Records of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club, 1889-2012
Reports, histories, photographs, color slides, etc., of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club, one of the oldest garden clubs in the United States.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Researchers must obtain the prior written permission of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club is retained by the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Photocopying of papers in the collection requires the prior written permission of the club. Reproduction of photographs requires the prior written permission of the photographer and whenever possible those photographed.
Extent15.1 linear feet ((35 file boxes, 1 card file box) plus 3 folio folders, 3 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 6 audiotapes, 1 videotape, and 1 motion picture.)
The records of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club consist of minutes, membership records, programs, correspondence, awards, clippings, memorabilia, etc., documenting the activities of the organization and its members including their civic planting and landscape designs, conservation activities, historic garden research, etc. Additional material received 1993-2012 (accession numbers 93-M72, 93-M135, 94-M17, 95-M114, 97-M112, 98-M174, 99-M162, 2002-M76, 2002-M102, 2002-M105, 2003-M139, 2007-M115, 2011-M181, 2012-M169, 2012-M182) was added to the collection in March 2015. Four audiotapes (2015-M119) were added to the collection in August 2015. These materials are housed in #206v-437t. Slides originally housed in carton 18 were sleeved and are now housed in #309, 316, and 162. One audiotape originally housed in carton 18 and previously undescribed can be found in the finding aid as #321t (T-513.1). Folders added in March 2015 are listed in intellectual, not sequential order. The records have been divided into four series:
Series I, ANNIVERSARIES, AWARDS, ETC., 1915-1995 (#1-28, 206v-212), consists of awards, photographs, programs, clippings, and other material documenting the celebrations of the club's anniversaries in 1939, 1949, 1959, 1964, and 1989; there are also research notes and photocopies of documents used in compiling the centennial history of the club, clippings about the club, and memorabilia.
Series II, RECORDS, 1889-2004 (#29v-110, 213-298o), consists of minutes, committee reports, financial accounts, a few texts of talks, membership correspondence, obituaries, clippings about members, etc. These materials document the programs and activities of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club and its predecessors, the Cambridge Plant Club (known briefly as the Floricultural Society) and the Cambridge Garden Club, from 1889 to the present. Programs consist of lectures on landscape history, flowering bulb workshops, luncheons, annual dinners, etc.
Series III, PROJECTS, 1909-2012 (#111-180+, 299-356, 434t-437t), consists of reports, correspondence, color slides, and photographs describing the many civic and social causes for which the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club has worked or given funds. In the 1940s and 1950s, after World War II, the club undertook to send seeds to Czechoslovakia and England, fund horticultural therapy in Veterans' Administration hospitals, clean up the Old Burying Ground, and replant Cambridge Common.
There are designs, blueprints, reports, and awards that illustrate the continuous work of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club since 1963 to reclaim, restore, and maintain many different sections of the Fresh Pond Reservation. There are also records of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club's assistance with planning and maintenance of Winthrop Square Park and its successful protest against development of a new garden and pump in Harvard Yard. There are designs, reports, and correspondence relating to historic garden restoration projects at Longfellow House and the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, and descriptions and some designs for members' gardens in Cambridge and elsewhere (see #180+). Also included are minutes, correspondence, etc., of a number of the club's committees, most notably the Conservation Committee, which focused on recycling, clean water, and the proper disposal of hazardous waste in the City of Cambridge. The concern of some members of the club over nuclear disarmament, is also seen in the activities of the Conservation Committee and in the newsletter, Conservation News and Action, edited by Dorothy LeMessurier, 1982-1989. Members of the club also served as members of the City of Cambridge's Committee on Public Planting which recommended landscape design and trees for planting in various parts of the city with some of the funding of these projects provided by the club's Tree Fund. Slides that were originally housed in carton 18 are now located in #309, 316, and 162.
Photographs, awards, correspondence, and designs demonstrate the frequent participation and success of the club in exhibitions at the New England Flower Shows, 1929-1965, and in The Garden Club of America's floral arrangement competitions.
Series IV, OTHER ASSOCIATIONS, 1929-2007 (#181-205m, 357-433), includes awards, publications, and programs of the Garden Club of America, and memorabilia, etc., of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
The Cambridge Plant Club, originally named the Floricultural Society, was founded in 1889 and was one of the earliest garden clubs formed in the United States. It was intended to be a club for women with an interest in the serious study of horticulture. In the early 1900s, the Plant Club's objectives began to go beyond the care and study of gardens and house plants, to participation in civic planting and landscaping projects in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and horticultural exhibitions. The Cambridge Garden Club (founded in 1938) followed the Cambridge Plant Club in these endeavors, including in joint projects. In 1966 the Cambridge Plant Club merged with the Cambridge Garden Club to form the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club. The merger of the two clubs further expanded and action on behalf of local and global environmental concerns.
The club was accepted for membership in The Garden Club of America in 1968 and is affiliated with the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. One of its past presidents was the landscape architect Lois Lilley Howe.
The club has received awards for its many urban beautification projects, including two awards from the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts (1952 and 1984), the Sears Roebuck award (1967), and the Founders Fund Award of The Garden Club of America (1980) for planting and restoration at Fresh Pond Reservation. The club's civic contributions were formally recognized by the City of Cambridge and the Massachusetts State Senate in 1989 on the occasion of the club's centennial.
Many individual club members and the club as a whole have won awards in the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Spring Flower Show and in The Garden Club of America flower arrangement competitions.
For further information on club history see the Timeline and Centennial history (#8).
The collection is arranged in four series:
- Series I. Anniversaries, awards, etc., 1915-1995 (#1-28, 206v-212)
- Series II. Records, 1889-2004 (#29v-110, 213-298o)
- Series III. Projects, 1909-2012 (#111-180+, 299-356, 434t-437t)
- Series IV. Other associations, 1929-2007 (#181-205m, 357-433)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 86-M62, 87-M26, 87-M157, 88-M11, 89-M90, 91-M210, 92-M159, 93-M7, 93-M12.
Accession numbers: 93-M72, 93-M135, 94-M17, 95-M114, 97-M112, 98-M174, 99-M162, 2002-M76, 2002-M102, 2002-M105, 2003-M139, 2007-M115, 2011-M181, 2012-M169, 2012-M182, 2015-M119 were added to the collection in March 2015. Accession number 2015-M119 was added to the collection in August 2015.
These records were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club between April 1986 and January 1993. Additional material was given to the Schlesinger Library by the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club between May 1993 and October 2012.
- Box 1: 1-3, 6-11, 13-15
- Box 2: 16-21v, 23-24, 26, 28
- Box 3: 29v-35
- Box 4: 36v-41
- Box 5: 42-48
- Box 6: 49-61
- Box 7: 62-73
- Box 8: 74-83, 85-86
- Box 9: 87-92
- Box 10: 93-100
- Box 11: 101-107, 109-110, 112-115, 117-119
- Box 12: 120, 123-127, 130-135
- Box 13: 136-138, 140-151
- Box 14: 153-159, 161, 163-164
- Box 15: 165-175, 177-178
- Box 16: 181-194
- Box 17: 198-203
- Box 18: 179m, 197m, 204m, 205m
- Box 19: 206v-208, 210-215
- Box 20: 216-223
- Box 21: 224-234
- Box 22: 235-242
- Box 23: 243-251
- Box 24: 252-259
- Box 25: 260-270
- Box 26: 271-274, 276-279, 281-283, 285
- Box 27: 286, 288-290, 292-295, 299-303
- Box 28: 305-308, 311, 313-314, 318-319, 322-324
- Box 29: 325, 327-337
- Box 30: 338, 340-343, 345, 347-354
- Box 31: 356-357, 360-369
- Box 32: 370-381
- Box 33: 382-394
- Box 34: 395-406, 408-411
- Box 35: 412-425
- Box 36: 426-433
Processed: December 1992
By: Jane S. Knowles
Updated: August 2015
By: Mark Vassar with assistance of Dan Bullman
- Antinuclear movement--United States
- Cambridge Common (Cambridge, Mass.)
- City planning--Massachusetts
- Civic improvement--Massachusetts
- Conservation of natural resources--Massachusetts--Citizen participation
- Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926
- Environmental protection--Massachusetts--Citizen participation
- Flower arrangement shows--Massachusetts
- Fresh Pond Reservation (Middlesex County, Mass.)
- Gardening--Massachusetts--Societies, etc.
- Hazardous wastes--Massachusetts
- Historic gardens--Massachusetts
- Horticultural exhibitions--Massachusetts
- Land use--Massachusetts--Planning--Citizen participation
- Landscape architects
- Women gardeners--Massachusetts
- Cambridge Plant and Garden Club. Records of the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club, 1889-2012: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.
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