Homer Leroy Shantz was a plant physiologist for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; Botany professor at several universities; later, Chief of Wildlife Management Division, U.S. Forest Service.
This collection contains field notebooks, reprint articles, speeches, survey abstracts, photographs, diaries, and correspondence pertaining to Shantz's interests in worldwide agriculture and botany. Shantz's various trips to Africa resulted in extensive field notes, including those for the Smithsonian African Expedition, 1919 to 1920, and the African Education Commission, 1923 to 1924. Background material he collected about Africa encompasses maps; postcards; dictionaries and primers on languages, including Swahili; also, articles on the people, the areas they inhabited, and specific problems, such as the tsetse fly, sleeping sickness, forced labor, and race relations. Photographs of his travels from the Cape to Cairo depict the Nile, Egyptian ruins, wild and domestic animals, vegetation and the landscape, villages and cities, and people in tribal dress. Communal activities documented include cultivation, thatching roofs, building a road, and weaving a large bamboo mat to cover a bridge walkway.
United States material primarily concerns the West, with a focus on Colorado. A study of its vegetation changes includes over 200 photographs. Items from other countries are South American survey abstracts by various authors; Shantz's diary and notes from the International Phytogeographic Expedition to Switzerland, 1923; also his field notes and diaries from Ontario, 1916; the U.S.S.R., 1930; and Germany, 1934. Correspondence concerns his various projects. The bound reprints of his writings have some material concerning wildlife, as it relates to larger ecological schemes.