A Buzz about Bees: Four Hundred Years of Bees and Beekeeping

This exhibit features books from the Phillips Beekeeping Collection- a testament to the hard work and vision of one man, the dedication of hundreds of beekeepers, and the labor of millions of bees.

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In 1925, Everett Franklin Phillips, the recently hired professor of apiculture at Cornell, began to act on his desire to create a great central collection of beekeeping literature, an "accessible storehouse of our knowledge of bees and beekeeping." After donating his own collection, he initiated an ingenious method of fundraising: he asked beekeepers to set aside one hive and dedicate to the library the earnings from that hive's honey. When the amount reached $50, the beekeeper's obligation would have been met.

Little more than seventy-five years after Phillips's dream took flight, the collection that bears his name is the largest and most valuable library on bees and beekeeping in the world. Its books and serials range from the earliest printed book on bees in English to a recent 900-page taxonomy of bees of the world. It also contains the libraries of such eminent apiculturists as Langstroth, Quinby, and Dr. C. C. Miller. In addition to this wealth of books, the collection houses complete runs of beekeeping journals from around the world and treasured artifacts of apiculture history such as the hand-written journals of L. L. Langstroth and Moses Quinby.