About the Diatom Collections

The core research collection was founded upon the collections of nineteenth- and early twentieth century [amateur] diatomists, and includes material from as early as 1771. Many additional collections have been contributed by diatomists working on all continents.

Slides are catalogued both geographically and taxonomically; the geographic file is computerized. There are several other important collection resources. Unique in the world is the "New Species File," or Taxon Record, which includes in excess of 133,000 5X8 cards for both newly described taxa and previously described diatoms that have been taxonomically revised from 1933 to the present. These cards include descriptions, illustrations, locality and type information, and source references for both the current name and for the basionym taxon where applicable. The Bibliography File includes approximately 60,000 3X5 cards with references for individual articles and monographs about diatoms. The majority of these references are available in the Herbarium's extensive library and reprint collections. There are also card files cataloging the occurrence of individual taxa on herbarium slides, listing references containing SEM and TEM images of diatoms, and summarizing diatom ecological data gleaned from the literature.

Special Collections

The Diatom Herbarium has a large number of special collections of slides and or materials. Each is named after the diatomist who put that particular collection together. These collections were given to the Diatom Herbarium by the diatomist him/herself, or by one of their family members. Several collections include slides and/or materials of other diatomists or the collections may have been part of a larger collection of another individual. The slides may have been prepared to typify a particular species or to be an example of an assemblage from a particular geographic locality. Some specific details about collections are listed below.

Special Collections of the Diatom Herbarium
Collector/Collection Size Dates Description
Christian Febiger 5215 slides 1817-1892 Exsiccatae. Member of the Academy from 1866-1892.
John A. Schulze 5125 slides na Collection of slides and clean & uncleaned material from Europe, the Pacific Ocean, Asia minor, the Americas (with many specifically from North America).
Charles S. Boyer 5615 slides 1856-1928 Collected while at the Academy; unique collection. Donated by Mrs. Charles Boyer after his death. His collections were used to write "Diatoms of North American" as well as "Diatoms of Philadelphia and Vicinity".
Rabenhorst exsiccati set from the Missouri Botanical Garden
Pease collection several thousand slides from Penn State University
N. Foged Slides from Denmark and elsewhere
McCail Slides from Scotland and elsewhere
Manguin Slides from France and elsewhere
Pergallo 1175 slides Exsiccatae
Tempère & Pergallo 1675 slides Exsiccatae
H.L. Smith 701 slides 1870-1890 Worked from 1870-1890. This is Smith's original collection of slides on which he identified the diatoms which were recorded on the labels of the many exsiccatae he produced. This collection was purchased by F.J. Keeley and has an accompanying letter certifying that this is Smith's original collection. This is a part of F.J. Keeley's collection.
William Smith 320 slides 1808-1857 Primarily slides of British Diatoms. Not the specific collection used to create his British Diatomaceae work, but one of several exsicatae he had made up. Name of one species per slide, with collection locality in Britain.
Cleve and Möller 324 slides 1877-1882 Upsala. Collection of slides and material from many other individuals as well. Each slide lists one main species and often other forms which are present.
Eulenstein part of Febiger Collection
The General Collection >95,000 slides Collection of slides and types from all over the world. In the collection are slides from M.A. Booth, D.B. Ward, Dr. Peticolis as well as many others. The collections of Christian Febiger are included in the General Collection at the Academy and include slides from Grunow, Gregory and A. Schmidt. The GC also includes the U.S.G.S. NAWQA Project material which consists of over 10,000 slides and corresponding vials of cleaned material collected 1993 - 2002 from rivers throughout the United States.

Written queries should be sent to:

Dr. Marina Potapova
Diatom Herbarium
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1195