In 1996 Michael A. Flannery, then director of the Lloyd Library, wrote an excellent article published in HerbalGram titled “Archives of Phytomedicine: The Collection of the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati.”1 This article told the story of the Lloyd Library’s history and growth, describing the wealth of historical resources housed at the library. Flannery also discussed the challenges that the library has faced in keeping “abreast of the literature in all of its diversified formats.” Despite persistent challenges, the Lloyd continues to collect and maintain resources critical to the investigation of phytomedicine’s past, present, and future. The Lloyd’s story today is, as Flannery wrote in 1996, “certainly not without interest for those continuing the ageless quest for phytotherapeutics.”
The library was begun in the late-1800s by John Uri Lloyd and his two brothers, Nelson Ashley Lloyd and Curtis Gates Lloyd, who together formed Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, Inc. The Lloyd brothers acquired numerous books and research materials to assist them in producing their botanical-based medicinal products, and their collection of books and manuscripts soon consisted of many rare and significant works. The first separate building for the library was established in 1901, but this and subsequent buildings were replaced over the years as the library’s collections repeatedly outgrew the buildings’ available space.2 The current building was erected in 1970, with over 30,000 square feet of space. It contains over 200,000 volumes of historic and contemporary books and journals covering such topics as traditional herbal medicine, phytomedicine, alternative therapies, botany and ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, drug development from natural products, the pharmaceutical industry, and even gardening.
In 2008, the Lloyd Library embarks upon a new chapter in its story—one critically needed to balance and complete the documentation of phytotherapeutics—the creation of the Historical Research Center for the Natural Health Movement. This initiative will position the Lloyd to become the central repository for the archives and personal papers of those involved in both scientific and grassroots endeavors to bring natural health into the mainstream. Flannery warned, “Keeping current is crucial, but to discount the vast body of previous scholarship in any field is presentism of the worst kind.”1 Much of that “vast body of previous scholarship,” vital to the developing natural health movement, is scattered in the attics, basements, offices, files, and boxes of herbalists, scientists, pharmacognosists, ethnobotanists, chemists, naturopathic physicians, and other alternative health practitioners around the globe. Or worse, some may have thought that there would be no interest in those papers and files, or they may have assumed there would be no place to send such materials for storage and easy accessibility for researchers interested in consulting these resources. Such documents of significant historic worth may have therefore been consigned to the trash heap and are now forever gone. The Lloyd Library and Museum now intends to present a solution to this dilemma.
There are many compelling reasons why the archives and papers of herbalists, natural medicine practitioners, natural product researchers, and other colleagues, belong at the Lloyd. First, and perhaps most significant, such materials would be housed in an institution already committed to preserving all resources, in any format, that document natural health and phytotherapy. Secondly, the addition of these materials will help the library fulfill its mission of serving as a preeminent archive. Flannery appropriately described the Lloyd in terms of its book collection alone as an “Archives of Phytomedicine.” Yet, to be strictly defined as an “archives,” an institution needs those collections and resources long-established as archives. Webster’s dictionary defines archives as “a place in which public records or historical documents are preserved; also: the material preserved … [and] a repository or collection especially of information.” This very broad and all-encompassing description can be applied to libraries with historic books, museums with historic artifacts, collections of public records and/or historic documents of businesses and organizations, and manuscript collections of personal papers, as well as the digital archives of records stored and maintained in a variety of online catalogs, databases, Web sites, etc., ad infinitum. In this article, the term archives will be defined as: (1) an institution whose function is to select, preserve, and store historic records; and (2) the papers of notable individuals, businesses, organizations, associations, and institutions.
The good news is that the Lloyd Library does have archival collections totaling nearly 1,000 linear feet—but more are needed in order to realize the library’s goal of becoming the principal archival repository worldwide documenting the history and development of herbal, natural, and alternative medicine. The Lloyd’s existing collections, including some that are slated to be housed in the library in the near future, provide an outstanding foundation upon which to build. Represented are the papers of pharmacognosists, herbalists, chemists, pharmacists, and prominent organizations, including the likes of John Uri Lloyd; Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, Inc.; the late professor Varro “Tip” Tyler; the late professor George Hocking; Alex Berman; Stephen Buhner; Susun Weed; Clarence Meyer, author of Herbalist Almanac; Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati; the American Society of Pharmacognosy; John Milton Scudder; and noted natural products chemist Robert F. Raffauf, among many others.
As thousands of herbal, pharmacognostic, phytomedical, ethnobotanical, pharmaceutical, and alternative medicine journals, newsletters, and books are acquired by the library, an overwhelming number of potential candidates for inclusion in the Lloyd’s Historical Research Center for the Natural Health Movement becomes possible. The Lloyd Library is prepared and equipped to offer its facilities and services to house, maintain, preserve, organize, and make accessible in one location this crucial body of knowledge for present and future scholars interested in investigating the natural health movement. Not only does the Lloyd have a professional archivist on staff with more than 10 years experience, but the library is also in the process of developing a space plan for what is hoped will be an avalanche of new archival collections.
The Lloyd is asking that all relevant persons consider depositing their papers at the Lloyd, encourage their colleagues to do so, and join the staff and guests of the Lloyd Library on Saturday, March 1, 2008, when the Lloyd will be celebrating two significant achievements—the launch of the Lloyd’s Historical Research Center for the Natural Health Movement and the formal opening of Tip Tyler’s papers for research. There will be lectures, an exhibit from the Tyler Papers, and a catered reception. More information is available at the Lloyd Web site (www.lloydlibrary.org). For more information about how to donate personal collections to the Lloyd, contact Anna Heran, archivist, at 513-721-3707 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 513-721-3707end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email@example.com.
Maggie Heran is the director of the Lloyd Library in Cincinnati, Ohio. Anna Heran is the library’s archivist.
- Flannery MA. Archives of phytomedicine: the collection of the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati. HerbalGram. 1996;36:42-48.
- Perry RA. The Lloyd Library. HerbalGram. 1990;22:6.