The collection of documents from the Historical Archive of the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB) is composed of documents produced and received by botanists associated with Barcelona’s Council of Natural Sciences (1906-1934) and the IBB (1934-1994). A great number of documents were produced by Pius Font i Quer (1888-1964), Antoni de Bolòs Vayreda (1889-1975) and Oriol de Bolòs Capdevila (1924-2007) during the periods they directed the IBB.
Another part of the collection includes personal documents relating to the botanists: Joan Cadevall Diars (1846-1921), José Cuatrecasas Arumí (1903-1996) and Carlos Pau Español (1857-1937), among others. These documents were compiled by Pius Font i Quer in order to complete the archive collection. They were donated by its authors to the IBB as a result of the close association these botanists maintained with the Institute.
The historical collection also includes documents belonging to the Salvador collection, among which are part of the correspondence they have with European scientists as Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, James Petiver, Jussieu’s brothers, etc. In addition to numerous administrative and legal documentation.
These documents are primarily texts and photographs. Their contents complement the study of the formation of the BC herbarium collections currently held at IBB.
Analyses of such documentation provide deeper insights into specific topics: such as, the formation of the classical historical herbaria in Catalonia, the creation of the first compilation of Catalan flora, Flora de Catalunya, the journals Cavallinesia and Collectanea Botanica. They also serve for in-depth study of projects involving the generation of collections of flora: Flora Ibèrica Selecta, Flora Hispànica, Herbari d’Espanya and the exsiccatae Iter Maroccanum and Index Seminum.
Notable among document holdings is the large volume of scientific correspondence between botanists, collectors and botany enthusiasts. The content of these letters is of great historical value, excellent examples of the public and private nature of these studies with respect to the private lives and activities of botanists. The letters provide detailed information on the exchange of observations amongst botanists on plant species, news, controversies and characterizations of thousands of species. These are presented in parallel with the selection of relevant data in collection works. Furthermore, they reveal the relations between botanists, the established networks of collectors, the role of scientific and academic societies and the advent of the first specialist publications on botany as drivers of popularization of naturalist knowledge.