Horticulture and Gardening

Garden in Old Barn Walls

Garden in Old Barn Walls

Anne Wertsner Wood slide collection, 1940-1983 (bulk 1940-1960) (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  Anne Wertsner Wood (1907-2004) was a horticulturist, writer and lecturer from the Philadelphia area. She was an active leader in the gardening community at the local, national, and international levels. She is recognized for her participation in numerous flower shows, garden creations, outreach activities, writings and lectures. This collection contains slides compiled and used by Anne Wertsner Wood. There are two boxes of color photographic slides that date from 1940 to 1983, with the bulk of slides dating from 1940 to 1960. The slides document Wertsner’s travels to various local and international gardens, her involvement with the Philadelphia Flower Show, and her involvement in community activities.
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Landscape design colors

Landscape design colors

Armistead Browning, Jr. papers, 1956-1987 (University of Delaware): Born in 1938, Armistead Willis Browning, Jr., was a landscape architect, environmentalist and teacher who dedicated his life to environmental preservation and education. Browning was the founder of Turtle Creek Designs, a landscape design consulting firm in Pocopson, Pennsylvania. The firm did residential work and large-scale environmental studies. Browning worked extensively with the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford and Pocopson Township, producing landmark studies of the scenic, historical, and natural features of the Brandywine Valley Region. From 1977 until his death in 1987, Browning taught courses in landscape design and native plant horticulture at the University of Delaware, and was a member of the faculty of Longwood Gardens. His weekly column, “Notes from Turtle Creek,” appeared in The Kennett Paper. He was also an accomplished and prolific photographer of the landscape and the natural world. The Armistead Browning, Jr. papers contain the professional, teaching, and business records of a notable landscape architect and environmentalist, created over a period of twenty years. The papers chronicle Browning’s experience at three architectural firms, two main centers of education, and with numerous independent projects, symposia, and workshops. The collection provides a unique look into the activities of a prolific architect, providing insight into planning processes, design, and documentation. In addition, it reveals subjects of personal interest that greatly impacted Browning’s professional life.
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Breeding roses at Conard-Pyle Company

Breeding roses at Conard-Pyle Company

Conard-Pyle Company records (University of Delaware):  The Conard-Pyle Company of West Grove, Pennsylvania is “one of the nation’s premier horticultural enterprises” (Thomas, p. 1).  Conard-Pyle was the “first nursery to advertise extensively in magazines and launch a mail-order campaign” (Quillman, p. 42).  In fact, “Conard-Pyle has a century of firsts.  It was one of the first on the east coast to become a container production nursery.  It introduced the first climbing rose (Mme. Gregoire Staechelin –1928) to win “The Gold Medal of Bagatelle” award in Paris.  It also introduced the first rose suited to both garden and greenhouse (Sonia) and the first roses (Sunblaze) to fit between the traditional floribundas and the true miniature roses” (Conard-Pyle, p. 7).  Conard-Pyle is best known for its famed Star Roses, most notably the world-famous Peace Rose.  The Peace Rose was “provided to delegates from around the world as they met in San Francisco on April 25, 1945, to form the United Nations” (Thomas p.1).  The Conard-Pyle Company records contain material relating to the business activities of an influential and successful nursery company, created over a period of just over one hundred years. The papers chronicle Conard-Pyle’s evolution from a small-scale retail business to an influential wholesaler, as well as the financial, legal, and marketing concerns of a major nursery company. The collection provides a unique look at the activities of a large-scale nursery company, providing insight into the processes of plant breeding, patenting, marketing and sales. In addition, the collection serves as a window to the nursery industry as a whole, due to significant correspondence with other nurseries and material relating to professional organizations and societies within the nursery community.
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Garden Club of Philadelphia Members’ gardens lantern slide collection, 1930 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Garden Club of America was established in 1913 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when the Garden Club of Philadelphia and eleven other garden clubs met to create a national garden club. Its purpose is to foster the knowledge and love of gardening and to restore and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and gardening and conservation efforts. This collection consists of 205 glass lantern slides, donated by the Garden Club of America, of Philadelphia area gardens and homes, including Andalusia, Stenton, Highlands, and Ludington. The collection also contains several portraits of notable Philadelphians and horticulturists and landscape plans. Included are 35mm slide reproductions of many of the lantern slides. The lantern slides date from the year 1930.
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John Wister lantern slide collection, 1930-1940 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  John Casper Wister (1887-1982) devoted his life’s work to horticulture. He was a noted author, editor, speaker, organizer, hybridizer, designer, planter and all around flower lover. Wister was closely affiliated with numerous horticultural organizations including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the American Rose Society, the John Bartram Association, the American Daffodil Society and the American Iris Society. He also served as director of Swarthmore College’s Arthur Hoytt Scott Horticultural Foundation and the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania. This collection contains lantern slides dating from 1930 to 1940 and consists of 220 slides in total. The first series consists of 109 slides of different gardeners from the Philadelphia area. The second series consists of 111 slides and depicts different flowers and gardens from around Philadelphia, the surrounding areas and Europe. This is a very rich collection that researchers interested in Philadelphia gardens or 1930s gardens and horticulture would wish to consult. It is a visually compelling collection, useful for exhibits, publications and online productions.
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From the Nursery catalogs

From the Nursery catalogs

Joseph W. Thomas and Sons Nursery records, 1884-1990 (Chester County Historical Society):  The Joseph W. Thomas and Sons Nursery in Chester County was one of the oldest and longest running horticultural enterprises in the state of Pennsylvania. It operated from 1853 to 1990, and was owned by three successive generations of Thomas’. The Thomas nursery actually began in 1828 as a small farm and orchard called “Maple Farm,” which was owned by Charles and Ruth Thomas. It was their son, Joseph Williams Thomas, who formally established the nursery on a small portion of the farm around 1853. He named his burgeoning business, Chester Valley Nursery. Later, he changed the company’s name to Joseph W. Thomas and Company. Around 1888, Joseph’s sons, Edwin and Charles Lincoln, joined him in business and the name of the firm was changed once more to Joseph W. Thomas and Sons, reflecting the new partnership. The Joseph W. Thomas and Sons Nursery records contains documents created by that business from 1884 to 1993. Researchers will find financial records; general business records, especially plant order books; and a small collection of horticultural publications. There is also a very small portion of general records that relate to the nursery or nursery profession but were not created by the business such as, articles relating to the history of the nursery, a completed nursery order form from 1896, nursery stationary and printed ephemera, records of hours worked, and two grange booklets. The bulk of the collection is made up of business records, and in particular client orders.
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Minute books and ledgers

Minute books and ledgers

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society minute books, 1827-2001 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was founded on November 24, 1827 by fifty-three prominent Philadelphians; among them Horace Binney, David Landreth Jr., William Davidson, George Pepper, Nicolas Biddle and Moses Brown. Emulating similar societies existing in England at the time, the men formed their Society to promote “a highly instructive and interesting science for the purpose of improving the growth of vegetables, plants, trees, fruits and flowers.” Since that time, the Society and its membership has fostered “…an appreciation of plants, acquiring scientific knowledge about them, disseminating horticultural information, and involving the public in gardening and beautifying the City of Philadelphia.” More recently, the Society has worked specifically to beautify the city and help realize William Penn’s founding vision for Philadelphia to be a “greene countrie towne.” This is a collection of meeting minutes of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The collection contains twenty-seven volumes of recorded meeting minutes that date from 1827 to 2001. The minutes document the business activities and projects undertaken by the Society. The volumes include reports from standing and special committees, department and project reports, and lists of premiums and awards. In addition to reports from committees, the minute books contain some announcements of events, correspondence, and a list of awards.
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Classes with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Classes with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Public Relations and Marketing Department image collection, 1958-2005 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was America’s first horticultural society, formed in 1827 as a not-for-profit membership organization. Since its founding, PHS has hosted wide-ranging activities in the name of promoting horticulture and to beautify Philadelphia, with a goal to realize William Penn’s founding vision for the city to be a “greene countrie towne.” The Public Relations and Marketing Department promotes the activities supported by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. This collection includes slides dating from 1958 to 2005 that document the operation of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Harvest Show, the Junior Flower Show, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and Philadelphia Green.
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Plans for bulbs in the 18th Century Garden

Plans for bulbs in the 18th Century Garden

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society records, 1791-2006 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was founded on November 24, 1827 by fifty-three prominent Philadelphians; among them Horace Binney, David Landreth Jr., William Davidson, George Pepper, Nicolas Biddle and Moses Brown. Emulating similar societies existing in England at the time, the men formed their Society to promote “a highly instructive and interesting science for the purpose of improving the growth of vegetables, plants, trees, fruits and flowers.” Since that time, the Society and its membership has fostered “…an appreciation of plants, acquiring scientific knowledge about them, disseminating horticultural information, and involving the public in gardening and beautifying the City of Philadelphia.” More recently, the Society has worked specifically to beautify the city and help realize William Penn’s founding vision for Philadelphia to be a “greene countrie towne.” This is a collection of administrative records from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The collection contains minutes, correspondence, photographs, reports, slides, pamphlets, financial records, publications, scrapbooks, awards, printing blocks, and medals. The records date from 1791 to 2006 and cover topics such as community-based programs and events, including Philadelphia Green and 10,000 Trees. The records include individuals such as Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President Ernesta D. Ballard and PHS events such as the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Chrysanthemum Show.
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Philadelphia Flower Show minutes books and financial records, 1927-1996, 2004 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Philadelphia Flower Show’s history extends back to 1829, when the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) hosted its first public horticultural exhibition in Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street, called the “Spring Flower Show.” Three years later, in 1832, PHS hosted the first fall “Harvest Show.” The Harvest Show (at times called the “Autumnal Exhibit”) immediately became an annual event. In addition, from time to time, PHS hosted or participated in daffodil, rose, peony and other flower shows. The exhibitions were both large and small, and at times competitive. The Spring Flower Show, which was initially held intermittently, was an annual event by 1871. This is a collection of minute books and finance books of the Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc., from its inception in 1927 to 1996. The collection includes the charter and bylaws of the organization; minutes of monthly, annual and special meetings; correspondence; a small number of legal documents; investments and income reports; receipts and expenditures; and auditor’s reports.
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Flower Show!

Flower Show!

Philadelphia Flower Show slide and photograph collection, 1928-2009 (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society):  The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition and, as of 2010, encompasses thirty-three acres and draws over 250,000 visitors annually. The Philadelphia Flower Show was first held in 1829. From 1927 until the mid 1960s, management of the Flower Show was under the auspices of the Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc., a professional group of nurserymen and growers. In 1964, Philadelphia Flower Show, Inc. decided to halt production of the show for two years because of difficulties locating an exhibition space. Under the direction of Ernesta D. Ballard, who felt that yearly continuation of the show was necessary, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society hosted the show in the 23rd Street Armory. In 1966, the show moved to the Civic Center, and in 1968, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society became the show’s official producer. In 1996, the Flower Show moved to its current location in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This is a collection of photographs, slides, contact sheets, and negatives from the Philadelphia Flower Show, from 1927 to 2009. Photographs include general views of the exhibition and its attendees, displays of major exhibitors, first through third place winners for each judging category in the competitive classes, opening ceremonies, and awards presentations. The images represent changes in floral design composition for over eight decades and they display the growth and changes of the Philadelphia Flower Show. The photographs also represent the works of many prominent Philadelphia photographers.
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