Noer Collection Featured Acquisition

Poa annua in 1790!

An extremely rare, highly unusual volume of early grass scholarship, entitled Gramina Pascua (1790) has been purchased for addition to the Noer Collection, through the generosity of the O.J. Noer Research Foundation. Due to the rare and fragile nature of this volume, it is housed in the Special Collections Division of the MSU Libraries.

This item, authored by George Swayne, a British vicar and farmer, contains actual dried specimens of common pasture grasses, and includes descriptions, remarks, and both the Linnaean and English names. The specimens, cultivated by Swayne himself, were collected and dried by his daughters; it appears that only 20 copies of this book were printed, and probably not many were sold as indicated by its rarity.

Typically, it has been difficult to locate and acquire older works of this nature for which the Foundation has earmarked an annual reserve. This acquisition (see TGIF R= 40021) complements nicely an earlier Noer Foundation acquisition, Natural Illustrations of the British Grasses (1846), by Frederick Hanham (see TGIF R= 146), which also features actual mounted specimens. We are grateful that the Foundation was willing to consider this piece a type of multi-year acquisition, which allowed the Center to obtain the book.

Special thanks go to the Foundation and to Peter Berg, head of Special Collections, for his assistance.

We are pleased and proud to make this available to Noer Collection users.

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