CBHL Newsletter, No. 149 (May 2018)


Number 149

May 2018

Seed to Seedling... The Precursors of the "First" CBHL Meeting (November 13, 1969) by Judy and John Reed Retired LuEsther T. Mertz Library New York Botanical Garden New York, NY As the 50th Annual Meeting of CBHL bears down upon us, it is perhaps a good time to briefly explore the precursors of the founding of the organization and to clarify information about the activities that led to the founding of the organization. On the afternoon of November 24, 1967, Elisabeth Woodburn hosted a luncheon at her home, Booknoll Farm, in Hopewell, NJ. From

The 50th anniversary expedition to Elisabeth Woodburn, Books, seeking information about the beginnings of CBHL. Joanne Fuccello (L) and Bradford Lyon (R) of Woodburn Books and John Reed (C) .

correspondence we know that Elizabeth Hall (29 Nov. 1967), Librarian at the Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY), and Florence Roberts (14 Nov. 1967), Librarian at Longwood Gardens (LG), attended. It is also very likely that Mary Moulton, Librarian at the Morton Arboretum (MA), was also present. Muriel Crossman (9 Nov. 1967), Librarian at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS), and John Reed, Curator of the Library at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), were unable to attend. Was this the "get-together" that set the founding of CBHL in motion? If not, what were the antecedents of this get-together? And how did it evolve into the "Massachusetts Horticultural Society - Conference - Horticultural and Botanical Libraries" on Thursday, November 13, 1969? Is this the whole story, or is there more? Over the past few years, we, the "CBHL Historians," have had the opportunity to do some poking into the past, trying to learn more. Sadly, all of the players at the 1967 luncheon have passed, but some archival records remain. We have had occasion to spend considerable time reviewing the official Archives of CBHL, as well as some of John's correspondence at NYBG. Both collections are under the orderly care of Stephen Sinon, NYBG Archivist. We also had the great pleasure, in the fall of 2017, of spending a day and a half with Brad Lyon and Joanne Fucello, at Woodburn Books, going through the 1960s portion of Elisabeth (Betty) Woodburn's business correspondence, a marvelously complete record carefully arranged by Betty and cared for by her business successors. Last November, we spent another day and a half in the company of Nancy Janda, Archive assistant at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, searching for CBHL related documents in the correspondence of George H.M. Lawrence, the first Director of the Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library. This is what we have learned: The seed that eventually blossomed into the formation of CBHL was planted at a Pre-Conference Institute: Rare Books in Natural History, organized by the Rare Book Section of ACRL of ALA, held June 25-27, 1964, at the Linda Hall Library at The University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. The keynote address, The Uses of Bibliography in Natural History, was given by William T. Stearn, Botanist and Bibliographer, British Museum (Natural History). The panel discussion that followed, The Bibliography of Natural History in the United States: Needs and Prospects, was moderated by Foster E. Morhardt, Director of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and included George H.M. Lawrence, Philip C. Ritterbush, Smithsonian Institution, and Jerry Stannard, Yale University. Elisabeth Woodburn presided at a dinner meeting on the second day of the conference, featuring a talk by Jake Zeitlin, a rare book dealer and publisher in Los Angeles, who, like Betty, was an active, early member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. His topic at the conference was Natural History Books from a Bookseller's Point of View. On (Continued on page 3)

May 2018

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