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About the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium

The long history of Cornell mycologists who worked on the systematics of discomycetes (cup fungi) means that this group is especially well represented in CUP. Durand's collection of discomycetes was purchased in the 1920s, and includes portions of the types of many cup fungi described in the New World before that date. H.H. Whetzel, chairman of North America's first Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell, also studied discomycetes, as did R.P. Korf and his many students. The notes and correspondence of many of these mycologists are also housed at CUP.

The collection of George F. Atkinson (CUP-A) is especially rich in agarics (mushrooms) collected during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He described almost 400 species of agarics, plant pathogens, and other fungi during his tenure as a Cornell professor. Atkinson was an early pioneer in the documentation of specimens with photography; CUP also holds his large collection of photographs. Most of Atkinson's specimen data, notes, and photographs have now been digitized and can be searched online.

The Photograph Collection at CUP is also exceptionally valuable. It provides an unparalleled historical record of agricultural practice in New York State, portraits of plant pathologists and mycologists, documentation of plant pathogens and the diseases they cause, and representations of mushrooms, discomycetes, and other fungi studied by department members. Over 20000 CUP photographs are now available for online browsing through our CUP Photograph Collection website. Our collections also include "Smokin' Doc Thurston's Greatest Hits," a set of over 2500 images taken during Professor Emeritus H.D. Thurston's career in International Agriculture and Plant Pathology. Any of our photos can be ordered as high resolution digital files or prints.

CUP collections are filed by accession number. They are currently indexed by a comprehensive card file. Many special collections are stored apart from the main CUP collections; these are represented by acronyms such as CUP-A, for the G.F. Atkinson collection, or CUP-CH, for the CUP collection Fungi of China. Some older collections have not yet been completely accessioned and many specimens need updates to their identification. We have digitized a majority (but not all!) of our records and made them available online via MyCoPortal.

CUP sponsors an annual First Morel Contest in Ithaca, New York, largely to encourage Ithaca's hardy citizens to emerge from their wintery dens each Spring.