Although his training was in surgery and medicine, Archibald Menzies' great love was botany. He served as naturalist and ship's surgeon with the Vancouver
expedition from 1791 to 1795. As a result of the Nootka Sound Convention of 1790, Captain Vancouver had been ordered to take possession of Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound from the Spanish. In addition, he was to search for the legendary Northwest Passage. As part of his assignment, Menzies collected seeds and botanical specimens, faithfully recording the wonders he observed during the expedition. His daily record of the people encountered, descriptions of the fauna and flora, and accounts of the activities of the survey parties provide important insights into coastal Alaska of 200 years ago.