Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection
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Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Atlanta History Center
Creator: Ladies Garden Club (Athens, Ga.)
Title: Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection
Dates: 1931-1976
Quantity: 0.42 linear ft.
Quantity: (1 document case)
Identification: ahc.MSS981

Biographical/Historical Note

The Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens, organized in 1891, was the first garden club in America with a constitution, by-laws, officers, and strict parliamentary rules. The club invited every lady in Athens who might be interested in learning to grow anything “from a cabbage to a chrysanthemum” to join. The club held meetings every two weeks and organized lectures on practical gardening. Its members exchanged cuttings and plants, and conducted experiments in horticulture. As the garden club movement spread across the country, new clubs often contacted the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens for guidance. When the Garden Club of Georgia was established in 1928, the Ladies’ Garden Club was one of the eleven clubs that formed the federation.

In 1936, the Garden Club of Georgia initiated an idea to create a memorial to the twelve founding members of the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens. The statewide organization established a fund for the project and solicited donations from garden clubs across the state. In 1939, Hubert Bond Owens (1905-1989), Dean of the University of Georgia’s Department of Landscape Architecture, proposed that the memorial take the form of a garden on the campus of the University. The Garden Club of Georgia agreed to provide funds for the garden’s initial construction while the University of Georgia agreed to provide land on its historic north campus and perpetual maintenance for the memorial garden. The garden would benefit the University community by serving as a living laboratory for botanical research and landscape design. With the aid of his staff and students, Dean Owens designed and supervised the development of what became known as the Founders Memorial Garden. Construction began in 1939. The living memorial was completed in 1946. Miss Nina Scudder of Athens served as the Garden Club of Georgia’s committee chairperson for the Founders Memorial project from 1937-1938. Miss Scudder and Mrs. William F. Bradshaw, also of Athens, acted as co-chairpersons of the committee from 1938-1940. Mrs. Bradshaw and Janette B. (Mrs. Ralph P.) Black of Atlanta served as co-chairs from 1940-1942. Mrs. Black continued to command the role of committee chair until 1946.

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the founding of the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens and its early history through published materials, transcriptions of newspaper articles, and a manuscript detailing facts about the club. The bulk of the material, however, documents the development of the Founders Memorial Garden at the University of Georgia between 1936 and 1946. The collection primarily contains published articles and correspondence regarding financial contributions to the endeavor and development plans. Board meeting and financial reports are also included.


This collection is arranged is arranged according to its original order.

Index Terms

Founders Memorial Garden (Athens, Ga.)
Garden Club of Georgia.
Gardening--Georgia--Societies, etc.
Gardens--Georgia--Clarke County
Ladies Garden Club (Athens, Ga.)
Landscape architecture--Georgia--Athens
Landscape architecture--Georgia--Clarke County
Owens, Hubert B.
University of Georgia. Dept. of Landscape Architecture.
Women--Georgia--Societies and clubs

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[identification of item(s)], Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection, MSS 981, Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.

Acquisition Information

Gift of James R. Cothran, FASLA, 1995 (CGL 1995.01).

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




11The Cobblestone Garden Club 1931 transcription from Athens Weekly Banner article, 22 December 1891
2“Some Facts about the Ladies’ Garden Club,”, undated
Newspaper transcriptions re: The Ladies’ Garden Club, 1936
Flower Show Rules of the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens, undated
Published articles re: The Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens as the First Garden Club, 1931, 1935-36, 1939, 1944
Ladies’ Garden Club Pamphlets, (collections of articles written about the club’s history and activities) w/ a copy of the image used on front cover, 1941, 1976
3The Garden Club of Georgia Constitution, undated
The Garden Club of Georgia By-laws, revised 1961
4The Founders Memorial Project, Article for Garden Gateways or Yearbook, undated
Address to the Ladies’ Garden Club, undated
Report to the Board of the Garden Club of Georgia, 27 January 1939
5Correspondence re: the Founders Memorial Garden, Proposal and Price Estimates, 1938-39
6Published Articles re: Plan for the Founders Memorial Garden, 1939
7Bulletin of the University of Georgia, Fourth Annual Garden School, Visit to the Memorial to America’s First Garden Club, 1939
8Contributions to the Founders Memorial Fund, 1936-1942, 1946, undated
Solicitation Letter and Information re: Founders Memorial Fund Mailing, 1941
9Founders Memorial Garden Financial Report for Mrs. R. P. Black Listing Expenditures, 1941
Founders Memorial Garden Bank Balance Note, 18 July ?
Founders Memorial Garden Departmental Budget Receipt for Expenditure, 1960
10Correspondence re: Founders Memorial Garden Contributions, Committees, and Development, 1940-44, undated
11Published Articles re: Founders Memorial Garden Development, 1940-43
12Published Article re: Victory Gardens, 1942
13Founders Memorial Garden Photographs (3), October 1940
14Addresses of Chairperson Janette B. Black of the Founders Memorial Garden at The Garden Club of Georgia Annual Meetings, 1941-44
15Published Articles re: The Garden Club of Georgia Annual Meetings, 1942, 1944
16General Reports from The Garden Club of Georgia Board Meetings, 1941-42, 1958
Report on Founders Memorial Garden from The Garden Club of Georgia Board Meetings, 1940-44
17Founders Memorial Garden, Report on Development, by Hubert Owens, undated
18Published Article re: Founders Memorial Garden, 1958
19Miscellaneous Correspondence Post-dating Garden Completion re: The Little Memorial Room, Founders Memorial Garden piece, and Founders Memorial Garden and Headquarters House Development, 1968-75