Collection Title: West Grove Garden Club
Collection Number: Ms. Coll. 203
Dates of Collection: 1935-2009
Box Numbers: 2 boxes
Repository: Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA
Project Archivist: Brett Doutre & Gerri
The West Grove Garden Club was organized in 1935. Under Article II of the club’s Constitution and Bylaws, its objective was “to stimulate knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs, to aid in the conservation of native trees, plants, and birds; and to encourage civic planting and care.” The club was open to anyone who possessed a true interest in the aforementioned objectives, and was willing to pay the annual dues. The Garden Club held several programs and events each year such as tutorials on decorative table arrangements, flower shows, fundraisers, and banquets. The administration consisted of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, which were supported by various committees with specific tasks such as publicity and exhibits.
The Garden Club often created events and projects to benefit local hospitals and institutions. Young women attending school in the area were also encouraged to join. The Club also organized and maintained its own Flower Mart beginning in 1937. The program raised approximately $1,000 per year, which was donated to the Southern Chester County Medical Center. The Flower Mart ran until 1985, when it was agreed that many of the members were becoming too old to maintain the program, and not enough new members were joining. The Club also had a long lasting relationship with an organization called CARE, which raised money for poor farmers in foreign countries.
Among its special events each year, the Garden Club would normally take several trips each year to places that had unique garden displays. The destinations included Williamsburg, Virginia, Longwood Gardens, and even the home gardens of H.F. DuPont. The trips were factored into the Club’s budget each year.
After over 50 years of activity, the group officially disbanded in the early 1990s under President Pat Cundiff.
The West Grove Garden Club records are separated into two boxes. Box 1 consists of books of recorded minutes, a handbook regarding rules, and several scrapbooks which contain newspaper clippings, photographs, and personal letters from 1935-1991. Box 2 contains a large amount of the group’s information booklets. Almost every year from 1937-1992, members of the club made the booklets, which contained lists of the board of directors, regular members, and the dates of regular meetings and special events. Also in the collection are rule books for judging the flower shows, letters of appreciation from the Southern Chester County Medical Center, and several brochures from various Garden Club events.
Volume 1: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1937
Volume 2: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1939-1943
Volume 3: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1943-1948
Volume 4: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1949-1953
Volume 5: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1953-1954
Volume 6: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1953-1957
Volume 7: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1955-1956
Volume 8: Attendance and Minutes of Meetings, 1961-1975
Volume 9: Gen. Henry M. Robert. Robert’s Rules of Order: Revisited (Scott, Foresman, and Company, 1943)
Volume 10: Robert M. Mitchell, Herbert S. Zim. A Golden Guide: Butterflies and Moths (New York: Golden Press,1987)
Volume 11: History, 1954-1966 [3-Ring Binder]
-Letter, Margaret Webster, 1953: Short history of the Club’s official formation in 1937 and early activities
-Flower Show Brochures
Volume 12: History, 1967-1982 [3-Ring Binder]
-Awards from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania
-Flower Show Brochures
Volume 13: History, 1983-1991 [3-Ring Binder]
-Photographs of various trips
-Obituaries of certain members
-Awards from CARE
Folder 1: Information Booklets, 1937-1950
Folder 2: Information Booklets, 1950-1959
Folder 3: Information Booklets, 1960-1969
Folder 4: Information Booklets, 1970-1979
Folder 5: Information Booklets, 1980-1992
Folder 6: Extra Booklets
Folder 7: Betty Lambert Letters, 1952-1983
-January 25th, 1952, from H.F. DuPont: In reply to a request from the group, DuPont gives the club his permission to visit his gardens.
-Nov. 4th, 1958, from the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania: Congratulating the group on winning the Junior Garden Club Program award.
-May 11th, 1977, from Kemblesville Elementary School: Principal John F. Neill thanks the Club for judging the students’ floral decorations.
-May 12th, 1977, from Avon Grove Elementary School: Principal Philip E. Pyle Thanks the Club for attending the students’ flower show and giving the children awards.
-1977, regarding Chatham Acres: Betty Lambert thanks the club members who helped maintain the Garden Club in Chatham Acres, and encourages other members to give support.
-1977, regarding the Flower Mart: Betty Lambert explains that due to the fire house being torn down, the Flower Mart had to be relocated which caused a notable decrease in sales. Nevertheless, they still donated $1,000 to the hospital.
-1980, regarding Chatham Acres: Mrs. Lambert thanks certain members of the club for helping her maintain the Garden Club and Flower Shows sponsored by West Grove at Chatham Acres.
-1980, regarding the Flower Mart: Betty Lambert reports the Flower Mart clearing about $1,200, with $1,000 being donated to the Southern Chester County Medical Center. She also gives some advice to members participating in the next Mart.
-August 25th, 1983, from Larry K. Spade: The Board of Directors at Southern Chester County Medical Center thanks the Club for its donation of $2,000.
Folder 8: Committee Reports, 1959-1985
-Overall Annual Reports
-Ways and Means
Folder 9: Guest Book, 1953-1984 [Bound Volume]
Folder 10: Application for Federation Award, 1956
-Also contains several small paintings
Folder 11: Jr. Activities Report, 1958-1959
-Pictures and letters from local schools
Folder 12: Flower Show, 1961
-List of terms and classifications used in a flower show
-Letter, September, 1960: The Flower Show chairman remarks on the success of the 1960 flower show.
-Letter, February 19th, 1961: Rita Morton describes the Club’s plans for the 1961 flower show in September and requests that receiver of the letter volunteer to be a judge.
-Pages from Hodges Badge Company’s catalogue which list the prices of award ribbons.
Folder 13: Flower Show, 1962
-Newspaper Clippings promoting the show
-Lists of judges
-Schedule of events
-List of Award Winners
-List of potential Philadelphia area student judges with the final selection attached
-Information Brochure for the 1963 Fall Show
Folder 14: Flower Shows, 1956-1962 [3-Ring Binder]
-Template for letters to judges
-Sample Exhibition Card
-Brochure and Newspaper Clippings for Shows, 1956-1959
-Templates for letters to Federation and former Exhibitors
-Show committee expenses for 1956
-Lists of winners, 1956-1959
-Suggestions for future show schedules
Folder 15: Revised State Awards Manual, 1992 [Black 3-Ring Binder]
Folder 16: Misc. Items
-3 Flower Show Brochures – 1951, 1977, 1978
-Merit Award – Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania [undated]
-Citation of Merit – CARE [undated]
-Citation of Appreciation – CARE, 1971
-Donation Receipt – Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania
-Letter, Gertrude Richards Exhibit Committee Retirement
-Letter explaining that all newspaper clippings from 1980 were put in the scrapbook
-4 Newspaper Clippings, 1958-1985
-Letter, 1985, to Southern Chester County Medical Center: Donation of over $2,000 to the CCMC. Proceeds came from the Club’s Annual Flower Mart
-Awards from Penn’s Valley Flower Show, 1991
-Native Plant Sale Brochure, 1992
-Patricia “Pat” Cundiff, short biography and notice of death – McLaughlin and Young Funeral Home, 2009
Folder 17: Photographs
-2 Group Photographs