Guide to Archives of American Gardens Collections & Records

The core of the Archives is a collection of nearly 3,500 hand-colored glass lantern slides dating from the 1920s and 1930s along with approximately 37,000 35mm slides of gardens that date from colonial times to the present. The gardens documented in this extensive collection illustrate the design work of dozens of landscape architects including Marian Coffin, Beatrix Farrand, Lawrence Halprin, Hare & Hare, Umberto Innocenti, Gertrude Jekyll, Jens Jensen, Warren Manning, the Olmsted Brothers, Charles Platt, Ellen Biddle Shipman, and Fletcher Steele. The collection was donated to the Smithsonian in 1992 by the Garden Club of America (GCA). This organization helps support the AAG with ongoing research and development activities. Through its national network, GCA members continue to expand the collection by photographing and documenting contemporary gardens.

Other collections in the Archives include photographs, plans, and files documenting the work of landscape architects Thomas Warren Sears, Perry Wheeler, and Robert M. Fletcher; author, publisher, and horticulturist Dr. J. Horace McFarland; the Lewis and Valentine Nursery of Long Island, New York; Katharine Lane Weems's Massachusetts estate, "The Chimneys"; historic postcard views collected by Richard Marchand; and the Smithsonian Gardens own gardens, artifacts and activities.


Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection, ca. 1960-1994.

Negatives, 4x5 negatives, contact sheets, photographs, transparencies, 35mm slides; select newspaper and magazine clippings. Garden images dating from the 1960s through the early 1990s taken by professional freelance photographer and GCA member Molly Adams of New Jersey. Although most images are of private gardens in New Jersey, the collection also includes gardens in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. A significant number of images document the work of landscape designers Nelva M. Weber, Alice Recknagel Ireys, and Friede Stege. Roughly 50 gardens are unidentified as to their location.

Archives of American Gardens Biographical Information Vertical File.

3 file drawers. The Archives of American Gardens biographical information vertical file contains biographical material on a number of landscape architects, garden designers and horticulturists.

American Gardens Collection, ca. 1920s-.

35mm slides and photographs. The slides, photographs and files in this collection come from various private donors. Individual sub-units typically depict a single garden and include a small number of images.

American-Moninger Greenhouse Manufacturing Corporation Architectural Drawings Collection, ca. 1935-1959.

Approximately 125 plans and drawings. Arranged by AAG garden number which is based on geographic location. Scope: Plans by a Brooklyn, New York firm for approximately two dozen greenhouses located from Massachusetts to Mississippi and New Mexico.


Pierre T. Beauregard III Slide Collection, ca. 1947-1971, bulk 1950s-1960s.

1,249 35mm slides of gardens (many foreign) dated 1947-1971.
Arranged by geographic location. Scope: Views of various gardens and castles in Holland, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland, Norway, and Denmark, as well as American gardens photographed by the donor’s mother, Mildred Napier Beauregard. Some skylines portray tourist images, such as skylines, rock features, waterways, boats and ships, and unidentified individuals. The collection also includes two slide viewers.

Bedman Brothers Records, ca. 1859-1964.

Select office records and horticultural artifacts of the firm of Bedman Brothers of Rahway, New Jersey (1843-1962) which developed and sold flower seeds. The firm was particularly well known for its salvia varieties. Also included are personal remembrances of the firm by the great-granddaughter of the original owner. Holdings include World War II ration stamps and two scrapbooks, one of which contains mainly late nineteenth and early twentieth century chromo-lithographed trade cards (primarily from the sewing, clothing, and floral industries). The other scrapbook contains news clippings from the Civil War period. Some seed gathering equipment used by field workers rounds out the collection.

W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records, 1873-1978 (bulk, 1890-1930).

12,715 items (155 l.f.): including accounting records, seed trial records, seed contracts, sales records, contracts, inventories, office correspondence, contest letters, seed catalogs, pamphlets, advertisements and advertising reports, daybooks, and photographs. Documents and publications relating to the mail-order seed and livestock business of W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Seed trial records and order and accounting records lend insight into the workings of the firm. Of note are records that show the significance of advertising to the company. Included are various publications of some of Burpee’s competitors. The collection is not comprehensive; it is a compilation of various records and publications and includes significant gaps.


"The Chimneys" Collection, 1903-1985.

66 plans and drawings; photographs, 35mm slide copies of glass plate negatives; 1 photograph album; job files; 3 medals. This collection documents “The Chimneys,” [MA016] the Manchester, Massachusetts estate of Gardiner Martin Lane and later Katherine Lane Weems, a sculptor of animal figures. Included are records from the architect, Raleigh C. Gildersleeve, the original landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers firm, and various contractors and suppliers. News clippings, planting lists, nursery and seed catalogs, and reports on the progress of work over the course of several decades document the evolution of this landscape.

Susan Crowder Slide Collection

40 35mm slides documenting the sculptural work of artist Susan Crowder.


Malcolm Howard Dill Slide Collection, 1929-1931.

17 35mm slides images of private and community designs in Ohio and Indiana by the landscape architect, Malcolm Howard Dill. Dill was in private practice and later went on to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Norris Dam project in Tennessee in the 1930s.

Ken Druse Garden Photography Collection, 1978-2005.

Approximately 45,000 film transparency and 35mm slide images, dating from 1978 to 2005, of gardens, garden features, and flora photographed by garden writer and photographer Ken Druse. The photographic images document numerous private and public gardens throughout the United States and a few in Canada. Many have appeared in Druse’s own books and articles as well as those by other writers. Approximately half of the collection is arranged according to specific garden, the other half by garden feature. A small portion of the collection consists of slide lectures given by Druse. Some images are identified with general captions and dates. Images documenting specific gardens are sometimes accompanied by handwritten notes, garden descriptions, and articles. Annotations appearing on certain images indicate the publication in which they appeared. The collection includes ‘outtakes’ or bracketed images that give insight into Druse’s photo shooting process.


Corliss Knapp Engle Slide Collection, 1969-2001.

35mm slides of gardens, garden features, flower shows, and flora photographed by Corliss Engle, a self-taught photographer and horticulturalist. Much of the collection is comprised of photographic documentation of numerous private and public gardens that she visited throughout the United States. Of particular note are images of Engle's own garden in Brookline, Massachusetts, spanning three decades; they provide excellent insight into the development and evolution of a garden over time. Portions of the collection highlight Engle's involvement with the Garden Club of America and the GCA's Garden History and Design Committee. The collection also includes various notes, lecture scripts, brochures, programs and articles on garden and plant-related themes generated or compiled by Corliss Knapp Engle.


Rudy J. Favretti Collection, circa 1950-2010.

The collection contains the project design records of Rudy J. Favretti. Favretti, a landscape architect and professor noted for his extensive work in historical restoration of landscaped gardens, parks, homes, and more. He donated his collection of garden design files, plans, and images to the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens in March 2011.

Robert M. Fletcher Slide Collection, ca. 1979-1995.

268 35mm slide images of a sampling of private gardens in California designed by landscape architect Robert M. Fletcher. He worked on a number of private, public, and commercial projects in California; his practice was based in southern California.

Florentine Craftsman Records, 1921-1976.

Various trade catalogs and articles produced or collected by the Florentine Craftsmen firm located in New York. Most deal with iron work fixtures, railings, and furniture.

John M. Fogg Photographic Slides, 1955-1967.

183 35mm slides of images that Dr. John M. Fogg took of a variety of arboreta, botanic gardens, plant nurseries, and other assorted gardens throughout the United States and Canada between 1955 and 1967.


Garden Club of America Collection, ca. 1920 -.

3,000 glass lantern slides; 39,000 35mm slides; files on nearly 5,000 gardens, plans and drawings. This collection of images documents a range of designed parks and upper and upper-middle class gardens throughout the U.S. Also included are some European, Asian, and Mexican gardens from the 1920s and 1930s. The informational value of this collection is extensive since a number of images show gardens that have changed over time or no longer exist. Vertical files have been generated for each of the gardens in this collection. These files may include historical information, related articles, planting lists, additional graphics, etc. Some gardens have images that range over several decades; others only have images from a single point in time.

A significant number of the slide images were copied by the GCA from a number of publications as well as from private and public repositories including the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (including the Gertrude Wister Collection), and the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection in the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division. This collection also includes a number of intact GCA slide shows with their accompanying scripts that were created by various GCA clubs.

Plans and drawings in this collection date from 1914-1928 and include work by landscape architects Paul Mueller and Robert Wheelwright (1884-1965) and Hitchings and Company, Greenhouse Manufacturers. Jobs are located in Mississippi, Washington, DC, Texas, and Maine (specifically the “Spite House” in Rockport, ME.) More Information


Gottlieb Hampfler Photograph Collection, 1939- ca. 1990.

63 35mm slides; negatives; 14 photographs.Copies of images taken by horticultural and garden photographer, Gottlieb Hampfler, who was the staff photographer of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania from 1955-1975. Includes images from gardens in the Brandywine Valley and Rye, New York.

John Hiller Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1920s-1930s.

216 glass lantern slides of gardens in Europe and the United States dated 1920s and 1930s including homes and gardens, house interiors, domestic and foreign travel, flower arrangements, and people.

Horticultural Subjects Vertical File.
12 file drawers. The Horticultural Subject Vertical File contains materials related to garden history, landscape architecture, garden furniture and design, gardening practices and design, horticulture, conservation, plant folklore and other related topics.

Historic Gardens Postcard Collection, ca. 1905-1947.

Approximately 200 postcards of various public gardens, parks, monuments, and buildings throughout the United States and some foreign countries, including Canada, France and Cuba. Some private gardens and estates and many Washington, DC attractions are also represented.

Historic Stereograph Collection, ca. 1890's-1900s.

807 stereoptic views of various public gardens, parks, and tourist attractions throughout the U. S. showing features related to horticulture and landscape design including plants, garden furniture, and topiaries. Most, but not all views, show exterior features.

Hollerith Family Slide Collection, 1952-1998.

1,682 35mm slides, dating from 1952 to 1980, documenting the Hollerith sisters’ travels and horticultural interests. Images are predominantly of gardens, parks and historic buildings. The slides also document the activities of the Georgetown Garden Club, floral arrangements, and the Hollerith sisters’ travels in the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast regions of the United States.


Frederick H. Leubuscher Collection, 1932-1940.

106 duplicate 35mm slides of examples of Leubuscher’s landscape architecture design work in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and other locations. More Information

Lewis and Valentine Collection, 1918-1970.

336 black and white photographs; brochures, trade catalogs, company papers, client correspondence, and books. Company records of the Lewis and Valentine Nursery of Long Island, New York, one of the most prominent landscape contracting companies in the eastern United States during the heyday of large country estates from 1914-1931. This firm specialized in the moving and relocation of large trees on private estates. Articles and records relate to jobs the firm worked on, including those for prosperous clients like F. W. Woolworth, Otto H. Kahn, Walter P. Chrysler, and Hugh D. Auchincloss.


Richard Marchand Historical Postcard Collection, ca. 1900s-1970s.

Approximately 1,100 35mm slides of historic postcards showing architectural and garden views throughout the United States. Many images predated color photography and were hand-colored. The collection includes views of public and private properties as well as estates of some popular movie stars that attracted tourists. More Information

Captain A. H. McComb, Jr. Collection, ca. 1950s.

Approximately 200 35 mm slides donated by Capt. A. H. McComb, Jr. (U.S.C.G., Ret.) of Washington, DC showing sites in DC, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Tobago, Panama, St. Croix, Bermuda, England, Germany, Paris, and Copenhagen. The images chiefly consist of various plants and flowers, in addition to some views and landscapes. More Information

J. Horace McFarland Company Collection, ca. 1900-1962.

447 glass lantern slides; 3,145 black and white photographs; 3 l.f. of plant patents; plant cards; 1 l.f. miscellaneous pamphlets and publications. Images used as illustrations in seed and nursery trade catalogs put out by the Mount Pleasant Press, later the J. Horace McFarland Company, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Founder Dr. J. Horace McFarland was a well-known author, publisher, horticulturist, and authority on roses. His printing company published many of the seed and nursery catalogs in the United States from the early 1900s until the 1950s. It was one of the first to apply color processes to commercial print applications. McFarland wrote over 200 articles in popular journals as well as a dozen books on roses and gardening. Numerous images from his company’s photographic archives appeared in these publications.


Star Ockenga Collection, 1995-2001.

Materials generated or compiled by Ockenga for the writing of her books, 'Earth on Her Hands: The American Woman in Her Garden' and 'Eden on Their Minds: American Gardeners with Bold Visions.' Both books feature several individual chapters, each describing a garden owner and their garden.


Lois Poinier Collection, ca. 1950s-1993.

1,089 35mm slides, 35mm glass slides. Before and after images of almost 100 gardens designed by landscape designer and GCA member Lois Poinier of New Jersey. Most gardens are located in New Jersey, but there are some in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Includes some gardens designed by Mrs. Poinier’s mother, Helen Page Wodell, and aunt, Lois Page Cottrell, who practiced under the firm name of Wodell & Cottrell. The collection is particularly helpful as it shows the evolution of gardens under construction.

William Lyman Phillips Photograph Collection, ca. 1920s-1940s.

30 glass plate negatives; 2 glass plate slide images of a sampling of jobs designed by landscape architect, William Lyman Phillips, who pioneered the use of tropical plants in the second quarter of the twentieth century. Phillips started his professional work in the Olmsted Brothers office and later established his own practice where his specialty was designing private and public gardens in Florida.


Roche Collection, ca. 1954-1970.

60 photographs; 31 transparencies taken by professional photographers John and Mary Alice Roche, primarily of private gardens in Maine, Missouri, and New Jersey.

Donald M. Roehrs Collection, ca. 1940s-1970.

23 35mm slides images of landscape architect Donald Roehrs’ design work featured in various annual New York, Philadelphia, and International Flower Shows.


Mable Cabot Sedwick Glass Negative Collection, 1900-1907.

Approximately 120 glass negatives of images used in Sedgwick's book, The Garden Month by Month, published by the F.A. Stokes Company in New York, 1907. The book, which describes the appearance, color, cultivation and blooming dates for various plants, contains half-tone engravings taken from these photographs of growing plants.

Thomas Warren Sears Photograph Collection, 1900-1966.

4,564 glass negatives; 119 glass lantern slides; 27 plans and drawings; 12 photograph albums.
Arranged by AAG and SRS garden numbers which are based on geographic location.
Scope: Photographic images taken by landscape architect Thomas W. Sears who practiced in Providence, Rhode Island and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1906-1964. Images document Sears’ civic, public, and estate projects, most of which were located in the mid-Atlantic region, as well as international sites and gardens that he visited and individual plant specimens. Sears is also noted for his photographs that were published in the book, Parish Churches of England, in 1915. Plans in this collection are dated 1955-1962 and relate to a handful of projects in Pennsylvania. More Information

Jeanne Shojaat Print Collection, undated.

8 prints depicting various gardens and outdoor spaces in France and Florida.

Mary Riley Smith Records, 1986-2013.

The Mary Riley Smith Records document the decades-long career of Manhattan-based garden designer, writer, and lecturer Mary Riley Smith. It includes drawings, plans, planting lists, notes, correspondence, invoices, estimates, 35 mm slides, negatives, photographs, digital files on CDs, and other materials relating to many of Smith’s garden design projects, dating from 1986-2013.

Smithsonian Gardens Clippings File.

2 file drawers. The Smithsonian Gardens clippings file contains print publications related to the various gardens maintained by the Smithsonian Gardens, outreach and publicity, exhibitions, the Smithsonian's orchid collection, the Archives of American Gardens, and other topics.

Smithsonian Gardens Image Library

The photographic records in the Smithsonian Gardens Image Library document the gardens, artifacts, and operations of Smithsonian Gardens (formerly the Office of Horticulture) from 1972 to the present day. SG's library of visual images began as a small in-house reference collection. Today, it includes thousands of 35mm slides and born digital photographs.


Untermyer Family Slide Collection.

119 glass 35mm slides documenting the grounds of Samuel Untermyer's estate, Greystone. In addition to general garden views, the images depict architectural features, vistas from the property, and interior shots of Greystone's greenhouse. The slides are not captioned or dated. The photographer was Samuel Untermyer II, the grandson of Samuel Untermyer.


Victorian Horticultural Subjects Vertical File.

4 file drawers. The Victorian horticultural subjects vertical file is a study file compiled for the Smithsonian exhibition, "A Victorian Horticultural Extravaganza." Includes materials related to the commercial horticultural industry, garden tools and accessories, the decorative arts, ladies' fancy work, garden furniture and ornaments, exhibitions, landscape design, plants and garden-related publications.


H. Weber & Sons Records, ca. 1879-1962 (bulk 1903-1907).

6 sales and accounting ledgers; sales account sheets; 4 photographs.
Scope: Sampling of business records of the firm of H. Weber & Sons, a florist shop and greenhouse based in Oakland, Maryland. The firm dealt primarily with customers in the mid-Atlantic region, the upper Midwest, Virginia, and North Carolina. Its primary focus was cut flowers, annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetables.

Eleanor Weller Collection, 1978-2006.

The Eleanor Weller Collection dates from circa 1978-2006 and consists of documentation and research files relating to the Garden Club of America's Slide Library of Notable American Parks and Gardens (later donated to the Smithsonian Institution as the Garden Club of America Collection) and the book, The Golden Age of American Gardens: Proud Owners, Private Estates, 1890-1940, co-written by Weller, as well as thousands of photographic images of historic and contemporary gardens compiled or taken by Weller. Materials include correspondence, research notes, clippings, brochures, lecture scripts, photocopied images from archival repositories, and original and duplicate 35mm slides.

Perry Wheeler Collection, 1940-1980s.

3,240 35mm slides; 416 photographs; 167 negatives; 17 transparencies;plans and drawings; client files.
Images and records relating to projects designed by landscape architect Perry Wheeler who practiced in Washington, D.C. from 1948-1979. Also thousands of images of Wheeler’s vacation travels to the American west, Europe, Mexico, Canada, Africa, South America, Morocco, and the Caribbean from the 1940s to 1972 (as well as various personal and family images). Wheeler is best known for his work on private gardens in Georgetown and the White House gardens in the 1960s. Client files include correspondence, plans, invoices, invitations, news clippings, awards, and magazine articles. Plans and drawings are included for such jobs as the Washington Cathedral, the U. S. National Arboretum, and the John F. Kennedy Gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.

Dr. G. Howard White, Jr. Photograph Collection, ca. 1890s-1920s.

149 glass plate negatives; 46 (copies of) nitrate negatives; 8 black and white photographs.
Images of family members and residences relating to the White family of Catonsville, Maryland and Middleburg, Virginia and the Liebig family of Catonsville, Maryland. Also includes recreational, industrial, and general sites in Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey.