The papers consist of correspondence, field notes, and publications of the botanist Charles Russell Orcutt. It also includes
biographical material and lists related to Orcutt's natural history collections, library, research, and travels.
Charles Russell Orcutt was a naturalist who specialized in botany and malacology. Born on April 27, 1864 in Hartland, Vermont,
he moved with his family to San Diego in 1879, where his father established a small horticultural nursery near the ruins of
the Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Orcutt married Olive E. Eddy in 1892; her medical practice provided financial support for
the family while Orcutt traveled extensively on collecting trips in both southern California and Baja California. He was a
prolific writer and editor, publishing multiple journals and magazines including West American Scientist (1884-1919). An early member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Society of Natural History (the parent organization
of the San Diego Natural History Museum), he collected many specimens now currently held in the botany, paleontology, and
marine invertebrate departments of that museum. Orcutt collected at least 45 new taxa, including 15 plant species and even
one genus that were named in his honor. Many plant names exist today with the specific epithet of orcuttii as testament to
his collecting skills. His botanical specimens are found in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History and
the Smithsonian Institution Natural History Museum, in addition to the San Diego Natural History Museum. He died on August
25, 1929 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.