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The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (or The Huntington) is an educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington in San Marino, Californiamarker, USAmarker. In addition to the library, the site houses an art collection strong in English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture and botanical gardens that feature North America's strongest collection of cycads.

Library and art collection

The library contains an extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible, the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer, and thousands of historical documents about Abraham Lincoln, including the papers of his bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon. The rare books and manuscripts in the library are among the most heavily used in the United States. The library holds some 6.5 million manuscripts and more than a million rare books. It is the only library in the world with the first two quartos of Hamlet; it holds the manuscript of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, the first seven drafts of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, John James Audubon's Birds of America, a collection of manuscripts and first editions of the works of Charles Bukowski and many other great treasures.

The library often places these and similar items on view for the general public. Actual use of the collection is extremely restricted, generally requiring a doctoral degree or at least candidacy for the Ph.D. and two letters of recommendation from known scholars, due to the delicate and rare nature of the materials. The research division of the Huntington grants a number of short and long term fellowships each year to scholars wishing to work with the collections.

The art collection consists of the works of 18th and 19th century British and French artists and 18th, 19th and early 20th century American artists, as well as changing exhibitions. The best known works of British art are The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough and Sarah Barrett Moulton: "Pinkie" by Thomas Lawrence. In American art, the collection includes masterworks such as Frederic Church's Chimborazo (1864) and Harriet Hosmer's monumental sculpture Zenobia in Chains (1859).

William Morris collection

In 1999, the Huntington acquired the collection of materials relating to Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer William Morris amassed by Sanford and Helen Berger, comprising stained glass, wallpaper, textiles, embroidery, drawings, ceramics, more than 2,000 books, original woodblocks, and the complete archives of Morris's decorative arts firm Morris & Co. and its predecessor Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. These materials formed the foundation for the 2002 exhibit William Morris: Creating the Useful and the Beautiful.

Botanical gardens

The Huntington's superb botanical gardens cover 120 acres (485,624 m²) and the theme gardens contain rare plants from around the world. The gardens are divided into more than a dozen themes, including the Australian Garden, Camellia Collection, Children's Garden, Desert Garden Conservatory, Conservatory for Botanical Science, Desert Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden, Lily Pond, North Vista, Palm Garden, Rose garden, Shakespeare garden, Subtropical and Jungle Garden and a Chinese Garden (Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園 or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance) now open in the northern end of the property. The Conservatory for Botanical Science has a large tropical collection, as well as a carnivorous plants wing. In addition, a large open field planted with Eucalyptus trees serves as a re-created "Australian Outback." The Huntington has a program to protect and propagate endangered plant species. In 1999, 2002, and 2009, a specimen of Amorphophallus titanum, or "corpse flower", bloomed at the facility.

The Huntington Desert Garden, one of the world's largest and oldest collections of cacti and other succulents, contains plants from extreme environments, many of which were acquired by Mr. Huntington and Mr. William Hertrich (the garden curator) in trips taken to several countries in North, Central and South America. One of the Huntington’s most botanically important gardens, the Desert Garden, idealized by Mr. Hertrich, brings together a plant group largely unknown and unappreciated in the beginning of the 1900s. Containing a broad category of xerophytes (aridity-adapted plants), the Desert Garden grew to preeminence and remains today among the world’s finest, with more than 5,000 species, including cacti and succulent plants, or plants that store water in leaf, stem or root.


The gardens are frequently used as a filming location. Footage shot there has been included in:


Images of The Huntington

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Chinese Garden

Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園 (the Garden of Flowing Fragrance)
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Colorful flowers
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The bridge in the Japanese Garden
The gong in the Japanese Garden
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Desert Garden
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Jungle Garden
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Lily Ponds
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The Japanese Garden in Spring

Flowers in Huntington Gardens

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Day lily
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Wisteria arbor, April 2009
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Water lily
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See also


  1. The common appellation of The Huntington may also refer to the Huntington Hospital.
  2. "Crafts Cornered", Los Angeles Times, 15 December 1999, p. F1
  3. William Morris: Creating the Useful and the Beautiful
  4. Huntington. past exhibitions The Beauty of Life: William Morris & the Art of Design Nov. 8, 2003 - Apr. 4, 2004 Boone Gallery

External links

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