Among the substantial gifts received by the University during the last academic year one of the most valuable and interesting is the splendid collection of glass flower-models for the Potanical Department. This collection is presented by Mrs. E. C. Ware of Boston, in memory of her husband. Dr. Ware; and when placed in position in the room specially prepared for and devoted to it in the new Botanical Museum, will be known as the "Ware Memorial Collection."
The specimens are made by two artists of Dresden, Germany, named Blaschka, father and son, who are the only persons in the world who can do this kind of work. The models are made entirely of blown glass, and the modelling and coloring are so exquisitely perfect that Nature must almost wonder whether they are not indeed of her own handiwork. Of each species represented, there is shown not only the natural appearance and characteristics of the flower, of the leaves, stem. etc, but also such details as are important for the proper understanding of its fundamental structure and its place in the system of classification. The details too minute to be seen readily by the naked eye are shown in guified to a convenient size. And all are blown in glass and colored like nature, and are as lasting as the glass of the cases in which they are to be placed, or as the brick and stone of the great building which is to hold them. Moreover, we are assured that they are in all respects botanically accurate and therefore can be well high as implicitly relied upon by students as can the living plants themselves. The artists in every case make a careful botanical study of the living plant before beginning the model, and all parts of the latter are made with its living counterpart beside it. All classes of flowers are to be represented, from the most gorgeous and bizerre of Orchids to the humblest of wayside weeds; and one is as successfully reproduced as the other.
It will be many years before the collection will be complete, the artists being now engaged upon it, and being under contract to work upon it without intermission until completed. It is entirely unique, no institution or individual in the world possessing anything like it. Some four hundred specimens have been so far received all of which, with the exception of those in the case mentioned below, are safely stored for the present, awaiting the return of Professor Goodale from abroad.
The work was begun and is carried on under Professor Goodale's own immediate direction, a fact which ensures its value in very respect. Its use in botanical instruction has been made the first object; its aesthetic value to botanical students and all lovers of flowers the second. Happily this is a case in which it is possible to combine both interests without detriment to either. The value of the collection as supplementing the living material of the Botanic Garden is very great, and it will in addition place before students immense numbers of very important plants which cannot be grown at the garden at all. It is intended to have represented, all of the families of the North American plants and the pricipal general; and all distinctively American plants and those from other countries which illustrate important botanical facts or principles. Indeed its value for botanical instruction cannot be over estimated.
The collection will be placed in a room on the left of the staircase on the third floor of the new museum. A case containing some thirty or forty specimens has lately been placed there and may be seen by members of the University (it is not open to the general public) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Professor Goolate is at present in Ceylon and will spend the year studying there in New Zealand and in Australia.