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Arthur B. Massey Papers

Identifier: Ms-1962-002

Scope and Content

This collection contains papers of Arthur Ballard Massey, a botanist at Virginia Tech from 1918 to 1959. Included are materials relating to Massey's research and instruction. The collection contains a small set of correspondence and a notebook full of observations made by Massey while in the area of Clemson University, as well as several studies and essays written by him. Among these are pieces on identification of evergreens, wild flower conservation, livestock poisoning, and trees of the Virginia Tech campus. Also among Massey's writings are working copies of three publications: "Legumes in Virginia," "Gramineae in Virginia," and "Grass Identification." Several issues of Virginia Wildlife housed within the collection also contain pieces by Massey.

The collection also includes numerous laboratory course outlines from Alabama Polytechnic Institute and a number of uncredited notes and bibliographies, including a piece titled "Plant Suggestions for Food Patches on V.P.I. Farm and at Mt. Lake." Also included is a 1930 research paper by Charlotte Buckland titled "The Vegetation of Mountain Lake, Virginia" and a syllabus for a conference on fruit diseases (sponsored by the Advisory Board of American Plant Pathologists) in portions of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Also found within the collection is a large set of photographs of trees on the Virginia Tech campus, taken in 1902. (Descriptions for the individual photos may be found in a separate folder within the collection.) The collection also contains several photos of tree removal during the construction of the Alumni Mall in 1950, and a few campus scenes from the 1920s. A small set of miscellaneous printed materials completes the collection and includes, among other items, a 1910 University of Florida promotional booklet and an article about botanist Thomas Walter.


  • 1902 - 1961


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Arthur Ballard Massey, the son of botanist W. F. Massey, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1889. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 1909, the younger Massey studied in Florida and Chicago. Meanwhile, he also served as an instructor of botany at Clemson University from 1910 to 1913, then as assistant botanist for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station from 1913 to 1918. In the latter year, Massey was hired by Virginia Polytechnic Institute as a bacteriologist in the school's botany department. He would earn his master's degree at VPI in 1928. In addition to his duties as an instructor, which included teaching all bacteriology courses, Massey held an appointment on the research staff of the Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1935, Massey became botanist for the Virginia Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, a position that included instruction and that he would hold until retirement. Massey is also credited with establishing the university's herbarium, depositing within it more than 25,000 specimens, and was an instrumental force in the creation of the Mountain Lake Biological Station. Arthur Ballard Massey retired in 1959 and died in 1981.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection contains field notes; essays and studies; laboratory course outlines; printed materials; and photographs of trees on the Virginia Tech Campus from Arthur Ballard Massey, plant pathologist, assistant professor of botany at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, professor of biology at Virginia Tech, and member of the Virginia Academy of Science.


The collection is arranged by document type.

Source of Acquisition

The Arthur B. Massey Papers were acquired by Special Collections in three accruals: the first accrual, consisting entirely of photographs, was donated in 1962. The remaining material was transferred to Special Collections from the Newman Library book collection in 1969 and 1970.

Related Archival Materials

See the W. F. Massey Papers, Ms1984-171, also at Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Arthur B. Massey Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Arthur B. Massey Papers commenced and was completed in February 2011.

Arthur B. Massey Papers, 1902-1961
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2011 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US