Posts Tagged ‘LuEsther T. Mertz Library’
The audience asked insightful questions relating to the topic of women as architects and photographers—a topic linked to the Garden-wide exhibition Groundbreakers. “Cities are the grand challenge of the 21st century, and for over one hundred years women have played a crucial, if under-celebrated, role in shaping and adapting our urban spaces,” explained Thaisa Way (University of Washington, Seattle). This award-winning landscape historian moderated the fascinating morning session that featured four experts in landscape scholarship and practice, including Susannah Drake (Founding Principal, dlandstudio, Brooklyn), Sonja Dümpelmann (Harvard Graduate School of Design), Linda Jewell (University of California Berkeley), and Mary Woods (Cornell University).
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This Friday, June 20, the Garden will host the inaugural symposium of the new Humanities Institute within the LuEsther T. Mertz Library! This exciting new initiative will further establish the academic role of the world’s largest, most comprehensive botanical and horticultural library.
In keeping with the spirit of Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and The Women Who Designed Them, Friday will honor the role of women in the historic development of today’s urban spaces with a panel of visiting experts. These various speakers will be led by landscape historian Thaisa Way, ASLA, in a conversation entitled Women and the City—From a Landscape Perspective. Read on for the full lineup and more information about the new Humanities Institute!
Alongside the tools of the gardeners themselves, the camera played an important role in supporting the growth of American landscape design in the 20th century. It was in the efforts of the photographers, several of whom are currently being highlighted during our Groundbreakers exhibition, that the styles of women like Farrand and Coffin met the public eye. Don’t forget to visit our LuEsther T. Mertz Library for an important exhibit on some of the women who made all of this possible!
In the LuEsther T. Mertz Library – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
With the days getting longer, we can enjoy the way the sun falls on the LuEsther T. Mertz Library.
Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen
Week two of Henry Hurd Rusby‘s Mulford Expedition sees the Santa Elisa passing through the Panama Canal (see Week One). At the time of this writing, the Canal has been open for less than seven years, and as we read, construction is ongoing. The Canal’s most profound immediate effect is a quicker and safer journey between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A voyage from New York to San Francisco saves over 7,800 miles and the ship avoids navigating the hazardous Drake Passage and Cape Horn.
Dr. Rusby mentions the ceremony of the Court of Neptune, also known as the Line-crossing Ceremony, whereby a commemoration of a sailor’s first crossing of the equator is performed. This ceremony is also performed for passenger’s entertainment aboard civilian ocean liners such as the Santa Elisa. Few details are given by Dr. Rusby, but the ceremony has its colorful characters, including the King of Neptune and Davy Jones.
In 1921, when Henry Hurd Rusby was 65 years old, he embarked on his last field trip to South America as the Director of the Mulford Biological Exploration of the Amazon Basin. Professor of Botany and Materia Medica, and Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Columbia University, Rusby had much experience exploring in South America. The goal of the Mulford Biological Expedition was the discovery of plants with possible pharmaceutical properties.
A complete set of the botanical specimens from this expedition were deposited at The New York Botanical Garden’s Steere Herbarium. Other members of the expedition included Gordon MacCreagh, anthropologist and quartermaster of the expedition, who would later write a rather scathing and sarcastic account of the expedition in his book White Waters and Black; Dr. William M. Mann of the Smithsonian Institution; Dr. Orland Emile White of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden; Dr. Nathan E. Pearson of the University of Indiana; Walter Duval Brown; Frederick Ludwig Hoffman; G. S. McCarty; and Martín Cárdenas, at the time a botany student from Bolivia who would later go on to become Bolivia’s foremost botanist.
While the NYBG‘s Library is home to a wealth of rare botanical texts, we occasionally come into possession of something which explores taxonomy on a much broader level. Loosely translated from Latin, The New History of Plants, Animals and Minerals of Mexico is one such example, diving into seventeenth-century zoological studies with a certain flair.
There are many inexplicable species drawings in Francisco Hernández’s pre-Linnaean work Nova plantarum, animalium et mineralium Mexicanorum historia (1651), which was digitized at The New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library as part of its multiyear Global Plants Initiative project, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In fact, in some cases, the animals depicted seem more inspired fantasy than scientific discovery. Take Dracunculus Monoceros:
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is revered as a center for research in the fields of botany, horticulture, and landscape. However, it is also home to many interesting special collections which are less well-known, such as its 1,600 volume children’s collection. This collection contains books which were written for children and young adults, and its content ranges in date from the 1880s to the present. Some of these publications are great rarities, while others are illustrated by famous artists, or explain scientific, natural, or ecological principles; some pieces of the collection are story books, others are picture books, but each is made to be read and admired by children of any age.
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Sunday night, The New York Botanical Garden got a brief mention on AMC‘s hit TV show ‘Mad Men.’ The episode–full of more twists and turns than the Floral Flyer‘s route–was set in 1966. This got us to thinking: What was the Garden like in 1966? We did a little research and learned that in 1966 (on April 19, three-days from today!), the Stone Mill–then known as the Lorillard Snuff Mill–was designated a New York City landmark. But we couldn’t find more, so we turned to the archivists of the Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library, who, in surprisingly short time, uncovered a treasure trove of images that look as if they had been stills pulled from un-aired scenes of this dark and addicting drama.