi. Die botanische Ausbeute von den Reisen ihrer Hoheiten der Prinzen von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. I. Reise der Prinzen Philipp und August um die Welt (1872-1873). II. Reise der Prinzen August und Ferdinand nach Brasilien (1879). Vienna, 1883-88.


More illustrations from other Koch titles to come...