Six years of bitter interdepartmental botanical quarrels seem settled with the University's announcement yesterday that construction has begun on a new botany library and herbarium at the end of Divinity Avenue.
Money for the building will come from unrestricted University funds.
The new building will house part of Harvard's collections of plant specimens and botanical reference works, including a part of the herbarium and libraries of the Arnold Arboretum and the Gray Herbarium. It will be connected to the Farlow Library and Herbarium.
This unification of three of the most important parts of Harvard's eight scattered botanical institutions involves a major shift in University policy. It is the result of a secret report by a nine-man Botanical Co-ordinating Committee, headed by Laird Bell '04, presented to the Board of Overseers on January 12.
University officials said that the report and the clarification of the policy will be issued in about ten days.
The immediate cause of the quarrel that the report seems to have resolved, stemmed from a confidential paper, "Botany and its Applications at Harvard," written by Irving W. Bailey '07, professor of Plant Anatomy, and approved and published by the Corporation in February, 1946.
This so-called Bailey Report called for dividing botanical activities into two broad areas and unifying the libraries and herbaria in one building. At that time the Corporation voted to raise one million dollars for the building.
But in September, 1950, the Corporation suspended fund-raising when the Overseers Visiting Committee of the Arnold Arboretum started to raise legal difficulties as to whether the transfer of the herbaria would not violate arboretum trust funds.