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The Ringling Archives serve as temporary home for Selby Gardens rare botanical collection
The Ringling Archives’ mission is to maintain and further develop a regionally important archival collection of institutional records and materials that document the history of the Museum, the Ringlings, the Circus Arts, Wild West shows and allied arts.

SARASOTA, FLA.- In preparation for the start of construction of a new library, the Selby Gardens is working with the Archives at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to find temporary housing for their collection of rare botanical books and prints. Selby’s collection, which consists of 500 volumes dating from the mid-1700s and 2500 prints that are over 100 years old, was created in the 1970s by the Selby Foundation. Highlights of the collection include a complete set of Curtis’ Botanical Magazines, starting with edition 1, published in 1787 and a rare copy of The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala, (1837-1843).

Bruce Holst, the Selby’s vice president for Botany, said “We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Ringling Archives in housing and preserving this important collection during our construction. We anticipate moving the collection into our new Plant Science Center and Library in 2022.”

Heidi Connor, Chief archivist at the Ringling, said" The Ringling Archives is not a well-known department at the Ringling, but it is an integral part of the Museum. The Archives holds the records of the Museum; Ringling Family papers; photograph collections; Circus Arts, Wild West Shows and allied arts collections; and manuscripts. We will be happy to assist visitors and researchers with the Selby Collection.”

Visitors should make an appointment to view items in the archives and may fill out a request form at Archivists are available Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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