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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 3: Photographs, 1918-1926, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Item 1: Photographs 1918-1920Add to your cart.
Photographs taken by Ynes Mexia, arranged on scrapbook pages.  Includes a few loose prints. Includes photographs of Botany Club trips, California Botanical Club trips, and photographs taken at Christmas time. Some prints labeled and dated.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Item 1: Photographs from Mexico, 1926Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Photographs from Mexia's 1926 trip to Mexico. For more information about the trip, see Mexia's article "Botanical trails in old Mexico.-the lure of the unknown" published in Madrono v.1, September 29, 1929.

Captions from photographs:

1. Loading dugout canoes on the San Pedro River.

2. Away from the railroad, primitive conveyances are still in use.

3. Twins, Rita and Ramona, age 2 ½.

3 ½. Water is peddled from door to door in smaller towns.

4. Wattled and thatched hut of herdsman on the San Pedro River.

5. Misty palms along the riverbank.

6. The town water works at Tuxpan.

7. The “openwork” huts are eminently suited to the tropical climate.

8. The entrances to the “Palapar”

9. The younger palms show great arching fronds when the trunks are but a few feet high.

10. The ferryboat on the San Pedro, Tuxpan.

11. Bananas growing at Hacienda del Canejo.

12. The “Riverside Laundry” at Puerto Vallarta.

13. Puerto Vallarta and Bahio de Banderas from El Cerro de la Cruz.

14. On the way to Cruz de Vallarta.

15. The original “Donkey-engine” for snaking logs to market.

16. Pedro, his wife and eight of their ten children.

17. The sugar cane patch. An important source of food in Mexico.

18. The banana grove proved to be a wonderful sleeping place.

19. A little Mexican two year old.

20. The dugout canoe. These canoes are beautifully made and most seaworthy.

21. Ambrosio’s house at Quimixto. His wife, Margarita “assisted” me.

22. A home-made ladder.

23. The dry-dock

24. As I left Quimixto a number of white egrets perched on the point made a pretty sight.

25. Launching the canoe.

26. On the bay.

27. Looking down the valley of San Sebastian.

28. Señora Landeros and her daughters in the patio of their home.

29. The Spaniards builded for all time.

30. The little town is in the heart of the Sierra Madre.

31. La Bufa

32. The “ice-plant” of the Sierra Madre.

33. The old Mission Chapel at the Real Alto in the Sierra Madre

34. The alter of the Chapel. Note the carved beam ends.

35. The pulpit. The hand-hewn floor boards have lasted many years.

36. On the peak of the Bufa, above the tossing sea of silver clouds.

37. The “oldest inhabitant” of the Real Alto, over 90. (I generally had to refuse to take pictures of people as my films were limited, but when the poor family begged me to take their grandmother’s picture as possibly she would no have long to live, I had to do so, and here she is. I have sent them the prints.)

38. The tree-clad, up-flung peak.

39. The graceful “Encino Saucillo” or Willow-leafed Oak.

40. Magnificent Ash trees grow along the stream El Jaguey.

41. Old Spanish trunks of cedar, covered with horsehide.

42. The quaint old town of San Sebastian.

43. Old Indian idols dug up not far from San Sebastian.

44. Adios, Señora!

45. The noon-day rest on the way out.

Browse by Series:

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

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