Botany, Trade and Empire: Exploring Kew’s Miscellaneous Reports Collection

Date / time: 12 May, 9:30 am - 6:30 pm

Botany, Trade and Empire: Exploring Kew’s Miscellaneous Reports Collection

Kew’s Miscellaneous Reports Collection is a major resource relating to colonial and global networks of economic botany and scientific activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its 772 volumes of unique archival and rare printed material provide evidence of the plant material, botanists, entrepreneurs, and gardeners moving across an expanding web of botanic gardens, agricultural and forestry stations. It holds huge potential for both historical and scientific research, including imperial history, the Indigenous uses of plants, medicine, nutrition and health, the environment, as well as anthropology, ethnography and agricultural history.

This symposium will introduce the Miscellaneous Reports to a diverse research community and explore the Reports’ themes and research potential. Dr Abena Dove Osseo-Asare, author of Bitter Roots. The Search for Healing Plants in Africa, will give the keynote address, followed by case-study papers from Dr Caroline Cornish (Royal Holloway), Dr Sarah Longair (University of Lincoln), Professor Ian Brown (Staffordshire University) and Dr Marine Bellégo (Centre Alexandre Koyré and EHESS). An interactive panel discussion chaired by Professor Jim Endersby (University of Sussex) will unpick the key themes of the collection and explore diverse perspectives on future research opportunities.

The day will also include a large-scale display of the Miscellaneous Reports Collection, with the opportunity to discuss some of the material with researchers working on a range of subjects, including the history of cinchona and papermaking; and the chance to visit Kew’s Economic Botany Collection.

The day will finish with a drinks reception where we can continue conversations, share knowledge, and inspire future action using this rich archive collection.

Please note, this event will be ticketed, with a charge to cover costs. This will be approximately £30, with a limited number of concessionary rate tickets for students.

For more information, and to reserve your place, contact

Location: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB