These papers of Frederick Vernon Coville were part of a group of Smithsonian Department of Botany records which were originally deposited in 1971 at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. In December 1977, the records were returned to the Smithsonian for maintenance in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
These papers consist of a small amount of correspondence, 1888-1921; material concerning the Medicinal Plants Survey, 1897-1898; notes concerning the revision of Coville's work on Death Valley plants, 1933-1936; and a small group of manuscript notes on currants and gooseberries, undated. Events and items of special interest which are documented in the correspondence include the explorations of Per Axel Rydberg in the Black Hills; the artistic work of Frederick A. Walpole; the acquisition of the Greene Herbarium; the botany exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893; and the Mearns collection from the Mexican Boundary Survey, 1893.
The Smithsonian Archives contains other Coville correspondence scattered throughout a number of collections. Most of this material can be found in the records of the Division of Plants, particularly Record Units 220, 221, 222, and 224. Other collections include Record Unit 201, Assistant Secretary in Charge of the United States National Museum, 1875-1902, and the records of the Office of the Secretary, Record Units 31, 34, 45, and 46. The main body of Coville's official correspondence is located in Record Group 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, at the National Archives.