The Reed Bryophyte Herbarium owes its existence to the efforts of Gary Smith Merrill, a staff member at KSU in the early 1990s. The Reed Herbarium was dedicated in 1991, and named in honor of Mary "Minnie" Reed, author of the first published flora of the mosses of Kansas.
In 1886 she was one of the first women scientists to graduate from KSU. Reed collected and classified about 165 species of Kansas mosses. While at KSU, Merrill collected extensively, adding a large number of specimens. The collection now contains over 10,000 mosses, liverworts, and lichens.