Nicholas Pike Flora and Fauna of Mauritius: Finding Aid mssPike

Gayle M. Richardson
The Huntington Library
January 2024
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Nicholas Pike flora and fauna of Mauritius
Creator: Pike, Nicholas, 1817-1905
Identifier/Call Number: mssPike
Physical Description: 4.16 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1868-1881
Abstract: The second volume of Flora and Fauna of Mauritius by Nicholas Pike; it includes the manuscript of the volume, research notes, correspondence, and watercolor drawings of butterflies, fish, insects, spiders of Mauritius.
Language of Material: Materials are in English and Latin.

Conditions Governing Access

RESTRICTED: Fragile, cannot be paged until conserved; available with curatorial approval.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Nicholas Pike flora and fauna of Mauritius, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Provenance unknown. In library as of approximately 1920.

Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Pike (1817-1905) was an American diplomat and naturalist. Nicholas (also spelled Nicolas) Pike was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and as a young man worked as an employee of a paper business in Brooklyn, New York. He was mainly self-taught as a naturalist and became involved with various Natural History societies and clubs by his 30s. In 1852, he accepted the post of United States General Counsel to Portugal and served for six years. During the American Civil War he was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the Union army. In 1866, Pike was appointed as Consul to Mauritius and served in that post until 1873; while there he pursued his interest in natural history and collected many specimens of fish, spiders, insects, and butterflies, most of which he sent to various museums in the United States and Europe. After returning to the United States, he married his third wife, Maria Louisa Hadley in 1875, whom he met in Mauritius; they continued to collaborate in their natural history studies, collecting, writing, and drawing. Maria Louisa died in 1892 and Nicholas died in 1905 at the age of 87.

Scope and Contents

The collection includes the manuscript, with accompanying illustrations, of volume two of Nicholas Pike's Flora and Fauna of Mauritius. The watercolor drawings include butterflies, fish, insects, and spiders; the drawings also include leaves, spider webs, trees, and flowers. The drawings were made by Pike and his wife, Maria Louisa Pike. Also included are research notes, correspondence, and printed material.

Processing Information

Minimally processed by Bill Frank in 2005; in January 2024, Gayle M. Richardson created the finding aid. Some of the material was removed from a volume by Huntington Library staff.


Arranged by subject and format.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Botanical illustration -- Mauritius
Botany -- Pictorial works
Butterflies -- Pictorial works
Fish -- Pictorial works
Insects -- Pictorial works
Natural history -- Mauritius
Spiders -- Pictorial works
Mauritius -- Description and travel
Botanical illustrations
Letters (correspondence)
Pictorial albums
Research notes
Scientific illustrations
Watercolors (paintings)
Pike, Maria Louisa, approximately 1824-1892

Box 1

Original colored drawings of Indian Ocean fish made from life by Col. Pike 1868-1881

Scope and Contents

Box also includes correspondence, printed material, research notes, watercolor drawings of spiders, spider webs, and leaves.
Box 2

Complete manuscript (13 chapters) of 2nd volume Flora and Fauna of Mauritius by Nicolas Pike approximately 1870-1876

Scope and Contents

Box also includes front matter for the volume, research notes, printed material, and watercolor drawings of birds, flora, corals, and algae.
Box 3

Portfolio of colored drawings of butterflies

Scope and Contents

Box also includes two unidentified photographs and list of butterfly drawings.