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Ynes Mexia collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Field Notes



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Ynes Mexia collection, 1918-1966 | University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley

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Collection Overview

Title: Ynes Mexia collection, 1918-1966Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Primary Creator: Mexia, Ynes (1870-1938)

Extent: 2.5 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Arranged in three series: Series 1: Field books; Series 2: Papers; Series 3: Photographs.

Subjects: Botany - Mexico, Botany - South America, Bracelin, N. Floy, 1890-1973, Mexía, Ynés, 1870-1938 - Archives, Scientific expeditions - South America, Women botanists

Forms of Material: Field notes, Photographs

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Ynes Mexia Collection contains field books, writings, correspondence, and photographs from Ynes Mexia, botanist and explorer, as well as material about Mexia and the thousands of plant specimens she collected and distributed to Herbaria around the world. Much of the material was gathered by Nina Floy (Bracie) Bracelin, who handled the bulk of the distribution of Mexia's plant specimens as well as her estate after her death in 1938.

Biographical Note

Botanical collector and explorer Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia was born on May 24, 1870, in Georgetown, D. C to General Enrique A. and Sarah R. (Wilmer) Mexia. She spent much of her childhood in Limestone County, Texas.  She attended private schools in Philadelphia and Ontario, California and St. Joseph’s College in Maryland. Later in life she took classes at the University of California, Berkeley.

She married Herman E. Laue in 1898, and after his death in 1904 she married Augustin A. de Reygados in Mexico City in 1908. They later divorced and she returned to using her maiden name.

After taking a Flowering Plants class with LeRoy Abrams at the Hopkins Marine Station in 1925, Mexia accompanied Stanford botanist Roxana Ferris on a botanical collecting trip to western Mexico. Over the next thirteen years she made three additional expeditions to Mexico as well as visiting Alaska and South America, visiting many remote areas. She collected for the University of California and the Untied States Department of Agriculture and visited many remote areas, collecting 8800 numbers and approximately 145,000 individual specimens, 500 of which were found to be new species. Her specimens were often prepared by her assistant, Mrs. N. Floy Bracelin at the University of California, Berkeley and sets were distributed widely to herbaria in the United States and Western Europe.  In addition to the specimens, she wrote numerous articles detailed her adventures exploring the Amazon and other remote areas.

She was a member of the California Botanical Society, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Association, of the Pacific, the Sociedad Geographica de Lima, Peru, a life member of the California Academy of Sciences,

In 1938 she became ill while on a collecting expedition in Oaxaca, Mexico and reurned home to San Francisco. Her health did not improve and she died of lung cancer on July 12, 1938 in Berkeley, California.

Subject/Index Terms

Botany - Mexico
Botany - South America
Bracelin, N. Floy, 1890-1973
Mexía, Ynés, 1870-1938 - Archives
Scientific expeditions - South America
Women botanists

Administrative Information

Repository: University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 cartons and 121 bound volumes.

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Material may be protected by copyright.

Preferred Citation: Ynes Mexia Collection, University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Field Notes, 1925-1938],
[Series 2: Papers, 1925-1966],
[Series 3: Photographs, 1918-1926, undated],

Series 1: Field Notes, 1925-1938Add to your cart.
Ynes Mexia's 112 field books document her botanical collecting activities in Mexico, South America, Alaska, and Michigan. Field books are arranged primarily chronologically, with a separate run of "extra" field books found at the end.
Item 1: Plant Collections, Western Mexico, 15 September - 19 November, 1925Add to your cart.

Contains collections #1-490.

Trip to Sinaloa with Roxana S. Ferris from Dudley Herbarium at Stanford University.

Item 2: Western Mexico Field Books, September 1926 - April 1927Add to your cart.

Seven field books from Mexia's seven month collecting trip to Western Mexico, partially financed by William Setchell.

Notebooks contain collections #500-1952. Collections are from the Mexican states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Jalisco.

Item 3: Alaska and California Collections, 9 June 1928 - 13 January 1930Add to your cart.

This field book contains collection data from Mexia's 1928 trip to Mt. McKinley National Park which represented the first general collection of the park flora. Also in this notebook are collections from California from 1929-1930. Inserted in the notebook is a letter from Fred J. Spach, Anchorage, Alaska, July 19, 1928, a folded newspaper map of Alaska, and a handwritten list of plants of Mrs. Simmons, Kodiak Island, Alaska, 1928.

List of Contents from title page of field book:

Alaska 1928

June 9-Sept. 12


Some Expenses

Partial Diary and Itinerary Accounts

Alaskan Birds

California Plant Collections


February 15, 1929-January 13, 1930

Various localities (these specimens were sent to a few institutions (collected in small quantities)

Iris photo list

Item 4: Northern and Central Mexico Field Book, 6 May - 1 September 1929Add to your cart.

Contains collections #2500-2772.

Collections are from the following states: Chihuahua, Puebla, Mexico, and Hidalgo. This expedition was led by Mr. E. L. Furlong, Department of Paleontology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Item 5: Brazil and Peru Field Books, November 1929 - March 1932Add to your cart.

49 field books containing collections #4001-6517.  Collections are from Brazil, Rio de Janiero, Vicosa and Diamantina, state of Minas Geraes; Amazon and other river courses in states of Para and Amazonas; Transadean Peru, upper Amazon and Santiago river valleys, and Departamento de Loreto. Mexia was accompanied for a short time on this trip by Agnes M. Chase, Division of Agrostology, United States Department of Agriculture.

For more information about this expedition, see the following publications in the Ynes Mexia Biography file at the University and Jepson Herbaria Archives:

Bracelin, Mr. H. P. (1935). Itinerary of Ynes Mexia in South America. Madrono 3(4), p. 174-176.

Mexia, Ynes. (February 1933). Three Thousand Miles up the Amazon. Sierra Club Bulletin, 88.

Item 6: Ecuador Field Books, September 1934 -September 1935Add to your cart.
24 field books containing collections #6551-7750. Collections are from the coastal plains and eastern Amazonian slope of the Andes and the  northern highlands and Columbia border. This expedition was sponsored by the Bureau of Plant Introduction and Exploration, United States Department of Agriculture to search for palms, cinchonas, and soil-binding plants as well as to document the flora of this area.
Item 7: UC Expedition to the Andes Field Books, October 1935 - January 1936Add to your cart.
2 field books containing collections #7751-7850. Collections are from Peru, Bolivia, north central Argentina and Chile and cover the Andean highlands. Mexia made this collections as part of the University of California Botanical Garden expedition led by T. H. Goodspeed.
Item 8: Peru, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador Field Books, January 1936 - January 1937Add to your cart.

13 field books containing collections #7751-7850. Collections are from southern Chile, Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego; Peru, Cuzco, Machu Pichu, Cerro del Pasco; Ecuador, Esmeraldas.

1 field book (#8351-8400) was missing at the time of cataloging (12/10/09).

Item 9: Michigan Field Books, July 1937 - August 1937Add to your cart.
2 field books containing collections #8501-8600.
Item 10: Southwestern Mexico Field Books, October 1937 - May 1938Add to your cart.
12 field books containing collections #8701-9300. Collections are from the stats of Oaxaca and Guerrero.
Item 11: Extra and Incomplete Field Books, 1931-1938Add to your cart.
These books contain collections 5502A-9111A, with many gaps in numbering. Collections are from Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Field Notes, 1925-1938],
[Series 2: Papers, 1925-1966],
[Series 3: Photographs, 1918-1926, undated],

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