Donald Angus Collection of Botanical Prints
Donald Angus' collection of botanical prints are housed at the Bishop Museum, Foster Gardens, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Hamilton Library. These exquisite illustrations were published in monographs and journals mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They reflect the enthusiasm of scientists, and the popularity of the exotic flora being introduced and cultivated in European botanical gardens.
Many prints in the Angus collection are from Monandrian Plants of the Order Scitamineae by William Roscoe (1753-1831). Roscoe, a wealthy banker and amateur botanist, founded the Liverpool Botanic Garden in 1802. Many of the illustrations in his 1828 publication were "drawn from living specimens" in this garden.
The 49 prints displayed on this web site were transferred in 1998 to Hamilton Library from the Bishop Museum Donald Angus collection. The prints are housed in the Library Special Collections department.
Donald Angus has a passion for learning, and an eye for beauty. He was born in Honolulu in 1908, and raised in the beautiful valley of Nuuanu. As a young man he left the islands and went to London, where he pursued his education in the libraries, archives and museums. He read everything he could find on the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific, and carefully copied unique manuscripts that he discovered.
From material found in London book shops and sale bins, he began to collect botanical illustrations. These colorful hand-painted prints must have transformed a dreary London day, and filled it with memories of the color and fragrances of island gardens.
Angus has generously donated botanical prints to a number of institutions in Hawai'i, noting, "People should be able to come and see it all and use it. That's what makes it valuable. Education is supposed to do more than just teach us a set of facts. It should teach us how to learn."