Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum
About the Archives

About the Archives

The Archives serves the Arboretum education, development, horticulture, and marketing staff, and is also open to qualified researchers by appointment. It is staffed by an archivist and a team of dedicated volunteers.


The Morris Arboretum Archives was established in 1987 to acquire, conserve, and catalog one-of-a-kind documents, letters, maps, architectural blueprints, landscape drawings, financial ledgers, diaries, lantern slides, photos, and negatives. Historic books, newspapers, research material, reports, and artifacts are also cataloged at the Arboretum. The archives collection includes roughly 100 cubic feet of paper archives and manuscripts, 12,000 images, including photographs, drawings, prints, lantern slides and other visual materials and 10 cubic feet of memorabilia and other objects.

After 1932, the botanic gardens owned by Penn became known as the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1932, architectural blueprints, landscape drawings, lantern slides, negatives and photographs by the botanists and visitors at the gardens are housed here. Numerous papers about that period and about the staff, the plants, and the garden features are also in the Archives.

Visiting the Archives

Hours are by appointment. To arrange a visit, email

Donate to the Archives
We are looking for objects and photos from the garden in the years before 1985. To donate to the Archives, arrange a visit, or email Leslie Morris-Smith at


Additional Information for Researchers or History Buffs

Historical Links

Chestnut Hill Conservancy Photo Archives

Lower Merion Historical Society

Springfield Township Historical Society Archives

University Archives at Penn

Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Museum Archives

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Alerts & Updates

The Arboretum is closed to the public today (9/6) due to potential flooding.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.