Funded PhD - Kew’s imperial archive: Cataloguing Economic Botany in the Miscellaneous Reports, 1841-1928

TECHNE AHRC Funded Studentship – Partnership Award University of Roehampton and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Kew’s imperial archive: Cataloguing Economic Botany in the Miscellaneous Reports, 1841-1928

This studentship offers the opportunity to research and study the history, composition and arrangement of a major collection held in the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  The project focuses on the Miscellaneous Reports: 771 volumes of printed and manuscript material relating to the administration of the British colonial botanic gardens and stations, dating from the 1840s to 1928. The Reports document the economic botany of these regions through correspondence with Kew, printed reports, newspaper articles, and illustrative material such as maps, photographs and sketches.  They are grouped by country and by economically useful product (such as tea, cinchona or rubber).  Although mainly focused on economic botany, the collection also includes material relating to colonial history, geography and anthropology.  As a whole, this collection offers a rich and as yet untold narrative of Kew’s global operations in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The significance of the Miscellaneous Reports was recently recognised by the award of a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Grant for their conservation and cataloguing.

The project will take as its focus the creation, composition and arrangement - both past and present - of the Miscellaneous Reports as a collection.  The successful applicant will be able to work in consultation with the archivist responsible for ordering the collection.  The student will be encouraged to adopt an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach, depending on the student’s own background and research interests.   These may include - but are not limited to - imperial history, cultural geography, literary studies, environmental studies, ethnobotany and archival studies.  The student’s own interests and archival discoveries should guide the project.

Closing date 23 November, to start January 2021
Informal queries: Kate Teltscher.