North American Wild Flowers by Mary Walcott donated to Library

Written by Susan Mueller, Coordinator of Collection Services

The Calvin T. Ryan Library received a beautiful donation this summer. It is a complete set of North American Wild Flowers written and illustrated by Mary Vaux Walcott.  Published in 1925 by the Smithsonian Institution, it is a limited edition consisting of 5 portfolios, each containing a set of 80 plates.  Each plate depicts an individual wild flower shown life-size. They were drawn while on site near Glacier National Park with her husband, Dr. Walcott, as well as those near her home in Washington, D.C.  Also included in each portfolio are the descriptions she wrote for each plate.

The rare portfolios are often referred to as the equivalent to John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The illustrations are very fine. This set was purchased by Ray Wycoff, a physician from Lexington, Nebraska. It has been maintained in excellent condition. His family graciously donated it to the library this summer.

It has been added to the library’s Rare Book Collection within the library’s Archives and Special Collections.

Anyone wishing to view the set should contact Greg Anderson ( to make an appointment.

plate 344 Bourgeau Rose by Mary Vaux Walcott             Description of plate 344 Bourgeau Rose