Conditions governing access
Scope and Contents note
Title: Eastwood (Alice) papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.142
California Academy of Sciences Archives
55 Music Concourse Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118
Language of Material:
23.09 Cubic feet
80 boxes (19 manuscript boxes, 40 clamshell boxes, 4 extra large manuscript boxes, 4 half-width manuscript boxes, 3 flat oversized
archives boxes, 1 photo album box, and 9 index boxes), 3 half-oversize folders in Manuscript Flat Files
The Alice Eastwood Collection is comprised of materials donated to the California Academy of Sciences. It contains her memoirs,
diaries, field notes, and correspondence, among other items.
Language of materials:
Materials are in English.
Eastwood, Alice, 1859-1953
Alice Eastwood was born to Colin Skinner Eastwood and Eliza Jane Gowdey Eastwood on January 19, 1859, in Toronto Canada. The
family moved to Denver, Colorado in 1873 and Alice Eastwood went on to graduate as valedictorian from Shawa Convent Catholic
High School in 1879. For the next ten years, Eastwood would teach at her alma mater, forgoing a college education. Using Grey’s
Manual and the Flora of Colorado, Alice Eastwood would use this time to teach herself botany, going on various collecting
trips during her vacations.
In 1891, after reviewing Eastwood’s collection in Denver, Mary Katharine Brandegee, Curator of the Botany Department at the
California Academy of Sciences, invited Eastwood to assist in the Academy’s Herbarium. This would be the beginning of Alice
Eastwood’s long and fruitful career at the Academy of Sciences. The following year, Alice Eastwood would become joint Curator
of the Botany Department at the Academy, alongside Mary Katharine Brandegee. Brandegee’s retirement in 1894 resulted in Alice
Eastwood becoming the sole Curator and Head of the Botany Department at the Academy. Eastwood completed many trips at this
time and collected and discovered a number of plants on the California coast.
Against conventional practices of the time, Eastwood segregated type specimens from the main collection. This would prove
to be an ingenious practice after the San Francisco 1906 earthquake and fire. After the earthquake, Eastwood went to the Academy
and found the building deeply damaged. With the help of Robert Porter, Alice Eastwood was able to save 1,497 type specimens
from the impending fire that was devouring the city and that was already burning the neighboring building. The fire would
go on to destroy most of the Academy’s collections.
Afterwards, Alice Eastwood traveled and studied throughout Europe and the United States. She eventually returned to the Academy
as Curator of the Botany Department. She dedicated herself to rebuilding the collection and her expeditions were numerous,
including collecting trips to Alaska, Arizona, Baja California, British Columbia, Utah, and all throughout California. By
1942, the collection numbered over 300,000 plant specimens, nearly three times the number destroyed in 1906 earthquake and
After 50 years of service to the Academy, Eastwood retired in 1950 at the age of ninety. Her inexhaustible career included
the publication of over 300 articles, numerous books, and eight plant species of which were named after her. Along with John
Thomas Howell, she founded the journal, Leaflets of Western Botany, served as editor for Zoe, helped to form the American
Fuchsia Society, and worked to save a redwood grove in Humboldt County (which was named Alice Eastwood Memorial Grove). And
so, at the age 94, on October 30, 1953, Alice Eastwood died in San Francisco, ending a prolific career at the California Academy
Sources Consulted: The Memoirs of Alice Eastwood, Earthquake (Chapter VI).
"A Partial Gazateer and Chronology of Alice Eastwood's Botanical Explorations," by Carol Wilson.
“Miss Alice Eastwood,” American Fuchsia Society, Vol. 25, No. 12, December 1, 1953.
Alice Eastwood biography, Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.huh.harvard.edu/libraries/archives/EASTWOOD.html
||Born in Toronto, Ontario, to Colin Skinner Eastwood and Eliza Jane Gowdey Eastwood
||Graduates as valedictorian from Shawa Convent Catholic High School
||Moves to California as herbarium assistant to Mrs. Katherine Brandegee
||Appointed Joint Curator of Botany (with Katherine Brandegee) at the California Academy of Sciences
||Becomes Curator and Head of the Department of Botany
||Saves 1,497 California Academy of Sciences botany specimens from the San Francisco fire
||Expedition to Alaska
||Elected life member of California Academy of Sciences
||Elected Honorary member of California Academy of Sciences
||Serves as Honorary President of the VIIth International Botanical Congress in Sweden
||Dies in San Francisco
- Series 1: Biographical Materials
- Series 2: Alice Eastwood Writings
- Series 3: Correspondence
- Series 4: Alice Eastwood Biographies
- Series 5: Herbarium and Hall of Botany
- Series 6: Commemorative Materials and Awards
- Series 7: News clippings and Articles about Alice Eastwood
- Series 8: Eastwoodiana Scrapbooks
- Series 9: Ephemera and Realia
- Series 10: Photographic Material
Conditions governing access
Access is unrestricted.
Alice Eastwood papers, Special Collections, California Academy of Sciences Library, San Francisco, CA
All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.
Scope and Contents note
The collection consists of papers and materials relating to Alice Eastwood’s life, primarily during her time as curator for
the California Academy of Sciences. The collection includes memoirs, diaries, correspondence and field notes as well as materials
relating to her collecting expeditions. Numerous personal objects and photographs are also housed in the collection as are
publication written by and about Alice Eastwood.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
California Academy of Sciences--Buildings
California Academy of Sciences--Curators
California Academy of Sciences--Employees
California Academy of Sciences--Expeditions
California Academy of Sciences--History
California Academy of Sciences--Scientists
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906.
Women in science