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Scope and Contents

This collection contains records of the Arnold Arboretum Centennial celebration between 1970-1973. These records were solicited and assembled as an archival collection in 1973 by Sheila Connor, the Arboretum research archivist. Subsequent additions were made and further preservation work completed in April of 2000. There are 5 boxes of memoranda and notes between Arboretum staff members and individuals from other organizations involved with Centennial activities. Also included are meeting minutes of the Centennial Committee, Centennial-related publications, photographs of events and attendees, pamphlets, logo material, and the Centennial film text.

There is a series of 12 boxed albums. Six of the boxes contain albums with acknowledgement letters relating to the "reverse birthday gifts." There are 2 boxes containing albums of news clippings about the Centennial Celebration and 2 boxed albums of black and white photographs from Centennial events, the bulk of which were taken by Pete J. Chvany. Finally, there are 2 boxes containing albums with the reservation forms of those who participated in Centennial Celebration events.

Note: Centennial records are also located in the archival collections of Dr. Richard A. Howard (ARCHIVES IB-RAH, HOLLIS# BMZ8231) and Stephanne (Silvia Barry) Sutton (ARCHIVES II A-5, HOLLIS# BMZ8235). The Centennial Lectures by William T. Stearn ‥ et al. are in the following issues of Arnoldia: v.32, no.5; v.33, no.1; v.33, no.2 1972-1973.


  • 1970-1973

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.

Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.


3 linear feet (17 boxes)

Historical Sketch

The planning for the Arnold Arboretum Centennial celebration began in 1967 when Dr. Richard A. Howard, Arboretum Director from 1954-1978, appointed committees of supporters and Visiting Committee members to organize and prepare for the upcoming event. Documenting the early history of the Arboretum was considered a priority. Dr. Howard appointed staff assistant Stephanne B. Sutton to write a biography of Charles Sprague Sargent, which was published in 1970. As a part of a public celebration of the Arnold Arboretum's history, several new publications were produced. These publications included: Through the Arnold Arboretum (a photographic guide); The Arnold Arboretum: The First Century (a short history); and The Arnold Arboretum (a documentary film that premired during the celebration).

The week-long celebration (May 21-28, 1972) opened with a banquet in a downtown Boston hotel that featured an address by William T. Stearn, a world reknowned taxonomist from the British Museum of Natural History. Events included a daylong symposium on the "Potential of Arboreta and Botanical Gardens” during which twelve papers were presented by Arboretum staff and by scientists from other institutions. Three public lectures included the larger community. Horticultural and botanical tours as well as research opportunities were offered. Other events included a picnic at the Case, a Boston Pops Concert Dinner, and the Houghton Library Exhibit. The Arnold Arboretum also offered "reverse birthday gifts" as a part of the celebration. Young katsura trees were distributed to every member of the Friends of the Arboretum. Select colleges, universities, arboreta, and botanical institutions were offered their choice of a planting of "educational value" and "horticultural interest." New England garden clubs were given large trees or shrubs for public plantings.

The Arnold Arboretum's Centennial Celebration was followed in local and regional New England newspapers. Participants came from twenty-seven states, ten countries, sixty-nine institutions, and forty-six organizations. Key individuals who were involved in planning or participatory aspects of the celebration include Dr. Richard A. Howard, Harmony (Happy) Clement, Centennial Coordinator, and George Putnam, Chairman and Member, Board of Overseers of the Visiting Committee. Centennial Committee members include Governor Francis W. Sargent, Honorable General Chairman, and Rear Admiral Harry Hull, United States Navy (ret.), Executive Chairman. Frequently mentioned Arboretum Committee Chairmen and staff include Mrs. Norman C. (LaVerne) Collard, Mrs. G. Kennard Wakefield, Henry B. Hosmer, Mrs. John Solty, Gordon P. DeWolf, Jr., Alfred J. Fordham, and Leslie J. Spraker.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Sheila Connor, the Arboretum Horticultural Research Archivist, solicited and assembled these Centennial records as an archival collection in 1973. Subsequent work was performed on the collection by Arboretum staff in April 2000.

The HOLLIS # for this collection is 000603217 and the file name is ajp00031.

Processing Information

Processed by: Lori Kabelac

December 2000

Revised July 2003, by Jessica M. Parr

Arnold Arboretum. Records of the 1972 Arnold Arboretum Centennial, 1970-1973: A Finding Aid.
Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Arnold Arboretum Archives Repository

The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a specialized collection devoted to the study of temperate woody plants. We collect works on botany, horticulture, floras, urban forestry and taxonomy. The library contains more than 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs, and includes an archive that both documents the Arboretum's history and is a repository for 19th, 20th, and 21st century horticultural and botanical collections.

125 Arborway
Jamaica Plain MA 02130 USA