From Joseph Hooker1    2 December 1865

Kew Dec 2 /65

Dear Mueller

Today's "Times" paper announces the death of Augustus Oldfield, no particulars beyond that he leaves a wife & 2 children.2

Can you tell me any-thing of his history. I got much interested here — he was always gloomy & odd, & when pressed about his nervous condition always darkly hinted at some dreadful scene, the witnessing of which shattered his nerves. We liked what little we saw of him; — he was quiet, inobtrusive, singularly modest & extremely well informed; his large and most important Herbarium he had given to me long ago, and would take no price in reward, wished no public notice of it, & only hoped it might be useful. I could not help feeling immensely interested in him. I understood that he lived with or near a sister or brother here in England.

I regret to find that we have lost Ficus Sycamorus. I shall proceed to repair the loss & send it you, as soon as possible.

I have plenty always to say to you but no time to say it now. I have no assistance of any kind yet & the arrears of my father & self, & current duties of the Garden press very heavily upon me indeed. — Of course for Science I have no time at all

I am anxious, as I think I told you to try your terrestrial Orchids;3 — you sending the tubers in small boxes, in the dormant season, wrapped in paper, so as to arrive here in our spring if possible.

Colenso sent me by post a box of Convolvulus Chrysorhizus tubers, every one in superb order — like new dug potatos! not a trace of decay or mould.

Bulbs of all kinds would be equally acceptable.

We are largely increasing our succulents having a capital collection of these

Ever most sincerely your

Jos D Hooker


Convolvulus Chrysorhizus

Ficus Sycamorus

MS is black-edged.
This is a case of mistaken identity. There is a death notice in The Times (London), 2 December 1865, for Augustus L. Oldfield, 'late of Melbourne, Australia', who had died on 28 November 1865 'in the 34th year of his age, leaving a widow and two children to lament his loss'. This, however, was not the botanical collector Augustus F. Oldfield, who was born in 1820, never married, and died in 1887.
See J. Hooker to M, 2 May 1865.

Please cite as “FVM-65-12-02a,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 16 October 2021,