Peter H. Raven Library

Monsanto CenterPeter H. Raven Library
Fourth floor of the Monsanto Center
4500 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Phone: (314) 577-5155
Fax: (314) 577-0840

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday

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The Library began as a small collection of horticultural books owned by the Garden’s founder, Henry Shaw. Shaw augmented the collection through his friendships with leading 19th century naturalists, botanists and other scientists. Today, the Library is globally recognized as one of the most comprehensive libraries of botanical literature in the world.

In 2011, it was formally dedicated in honor of Dr. Peter Raven’s legacy in science, conservation and botany by the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Board of Trustees. The dedication memorializes the tenure of Raven who transformed the Missouri Botanical Garden in his nearly four decades as president and director.

The Library is a research facility, and its holdings do not circulate. Those interested in using the collection are encouraged to make an appointment. Also, the Library's Imaging Lab has digitized more than 3,300 volumes–approximately 1.5 million pages–and made them available to researchers around the world at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The collections are divided into two major components: the general collection and special collection. The special collection includes rare books and the Garden’s Archives, while the general collection includes 200,000 volumes of monographs and periodicals and more than 3,000 volumes of reference works.

Rare Books

Rare Books 

Rare books, such as the first edition, first printing of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, are housed in the Rare Book Room, which offers environmental controls and stricter security. Learn more

Imaging Lab

Imaging Lab 

In an effort to protect the collection from wear-and-tear while increasing accessibility, expert technicians use specialized scanning stations to digitized herbarium specimens, books and more. Learn more