In the 1960s a group of volunteers from the Washington Park Arboretum Foundation began a collection of pressed plant specimens that later became the foundation of the Hyde Herbarium. Vera Frasier, a primary advocate for the establishment of a herbarium, led this core group of volunteers (with a few changes over the years) which still meets four times a month to mount and process specimens at the Hyde Herbarium. Without these volunteers’ involvement and dedication, a herbarium for the UW Botanic Gardens would not be here today.
In 1983 Charles H. and Otis Douglas Hyde made a gift for a true herbarium. The Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium opened in 1985 at the new Center for Urban Horticulture. Simultaneously, Dr. Clement Hamilton was hired to lead the herbarium and direct students in taxonomic research. He set out to make the Hyde Herbarium one of the premiere horticultural herbaria in the country. When he left in 1999, Dr. Sarah Reichard, a former graduate student who worked to develop the herbarium in its early years, assumed responsibility as Curator.