Using this site

General usage notes for this site are provided below. User testing of the website has revealed a small number of issues that affect certain operations or outputs–these are indicated where appropriate. Accordingly, users should be aware of certain aspects of the site that might not perform as expected. Any additional issues should be reported to .

Not all of the letters discovered by the von Mueller Correspondence Project team are published here. In addition to those that have yet to be processed, any letters deemed by the editors not to be in a publishable state are excluded.

General searches: On all pages except the Search page there is a search box at the top right labelled ‘Search letters’. Search parameters may include single words linked by the operators AND, NOT or OR, wildcards (represented by an asterisk *), and phrases contained within quotation marks, such as “native plants”.

For example: Ladies NOT Leichhardt will return correspondence where ‘Ladies’ are mentioned, excluding entries that feature the name ‘Leichhardt’; Ladies AND Leic*ardt will include entries that feature ‘Ladies’ and also the name ‘Leichhardt’, along with its most common misspellings.

Two words entered without an operator will function as an OR search. Wildcards are not supported in phrase searches. Single word searches can be linked with phrase searches using the operators AND, NOT, or OR, e.g., Albany AND “King Georges”; Albany OR “King Georges”. Searches are sensitive to accented and unaccented characters but are not case sensitive. This can be important when searching for names that are inconsistently Anglicised by authors. For example, the New South Wales collector appears as both Wilhelm Bäuerlen or Baeuerlen, while Ferdinand Mueller is variously addressed as Müeller, Mueller, Müller or Muller. The simplest way to find all variants is to search using a wild card: e.g. ‘B*erlen AND M*ller’.

Search page

The Search page allows users to search the corpus of letters and browse the output via a list of returned results. The list of letters generated on the Search page is formatted to a fixed standard. Each letter is represented by an automatically generated summary comprising, in order:

For items not written in English the title is taken from the translation. This format allows for a quick assessment of each letter’s contents. Where a particular term is searched for, the phrase in which it appears in the letter is also shown below the title, with the term in question highlighted.

There are six filter options listed on the left-hand side of the page that may help users to identify correspondence of interest. Letters can currently be filtered by date; original language; correspondents; author, recipient; and taxon name.

Filters: There are six filters that help identify files of interest. Where a filter has many parameters, the parameters are presented as scrolling fields. Multiple filters can be applied at the same time.

Date: The list of decades when selected opens to years within that decade and can be further opened to months within years, and days within months. The number of letters is shown in parentheses.

Original Language: the language of the original manuscript; non-English files are mostly in German, but other languages occur.

Correspondents: The names of correspondents, organisations or a surrogate, sorted by given name, with pseudonyms enclosed in quotation marks coming first. The number of items for each correspondent is given in parentheses. The Correspondents, Author and Recipient filters are linked, and selecting one or more names in one will constrain the list of names displayed in the other filter fields only to those involved in correspondence with the selected individual(s). Searching the Search page using the find function of your browser will find all instances of the specified terms in the filtered results.

Author: the author of documents, including organisations, also sorted by given name.

Recipient: the person or organisation to which the item was addressed. In some cases, no specific person or organisation was addressed, and the nature of the document is described, e.g., ‘Testimonial’, or ‘Circular’.

Taxon name: The names of taxa, or apparent taxa, generated as a metadata list for each letter. See Editorial practice for an explanation of the derivation of this list. Note that taxon names may be capitalised in some source documents, thus Eucalyptus viminalis was sometimes written Eucalyptus Viminalis. The find function in your browser can typically be set to match case, but to detect capitalisation variants in taxon names it is better to ignore case whilst searching.

Not that filter selections will not automatically clear between searches; they must be manually deselected or the page refreshed before initiating a new search of the full corpus.

An advanced search can be made using the five search boxes on the Search page. These allow users to search by:

Letter page features

Document information. The elements here are meta-data about the file.

Clicking the triangle symbol at the top left of the pane hides that section, leaving only the letter in view. Letters that contain plant names have a ‘Plant names’ list which can be opened to display the names in that letter. Some lists are very long, for example letter 56-06-18.

Physical location displays the archive in which the source document is held.

Many letters are known only in published versions. They have no source entry in the Location field. However, a search in the text box using Letter not found AND text given here will locate most of them. Extending the search further will find examples in specific sources, e.g., Letter not found AND text given here AND Warrnambool standard, but may return some false positives as the name of the newspaper may have been used in other notes to the same letter.

ISSUE: After the Physical Location details a code appears which is not part of the archival catalogue. The numbers are the editors’ letter number, which maps directly to the file name. See Editorial Practice for an explanation. For sources that are not MSS the field will return only the letter number.

Preferred citation. This field contains the elements required to prepare citations according to the requirements of different publishers. Publishers vary in their preferred styles.

Thus, in a Journal using footnotes or endnotes, without a requiring a specific hypertext link, a citation to letter 68-05-22 which appears here as

Ferdinand von Mueller to Carl von Martius, 1868-05-22. R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells (eds), Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, < letters/1860-9/1868/68-05-22-final/>, accessed February 28, 2023

would be something like

Ferdinand von Mueller to Carl von Martius 22 May 1868 (R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells (eds), Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, <, letter 68-05-22, accessed February 28 2023)

Those that require it would need the full web address,

For publishers using ‘Author (date)’ format, such as Muelleria the example used here, an in-text citation would normally be (Home et al. 2023+, letter 68.05.23, accessed 28 Feb 2023) with the reference list entry

Home R.W., Darragh T.A., Lucas A.M., Maroske S., Sinkora D.M., Voigt J.H. and Wells M. [eds] (2022+). Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria <>.

Note the use of 2023+ as the year of publication to indicate that the site is continually updated.

The letter pane displays the transcription. English translations appear with original text written in another language. Note that the letter display does not attempt to retain all spatial relationships. Some elements of typography have been preserved, e.g. the use of italics, bold type and small caps.

Letters may have notes attached. Reference numbers are in red. Click on the number to open a pop-up window with the text of the note; the window will stay open until the number is clicked again or the check box at the top left of the pop-up window is deselected. Long notes will appear in windows with scroll bars. Internal cross references in notes have the date in red, e.g. note 1 to letter number 82-01-06a has a cross reference ‘see M to J. Hooker, 25 January 1867.’ Clicking on the link opens that letter. It is easier to compare the letters if the cross reference is opened in a new tab or new window. Browser preferences may need to be adjusted. Citations to Mueller’s own publications are to item number in the list of his publications, for example B65.02.06. Details can be found by opening the Mueller’s publications file and then use the browser search to look for 65.02.06: note that the prefix B must be omitted in the search. Similarly, full details of citations to other works, in ‘Author (date)’ format, can be found in ‘Editor’s citations’ by opening it and using the browser to search for the surname and any initials that have been used to disambiguate multiple authors with the same surname, for example, to find works cited as A. Candolle (1867) search the file for ‘Candolle, A’.

The letter text may also contain taxon names in red. Clicking on the name opens a pop-up window with links to allow searching in APNI, VicFlora and also to find where else it is used in the edition. Names not found in these sources include extra-Australian species, (check IPNI), and non-vascular species. Choosing to search this website brings up a Search page showing the titles of the files with hits. Some fully constructed names and abbreviated names may not be highlighted, especially if the name includes a probable misspelling of an element of it, indicated by a note, but the link can be found by opening Plant names in the Document information. For example, in 81-10-12a the abbreviated text ‘Euc. Stuartiana’, the misspelled ‘Zaleia decandra’ and the standard form ‘P. spinescens’ are not highlighted but are in the list.

To close the window, click again on the red name in the letter text.


There is no close box within the pop-up as there is in other popups.


Scans of illustrations in letters are stored separately and are brought up via the related note. The pop-up contains the text of the note, with the image replacing the URL address of the link. Complex images may take some time to load. Scroll the pop-up window to check for text associated with the image.

Apparatus pages

The links Editors’ Citations and Mueller’s Publications open files needed to use the notes. Honours, Awards and Memberships lists the distinctions held by Mueller, ranging from Knighthoods to patronage of a cricket club, as well as his society and committee memberships. The Biographical Register is a work in progress, aiming to eventually identify as many persons mentioned in the correspondence as possible.

The introductions to each file describe its features.

Hyperlinks are provided in good faith. Neither the editors nor the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is responsible for the stability or persistence of the links provided. In a small number of cases, links have been provided to publicly available versions of publications placed by authors in depositories; such links are provided on the understanding that authors have deposited items within the copyright or contractual arrangements they have with their publishers. If evidence of inappropriate deposit is found, these links will be removed.

In some cases hyperlinks cited as the source of information used to construct a note are only available to members of subscribing institutions, e.g. to JSTOR Global Plants in letter 59-08-17; others will receive an error message.

These Apparatus files are not searchable using the search functions provided for the letters.

They can be readily searched using the search function of the browser used to open them; remember to drop the prefix B when searching Mueller’s publications.

The files are long and may take some time to open. Users will find it easier to keep open the two citation files in other tabs or windows in their browser to facilitate easy consultation.