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About the Collections

Our Library & Archives are valuable learning resources for those interested in the fields of horticulture, botany and the allied arts and sciences. 

The Longwood Gardens Library was originally founded in 1953 to house founder Pierre S. du Pont’s collection of horticultural, botanical, and related works.  The library has since grown into a working collection of approximately 31,000 volumes of books and serials, including special collections.    

The Longwood Gardens Archives holds institutional records from the time of Mr. du Pont’s death in 1954 to present.  Papers created and collected by Mr. du Pont during his lifetime are housed at Hagley Museum and Library.

We are a member of The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL).

Main and Special Collections

Monographs and series in support of the Gardens’ interests and activities.

Highlights from this collection include:

- Flora series of the geographical regions of the world, such as Flora of North America or Flora of Tropical East Africa
- The Winter Harvest Handbook : Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses by Eliot Coleman
- A history of the du Pont family - Du Pont: 200 Years of an American Family by Michelle Farrari

Reference Collection

Basic reference tools, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and almanacs.  Many of these tools are specific to horticulture and botany, such as dictionaries of plant names and encyclopedic plant references.

Highlights from this collection include:

- Taxonomic Literature : A Selective Guide to Botanical Publications and Collections with Dates, Commentaries and Types by Frans A. Stafleu and Richard S. Cowan
- Encyclopedia of Gardens : History and Design, editor, Candice A. Shoemaker

Periodicals Collection

Onsite, access our article search databases, including JSTOR; BioOne Complete; Gale Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture; and Plant Disease. Back issues of currently published and out-of-print magazines, both bound and unbound — some going back many years. We also subscribe to over 300 current periodicals. 

Highlights from this collection include:

- The December 1959 issue of Popular Gardening, containing an article entitled "Make a Merry Christmas Corsage"
- The unique horticultural newsletter The Avant Gardener
- A complete set of BBC Gardens Illustrated, 1993-present

Rare Book Collection

Housed in our climate-controlled Archives, the rare book collection contains fine examples of botanical art spread across a wide range of plants. The collection spans nearly 350 years.

Highlights from this collection include:

- The oldest title in the collection — Sylva, by John Evelyn (1664)
- A complete set of Curtis's Botanical Magazine (from 1788 to the present)
- Reichenbachia (1888-1892), an unsurpassed collection of chromolithographic orchid plates and descriptions

Archives Collection

The Archives is home to institutional records for 1954 to present including blueprints, photographs, property maps and recordings in several formats.  The Archives also house Longwood Gardens’ artifact collection.