Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
P. O. Box 22642, Philadelphia PA 19110-2642
(215) 985-1445 voice, (215) 985-1446 fax *
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PACSCL at the Flower Show:

Les Liliacees: click for enlargement
Pierre Joseph Redouté, Les Liliacées. Academy of Natural Sciences. Click for enlargement and additional information.

Digging for Books and Bulbs
or, Old Garden 'Dirt' and Where to Dig It
An illustrated lecture by Elizabeth McLean

Monday, March 3, 1:00-2:00 ("Garden Writers' Day")
Philadelphia Flower Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA
(other March 3 lectures and demonstrations)

Related link
Digging for Books and Bulbs:
Plant-related Resources in PACSCL Member Collections

Join PACSCL at the Philadelphia Flower Show for garden historian Elizabeth McLean's lecture, "Digging for bulbs and books" -- a riveting story of how she's mined the fabulous rare book and manuscript collections of Philadelphia in search of information on gardens and the people who created them. As McLean tells it in her own words:

"If you want to find out about an historic garden, you had better be ready to chase ephemeral will of the wisps, and to do some digging. Philadelphia is rich in gardens -- and also rich in primary resources.Our libraries can be treasures -- as can the librarians who know them.

"Paintings, drawings and maps come immediately to mind, but there are only two known drawings of Philadelphia before the Revolution. Letters, old bills, diaries are valuable. 'Recollections' are valuable too, but are not always reliable. Dictionaries, both linguistic and botanical, are essential in 'translating'" earlier terminology -- such as pre-Linnaean names -- to those we use today. If we are fortunate, herbarium specimens will tell us what a described plant really was. Books of the time (especially if annotated by their owners) can tell us what influenced decisions as to design and planting methods. Archaeology, when used along with all the above, can provide 'proof.'"

"Several 'case histories,' representing different periods, will be discussed: Pennsbury, Fairhill, Mount Pleasant and the Highlands (the latter representing several periods.)"




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