Horatio Hollis Hunnewell

Historical Biographies

Horatio Hollis Hunnewell

Horatio Hollis Hunnewell. Distinguished horticulturist and builder of the Arnold Arboretum Administration Building. Born July 27, 1810, died May 20, 1902. [Information from verso of mount].

Horatio Hollis Hunnewell (1810-1902)

H. H. Hunnewell was a wealthy banker, railroad financier, philanthropist, amateur botanist, and one of the most prominent horticulturists in America in the nineteenth century. Practicing horticulture for nearly six decades on his estate in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Hunnewell made a donation in 1873 that helped Asa Gray revise and complete his Flora of North America. He also funded the conifer collection at the Arboretum and in 1892 donated the Arboretum’s administration building known then as the Museum.

Sargent conferred with Hunnewell often as he made plans for the Arboretum. The Hunnewell rhododendrons may be the oldest cultivated specimens in the United States, as H. H. Hunnewell started planting them in the 1850s and 1860s. Today his Pinetum within the Hunnewell Estates Historic District (Wellesley, Massachusetts) consists of 140-year-old topiary garden of native white pine and arborvite.

Hayward, Allyson M. “Private Pleasures Derived from Tradition: The Hunnewell Estates Historic District.” Arnoldia 64(4), 2006 [pdf].