Library & Archives

 Access our library by appointment or request assistance with research.

John Bartram’s inscription on the flyleaf of his copy of Linnaeus’s Genera Plantarum, reading, “John Bartram His Book given him by Dr. Gronovius chief Profesor at Leiden 1743.” The book was a gift to the John Bartram Association by Mira Lloyd Dock in 1931 in honor of Dr. John M. Macfarlane.

The John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library

Located at Bartram’s Garden, the John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library houses one of the most complete collections of writings, genealogical information, books, and photographs by and about the Bartrams, their garden, and the world in which they lived.

Library Hours

The library is open free by appointment 12–4 pm, Tuesday–Friday.

To make an appointment, please contact Curator Joel Fry at jfry@bartramsgarden.org or 215 729 5281 x106.

Current Holdings

Among the holdings is John Bartram’s own copy of Linnaeus’s Genera Plantarum, given to him by Dr. Gronovius of Leiden in 1743. John in turn gave this volume to his son William in 1755, and it is inscribed with both their names.

The library features rare books and herbals from the Dr. Philip George Collection, many of which would have been in the Bartrams’ family library or on their reading list.

The library also contains a selection of reference books about Philadelphia history, 18th and 19th century gardens and botany, out-of-print books about the Bartrams, transcriptions and copies of published editions of Bartram correspondence, as well as diaries, journals, drawings, plant lists and catalogues, tax and census records, and estate papers.

In addition, the collection contains the complete archive of the John Bartram Association activities, correspondence, annual reports, minutes, memorabilia, and garden guides, as well as technical reports and architectural drawings/specifications/plans documenting restorations, repairs, and archaeological surveys of the site.

Reproduction Requests & Assisted Research

Materials from the John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library may be requested for reproduction in publications, presentations, and other media. Fees for all requests support our mission and ensure that the Garden remains open and welcoming for all our neighbors.

Reproduction Terms and Fees

Please share more details of your request using this form and a member of our staff will be in touch with you soon. 

For personal, non-profit, non-commercial, and academic uses: $25 first image, $5 additional images

For commercial uses: $50 first image, $25 additional images

High-resolution (300 dpi) digital images of materials from our collections can be supplied via secure online  file transfer or, for an additional fee, via a mailed USB drive.

ll reproductions must be credited as follows in a caption or credit: © John Bartram Association, Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia. Credits should appear in close proximity to the image or in a special section devoted to credits. Altering the original image beyond standard cropping requires written permission; these changes must be indicated in the accompanying caption. If requested by the Association, the applicant agrees to provide one free copy of the work containing the reproduction.

Please allow 2–4 weeks for the fulfillment of reproduction requests.

For contemporary images to accompany media coverage, please click here.

Assisted Research

Assisted historical and genealogical research is available at a rate of $25/hour. To make an appointment for assisted research, please contact Curator Joel Fry at jfry@bartramsgarden.org or 215 729 5281 x106.

Please note that many significant materials relating to the Bartram family and Bartram’s Garden are held by other institutions. Requests to reproduce or learn more about these materials should be directed to their respective owners.

About John Bowman Bartram

Adapted from a reflection by former Executive Director Martha Leigh Wolf (1995)

Dr. John Bowman Bartram (1910–1995), a seventh-generation descendant of John Bartram through the line of John, Jr., was a distinguished pediatrician and a man of broad interests and inestimable kindness. He had a long and generous involvement with the Garden, furthered in part by materials inherited from William Middleton Bartram (1838–1916), who played a key role in the founding of the John Bartram Association in 1893 and who amassed an impressive collection of family papers, books, photographs, wills, and other items. Dr. Bartram preserved the family records and periodically donated portions to the John Bartram Association; by 1994; these materials became the core of the library that now bears his name.

Dr. Bartram’s impact on the Association extended beyond the formation of this library. He enhanced the interpretation of the Historic Bartram House by donating furnishings and objects with specific family associations, including a rare mahogany medicine chest, a vaccination kit, and a tea cup and saucer given to Ann Bartram by Benjamin Franklin’s wife, Deborah. As there are relatively few documented items surviving from the period of the Bartram family’s residence in the Garden, these gifts were especially precious.

Additionally, Dr. Bartram served as President of the Board of Directors of the Association from 1981–1985 and was instrumental in engaging the support of other members of the Bartram family for the Garden. He was a much admired member of the Bartram Trail Conference headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, and in 1993, Dr. Bartram made the first gift to the Association’s endowment. Despite living more than two hours from Philadelphia, he and his wife, Mal, made a point of attending every special event at the Garden; between times, he called or wrote monthly, always sending something new for the library’s collection.

The John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library was dedicated in his memory in 1995 in thanks for his remarkable commitment to Bartram’s Garden.

Reproduction Request Form

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Biking & Walking

Follow the Schuylkill River Trail from the North Mile to 56th Street and beyond.

Birds

Look up! More than 100 species of birds rely on this ecosystem.

Boating & Fishing

Enjoy all that the Tidal Schuylkill River has to offer.

Flowers, Plants & Trees

See what’s blooming, find a favorite tree, and stroll the gardens and natural lands.

Gardening

Bring the Garden home! Shop for plants and grow your own food.

History

Uncover the interconnected stories of this historic site.

Kids' Activities

Join us year-round to learn, make, share, and wonder.

Sankofa Community Farm

“Go back and get it!” Growing food sovereignty with an African Diaspora focus.

Southwest Philadelphia

Resources and opportunities especially for neighbors in Southwest Philly.

Water Quality

Find our latest data on the river’s bacteria levels and recent rainfall.

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Enjoy upcoming workshops, self-care, and events. Are you a Southwest artist? Let’s partner!

Youth Internships

Calling Southwest students: paid internships available with the river, the farm, and the trees.