Held at: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society [Contact Us]McLean Library, 100 N. 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
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.
Anne was a graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women (now the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture of Temple University Ambler) and she also studied at Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University. After graduating from the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture, she helped create Richard Houghton’s famous rock garden in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She later headed the floriculture department at the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women; she was in charge of the gardens and greenhouses and also taught horticultural subjects for six years in the 1930s. In 1949, she married a widower with two children, Harry Wood, who was horticulturist and grounds superintendent at Swarthmore College. They lived together in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Anne Wertsner Wood brought her education and experience to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the Philadelphia Flower Show. Anne spent sixteen years at the Society as a field secretary, advising neighborhood gardeners on garden maintenance and planning. She was responsible for staging the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s flower shows and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society‘s displays in the Philadelphia Flower Show. She also served as a judge at various flower shows. She wrote of her experience with flower shows in her book “The Flower Show Guide,“ which covered staging, exhibiting and judging.
Anne travelled both nationally and internationally, bringing her knowledge of horticulture with her when she travelled. In 1957 and 1959 she led Garden Tours to Europe for the Montclair Travel Bureau of Montclair, New Jersey. From 1958 to 1988 she conducted garden tours while travelling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and lectured on gardening and flower arranging.
Anne was an avid writer on gardening. Aside from her book “The Flower Show Guide,” Anne also wrote numerous articles on gardening for magazines and newspapers such as The Home Garden, Ladies’ Home Journal and Popular Gardening. She also wrote on the subject of Christmas, especially decorating for the holiday. She published the book “Make Your Own Merry Christmas (1946),” which provided instructions for making handmade Christmas decorations.
After her husband, Harry Wood, passed away in 1971, Anne moved from their Swarthmore home to Lima Estates in Lima, Pennsylvania. She lived the rest of her life there, where she continued with her gardening by planting a tree outside her apartment. She died in 2004.
During her lifetime, Anne made great contributions to gardening and horticulture and also received awards and recognition from numerous groups and organizations, including the Men’s Garden Club of New York, the International Horticultural Exhibition, the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, and the Garden Club of America.
This collection houses slides compiled and used by Anne Wertsner Wood of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. There are two boxes of color 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 such as Victory Garden planting and the groundbreaking of the Azalea Garden in Philadelphia. The slides also document her horticulture lectures and many various plants species.
The slides are arranged in alphabetical order according to subject; most of the individual slides have handwritten titles and dates included on their frames (probably written by Wertsner). General subjects include flower shows, gardens, individual plants, lecture materials, people and places.
Earlier slides within this collection contain subjects reflecting Wertsner’s involvement with horticulture lectures, Christmas decorations, garden planning, and travels to and tours of gardens in the Philadelphia area, other parts of the United States and Europe. Many of the gardens featured in the earlier slides include those of prominent Philadelphia figures, including Judge and Mrs. Owen J. Roberts, the DuPonts at the Longwood Estate, Dr. George Woodward of Chestnut Hill, and Joseph A. Widener of Elkins Park. Slides from later years focus on advocacy and community outreach, and were likely used in her lectures. Images depict various plant species, people involved in the gardening community, and garden and plant related travels.
The slides in this collection would be especially useful for studies of horticultural societies, local history, and grassroots involvement of individuals in the gardening community.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
- Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
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- Finding aid prepared by Megan Atkinson and Christiana Dobrzynski Grippe
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- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
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This collection is open for research use.
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Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.