Helen Hawkins Clarke Collection
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Helen Hawkins Clarke Collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Clarke, Helen Hawkins, 1892-1974
Title: Helen Hawkins Clarke Collection
Dates: 1923-1982
Quantity: 2.5 Linear feet
Quantity: 2.5 cubic feet; including 18 photographs, 16 pencil drawings, 1 landscape blueprint, 2 publications, and 1 set of drawing instruments.
Identification: ahc.MSS976

Biographical/Historical Note

Helen Newton Hawkins (1892-1974), the daughter of William and Helen Hawkins, was born in Americus, Georgia on May 19, 1892. She moved to Atlanta with her family in the late 1890s and married insurance agent Arthur Clarke on November 4, 1914.

Helen Hawkins Clarke was an active member of the Junior League of Atlanta. Founded in 1914, the league promoted volunteerism for educational and charitable causes. In 1928, Clarke helped establish the Cherokee Garden Club, the second oldest garden club in Atlanta. As a club member, Clarke worked on community service projects, took horticultural courses and became involved with flower shows. She soon became an award-winning flower arranger and esteemed flower show judge in Georgia. On the domestic front, Helen Clarke raised a daughter, also named Helen. In addition, Clarke designed and executed an extensive garden at the home she and her husband purchased on West Andrews Drive in the Peachtree Heights Park neighborhood of Atlanta in 1929.

Clarke’s interest in horticulture led her to study landscape architecture at the University of Georgia. She entered the university’s program in 1935, the same year her daughter enrolled as a freshman. In 1936 and 1937, Clarke served as the horticultural chairperson for the Garden Club of Georgia and wrote extensively for the club’s publication Garden Gateways. During the late 1930s, Clarke worked with the landscape architectural firm of Newberry and Johnson. Helen Hawkins Clarke was one of the first women in Atlanta to practice in the field of landscape architecture. Immediately prior to World War II, Clarke formed a short-lived partnership with Perry H. Wheeler, who later became famous for his role in designing the White House Rose Garden during the Kennedy administration.

Clarke’s professional career as a landscape architect ended in the 1940s due to illness. However, she continued to help friends and family with their garden designs until her death on July 26, 1974.

Scope and Content Note

The Helen Hawkins Clarke collection contains landscape sketches drawn by Clarke. Photographs of Clarke at work and photographs of the work she completed in her garden are also included. Clarke’s clippings of photographs and landscape designs from popular magazines from the 1920s and 1930s constitute a large portion of the collection. The bulk of the collection dates from 1923-1938. The collection also contains two issues of Garden Gateways, correspondence regarding the restoration of the Thornton House gardens in Atlanta, personal correspondence from Perry H. Wheeler to Helen Clarke, one landscape design by Wheeler, and Helen Clarke’s drawing instruments.

Note: The Atlanta Art Alliance purchased the Thornton House, an outstanding example of 18th century cottage architecture used in Georgia’s Piedmont region, in 1959 for restoration and removal to the grounds of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Soon afterward, expansion of the art center in Atlanta made relocating the Thornton House necessary. In 1967, the Art Alliance presented the house to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association for removal to Stone Mountain Park. Colonial Williamsburg, inc. consulted on the landscape restoration.


This collection is arranged according to its original order.

Index Terms

Clarke, Helen Hawkins, 1892-1974
Colonial Williamsburg, inc. Dept. of Collections.
Garden Club of Georgia.
Landscape architecture--Georgia--Atlanta
Landscape architecture--Georgia--Fulton County
Landscape architecture--Washington (D.C.)
Thornton House (Atlanta, Ga.) -- Landscape architecture
Wheeler, Perry H., 1914-1989
Wheeler-Clarke, Landscape Architects.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[identification of item(s)], Helen Hawkins Clarke Collection, MSS 976, Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Helen Clarke Benedict, 1983 (CGL 1983.01).

Processing Information

Collection processed in 2007.


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Container List




11Letter to Helen Hawkins Clarke from Perry H. Wheeler, September 1942
Letter to Helen Hawkins Clarke from Perry H. Wheeler, 2 September 1944
Note to Helen Hawkins Clarke from Perry H. Wheeler, undated
Copy of telegram to Perry H. Wheeler from Helen Benedict, 28 October 1982
Sheet of Wheeler-Clarke, Landscape Architects Letterhead, undated
2Letter from Alden Hopkins, Resident Landscape Architect, to Mrs. Herbert Reynolds, President of the Cherokee Garden Club re: Colonial Williamsburg’s advice on the restoration of the Thornton House Grounds, 29 July 1959
Letter from Alden Hopkins to James A. Nonemaker, Curator, McBurney Art Memorial re: Colonial Williamsburg’s advice regarding the landscape restoration of the Thornton House, with enclosures: "A Brief Reference Bibliography Concerning Eighteenth Century Landscape Design" and "Common Plant Materials,", 29 July 1959
3"Helen Hawkins Clarke," The Cotton Blossom, November 1937
4"'Garden Gateways' Contains Fine Articles in October Issue," The Atlanta Constitution, 22 October 1936
"Beauties of Flowers and Forest Combined in Garden" (Garden of Mrs. Arthur Clarke on West Andrews Drive), The Atlanta Journal, 26 June 1938
5 Garden Gateways, vol. 4, no. 13, May 1937
Garden Gateways, vol. XIII, no. 3, November 1946
6Clippings of photographs, sketches and landscape plans from The American Home, House Beautiful, House and Garden, and other unidentified sources, 1923-1936, undated
7"Four-Point Garden Program,", undated
"A Garden of Mulberries and Romance," House and Garden (incomplete), February 1923
"An Ideal Smaller Garden," House and Garden, April 1925
"Lead in the Garden," House and Garden, September 1929
"Linking the Garden with the House,", undated
"My Garden in Three Parts. Part II: A Potted Garden," Good Housekeeping, undated
"My Garden in Three Parts. Part III: A Wall Fountain," Good Housekeeping, undated
"The Value of Vistas in the Small Garden,", undated
8Garden furniture brochure, Wm. H. Jackson Company, New York, undated
9Black and white photographs of Helen Hawkins Clarke at work (6); Black and white photograph of young Helen Hawkins Clarke; Color photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden at 17 W. Andrews Drive; Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke and her daughter in a garden; and Black and white photographs of garden accents (3),, undated
10Pencil Drawings of landscapes by Helen Clarke and Pencil drawing of still life by Helen Clarke, 14 February 1936, undated
11Helen Hawkins Clarke’s drawing instruments, undated



Oversized Box 3.1901Design for a small city garden, residence of Mr. James M. Snitzler, 2707 N. St. N.W., Washington, D.C., Perry Wheeler, Landscape Architect, undated
2Black and white photograph of the garden and home of Mrs. Arthur Clarke (Helen Hawkins) and Copy of photograph in Junior League Magazine, 1933, November 1937
3Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden, 1933
4Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden, 1933
5Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden, 1933
6Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden and home, 1933
7Black and white photograph of Helen Hawkins Clarke’s garden, 1933
8Still life of flowers sketched by Helen Clarke, undated
9Still life of books sketched by Helen Clarke, 27 January 1936
10Pencil drawing of landscape by Helen Clarke, 3 February 1936
11Pencil drawing of landscape and house by Helen Clarke, 17 February 1936
12Pencil drawing of landscape and house by Helen Clarke, 18 February 1936
13Pencil drawing of landscape by Helen Clarke, 4 March 1936
14Pencil drawings of landscape and architectural details by Helen Clarke Plate I, 13 January 1938
15Pencil drawing of landscape by Helen Clarke, Plate II, 15 January 1938 (?)
16Pencil drawing of landscape by Helen Clarke, 23 January 1938 (?)
17Pencil drawing of landscape by Helen Clarke, undated
18Pencil drawings of landscapes and houses by Helen Clarke, undated