Lancelot Jennings Lipscomb, Orchids from Panama and Ecuador, ca.1910-14
Courtesy of Kew Gardens Library and Archives  2010, PrP 97-0006

Kew’s extensive library is one of the most important botanical reference sources in the world. Kew’s Library, Art & Archives contains more than half a million items, including books, botanical illustrations, photographs, letters and manuscripts, periodicals, biographies and maps. During the 150 years of the library’s history, material has been acquired by gift, purchase and exchange. Over 90 languages are represented, making the library a global resource for plant science, research and conservation.


Most photographs of Latin America and the Caribbean taken between 1850 and 1950 relate to expeditions. They show landscapes, people and plants collected or observed. Unless otherwise stated, photographs are in black and white.

Catalogue and Resources

Archives Research Guide: Photographs 1880s-1996 (A Comprehensive Guide to Photographs held in Kew’s Collections)

A full list of catalogues collections can be obtained either on line through The National Archives Catalogue at

It can be sent as a Word list by mail or as an e-mail attachment upon request

Visiting the library

The library is open to bona fide researchers by appointment. A written application to visit is usually required and this can be sent via fax, email or letter.

Opening hours: 9am – 5pm,  Monday – Friday

Library, Art & Archives
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Surrey TW9 3AELibrary

Tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5414
Fax: +44 (0)20 8332 5430e-mail:


Tel.: +44 (0)208 332 5417/5476


Tel: +44(0)208 332 5429e-mail: