The start date for the Sherard Herbarium is difficult to determine since Sherard rarely dated specimens. However, Sherard's earliest collections probably date to his time as a student in Oxford (c. 1680). Following its donation to the University, the Sherard Herbarium became the de facto general herbarium for the physic garden and was regularly augmented until 1796; consequently, it is larger than that known to Sherard. Today, the Sherard Herbarium comprises approximately 20,000 specimens mounted on individual sheets.
These notes identify the principles used when databasing of the Sherard Herbarium. Minimum data records have been collected from the labels, comprising: taxon name; collector (where obvious); collection date; and geographic location. No attempt has been made to transcribe polynomial names or identify handwriting; much detailed research and cataloguing remains to be completed on the Sherard Herbarium.
Taxonomic arrangement: Sherard's own arrangement of his collection is unknown, as are the rearrangements made by Dillenius from 1721. George Claridge Druce rearranged the Herbarium according to Théophile Durand's Index Generum Phanerogamorum (1888) in the late nineteenth century. With the extensive plant name changes during the twentieth century, and the completion of the Sherard Herbarium database, it was decided to arrange the Sherard Herbarium alphabetically, by modern family name, and within each family, alphabetically by genus. Family designations are according to Mabberley's Plant-Book (2008).
Taxon names: No attempts have been made to determine material beyond the rank indicated on either the sheet or folder (obvious filing errors have been corrected). Few researchers have studied the Sherard Herbarium since it was rearranged by Druce. Consequently, taxa are often only named to genus level, whilst many species names are very outdated; exceptions to this are the North American collections.
Collectors: Sherard appears to have been in the habit of re-writing labels associated with the specimens; hence, original collector details may be lost. Collectors have been indicated where known. In cases where they have been inferred they are surrounded by square brackets, e.g., '[Amman, J.]'. Many collectors are likely to be identified following further study of the Sherard Herbarium. However, collectors who are represented in the Sherard Herbarium include:
Amman, Johann (1707-1741)
Bartram, John (1699-1777); Bauhin, Johann (1541-1613); Baxter, William (1787-1871); Bobart, Jacob (1641-1719); Boccone, Paulo (1633-1703); Boerhaave, Hermann (1668-1738); Brewer, Samuel (1670-1743); Breyne, Jacob (1637-1697); Brown, Alexander (fl. 1692-1698); Brown, Littleton (fl. 1699-1749); Buddle, Adam (1660-1715); Bulkley, Edward (1651-1714).
Catesby, Mark (1683-1749); Celsius, Olof (1670-1756); Charles, M. (fl. 1720); Clayton, John (1686-1773); Clifford, George (1685-1760); Cole, Thomas (fl. 1730); Collinson, Peter (1694-1768); Cuninghame, James (d. 1709); Cupani, Francisco (1657-1711).
Dale, Francis (fl. 1730); Dale, Samuel (1659-1739); Dale, Thomas (fl. 1700-1734); Dampier, William (1651-1715); Dandridge, Thomas (fl. 1723-1730); de Jussieu, Bernard (1699-1776); de Tournefort, Joseph Pitton (1656-1708); Dillenius, Johann Jacob (1684-1747); d'Isnard, Antoine Tristan Danty (1663-1743); Doody, Samuel (1656-1706); Du Bois, Charles (1656-1740); Du Bois, Daniel (d. 1702).
Furber, Robert (fl. 1727).
Gmelin, Samuel Gottlieb (1744-1774); Goiffon, Dr. (fl. 1710); Green, William (fl. 1726-1740); Gronovius, Jan Fredrik (1690-1762).
Hall, Francis (fl. 1728); Hancock, William (fl. 1720); Harris, Joseph (fl. 1721); Harrison, William (fl. 1740); Hartog, Jan (fl. 1689-1730); Hebenstreit, Johann Christian (1720-1795); Helwing, Georg Andreas (1666-1748); Hermann, Paul (1646-1695); Houstoun, William (1695-1733); Hugo, August Johann (d. 1753).
Lhwyd, Edward (1660-1709); Linnaeus, Carolus (1707-1778); Lippi, Augustin (1678-1704); Lister, Martin (1638-1712).
Magnol, Pierre (1638-1715); Manningham, Thomas (1684-1750); Mather, Increase (1639-1723); Menzies, Archibald (1754-1842); Micheli, Pier Antonio (1679-1737); Millar, Robert (fl. 1734-1742); Mitchell, John (d. 1768); Molyneux, Thomas (1661-1733); Monti, Guiseppe (1682-1760); More, Thomas (fl. 1700-1730); Morton, John (1671-1726); Munting, Abraham (1626-1683); Mylam, Mr. (fl. 1726).
Newton, James (1639-1718); Nicholls, Robert (fl. 1714-1745); Nissole, Guillaume (1647-1734).
Oldenland, Henrik Bernard (b. 1699).
Peplow, Mrs. (fl. 1720); Petiver, James (1658-1718); Petre, Robert James (1713-1743); Plukenet, Leonard (1642-1706); Poirier, Stephen (fl. 1710); Pontedera, Giulio (1688-1757).
Rand, Isaac (d. 1743); Reynardson, Samuel (d. 1721); Richardson, Richard (1663-1741); Ruysch, Frederick (1638-1731).
Salvador y Pedrol, Jaime (1649-1740); Salvador y Riera, Juan (1683-1726); Sarrazin, Michel (1659-1734); Scheutzer, Johan Jakob (1672-1733); Shaw, Thomas (1693-1751); Sherard, James (1666-1737); Sherard, William (1659-1728); Sibthorp, Humphrey (1712-1797); Sibthorp, John (1758-1796); Sloane, Hans (1660-1753); Smith, James Edward (1759-1828); Soldan, Francis (fl. 1700-1740); Stephens, Lewis (1654-1725); Stephens, William (d. 1760); Stonestreet, William (d. 1716).
Thorpe, John (1682-1750); Tilden, Richard (fl. 1700); Tilli, Michelangelo (1655-1740); Tita, Antonio (fl. 1683-1713); Tozzi, Bruno (1656-1743); Trionfetti, Giovanni Battista (1658-1708); Turner, Dawson (1775-1858).
Uvedale, Robert (1642-1722).
Vaillant, Sebastien (1669-1722); van Royen, Adrian (1705-1779); Vernon, William (fl. 1688-1711); von Haller, Albert (1708-1777).
Williams, George (1762-1834).
Zannichelli, Gian Girolamo (1662-1729).
Collection dates: Dates are those given on the labels. No attempt has been made to account for date changes that might be necessary because of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in Britain during the period covered by the Sherard Herbarium.
Geographic location: Geographic location information has been taken directly from the labels where this is indicated. Country names have been brought into line with modern usage but place names reflect names on labels rather than modern names. Sherard sheets usually have ink stamps, added in the nineteenth century, that indicate 'Europe', 'Asia', 'Africa, or 'America'. Where no better information is available, these names have been included as countries inside square brackets, e.g., '[Europe]'. Where no country information is clear, no geographic reference is given. The country stamps must be treated with considerable caution, as there is internal evidence that these were applied with little attention to detail, for example, Asia may refer to: (i) material from Asia; (ii) material of Asian taxa cultivated in Europe or elsewhere; or (iii) material from the West Indies and Americas. Within genera, specimens are grouped geographically into five different folder colours: Europe (blue), Asia (pink), Africa (orange), Americas (green) and Australia (yellow).
Sheet labelling: There appears to have been no number system in the Sherard Herbarium before the mid nineteenth century, when William Hart Baxter began to number species in red ink to create a herbarium catalogue. This was evidently not completed as many of the sheets in the Sherard Herbarium lack such numbers. Baxter's numbers sometimes follow a sequence, e.g., 1498, 1498-2, 1498-3, which appears to indicate that the sheets are part of the same collection. Unfortunately, this convention has been applied inconsistently and the interpretation of Baxter's numbers in this manner must be treated with caution. All sheets in the Sherard Herbarium now bear accession numbers based on the Baxter numbers. The reason for doing this, rather than giving sheets entirely new numbers, is that the Baxter numbers have been used in the published literature to refer to specific Sherard sheets. All new accession numbers are prefixed with 'Sher'.