Family Salvador Collection

The Salvador family was a lineage of apothecaries and botanists from Barcelona who developed their naturalistic work between the 17th and 19th centuries. As a result of their intense scientific and cultural activity and the exchange of objects of study with highly relevant naturalists, over several generations they gathered a collection of great scientific and historical value. This cabinet of curiosities includes a magnificent library, an herbarium (the oldest in Spain), handwritten documents, collections of mollusks, fossils, drugs, minerals and various pieces of stuffed and dried animals and plants (more information). Nowadays, the cabinet is kept in the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB), where it can be visited.

The Salvador collection is part of the IBB’s heritage thanks to the efforts of its founder, Pius Font i Quer. The botanist, being aware of the importance of Salvador family and the material legacy they had left, managed to locate the cabinet in 1923 and the collection was partially rescued in 1938, during the Spanish Civil War. Subsequently, a second part of the archive was purchased in 2013 by the Barcelona City Council. With this acquisition, the correspondence collection expanded including letters of great value, and other documents of personal, law, economic or scientific nature were also incorporated.

A preliminary inventory has shown that the Salvador collection has 2,113 records and the documents occupy a total of seven linear meters of shelving. Of these records, 377 are included in the Catalogue of the CSIC Library and Archives Network and 15 of them are digitized and are available at SIMURG.


Content of the collection

  • Correspondence maintained with European intermediaries and scientists (including some copies of the letters sent) such as Petiver, Tournefort, Boccone, Bernard, Jussieu and Pourret who facilitated exchanges of collection pieces.
  • Management documents such as purchase receipts.
  • Illustrated sheets with insects’ drawings.
  • Documentation related to the cabinet, such as the guest book.
  • Notes and texts of professional and scientific nature: forms on how to use medicines, documents on animal husbandry, etc.
  • Record book of letters and bills.

The collection also includes other types of documents such as a promotional ticket for the “Espectáculo de la gran ballena“, sheets torn from books, religious texts and even a manuscript by Joaquín Salvador that contains notes on algebra, geometry and mechanics.