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Special Collections: Guide to the Rachel L. Lowe Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
June 2004
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Rachel L. Lowe Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1917-1959 (inclusive); 1951-1959 (bulk).
Provenance: The Lowe papers were given to the Special Collections Department by Lois LaBeau in 2001.
Collection Number: MS 778.
Box Numbers: 1 (formerly new accession 2001-0614g).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of one document box of material (0.5 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free box.
Preferred Citation: Rachel L. Lowe Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

The collection contains the correspondence of Rachel L. Lowe, a botanist and specialist in the study and identification of mosses.
Rachel Lowe was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1883. She attended Michigan State University, returning to Worcester after three years to care for her father and family. She married Frank Lowe in 1911; they lived briefly in Oklahoma and then moved to Portland, Maine in the 1920’s. She lived in Washington, D.C. from 1938 until 1942, then settled in Harrison, Maine. Specializing in mosses and hepatics, she traveled widely and collected many plants on her trips. Her writings have appeared in the Bryologist, the Bulletin of the Josselyn Botanical Society, and the Maine Naturalist. She spent a considerable amount of time identifying and arranging the collection of mosses in the Portland Society of Natural History and contributed an article entitled, “A list of Maine mosses in the herbarium of the Portland Society of Natural History,” to the Bulletin of the Josselyn Botanical Society in 1939. In the preface to that article she indicated that the aim of the Portland society was to collect every species of moss from every locality.
She was recognized in 1966 as a distinguished member of the Josselyn Botanical Society for her “scholarly attainments in the field of botany, her devotion to the society and her constant encouragement and helpfulness to others interested in this branch of science.” Her collection of moss specimens is represented in the University of Maine Herbarium in Orono.
Scope and Content Note
This small collection consists almost entirely of correspondence written to Rachel Lowe, 1917-1959, from various collectors and experts in the study and identification of mosses. The letters are arranged in chronological order although there is some evidence from the collection that Mrs. Lowe may have kept at least part of her correspondence together by correspondent. Envelopes have been kept in most cases because Mrs. Lowe often made notes on them.
Most letters concern identification of specimens collected by Mrs. Lowe. Frequent correspondents were associated with the University of Pennsylvania Botanical Laboratory, the New York Botanical Garden, DePaux University, the University of Washington, the Osborn Botanical Laboratory at Yale, Duke University Department of Botany, and the University of Michigan Department of Botany.

Box List
Box 1
1 Correspondence, 1917
2 Correspondence, 1918-1919
3 Correspondence, 1920-1929
4 Correspondence, 1930-1939
5 Correspondence, 1940-1947
6 Correspondence, 1951-1954
7 Correspondence, 1955
8 Correspondence, 1956-1959
9 Correspondence, undated
10 Essays by Rachel Lowe
11 Miscellaneous notes
12 Publications and news clippings

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/18/2015
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