The American gardens collection, a component of the Archives of American Gardens (AAG), includes holdings not associated with other major collections in the archives. The slides, photographs, plans, and files in this collection come from various private donors. Individual sub-units typically depict a single garden.
This collection contains over 37,000 35mm slides, 3,000 glass lantern slides and a small number of landscape architectural plans and drawings, all of which document the history of American gardens and landscapes. Garden files were compiled by The Garden Club of America (GCA) members for most of the gardens included in the collection. These files may include information sheets, photocopied articles (from journals, newspapers, or books), planting lists, correspondence, brochures and other notes. Some gardens have been photographed over the course of several decades; others only have images from a single point in time. In addition to images of American gardens, there are glass lantern slides of the New York Flower Show (1941-1951) and trips that GCA members took to other countries, including Mexico (1937), Italy, Spain, Japan (1935), France (1936), England (1929), and Scotland.
The Untermyer Family Slide Collection includes 119 glass 35mm slides documenting the grounds of Samuel Untermyer's estate, Greystone. In addition to general garden views, the images depict architectural features, vistas from the property, and interior shots of Greystone's greenhouse. The slides are not captioned or dated. The photographer was Samuel Untermyer II, the grandson of Samuel Untermyer.
The Lois W. Poinier Collection documents the work of Lois W. Poinier, a self-taught garden designer who designed scores of gardens, most of them in New Jersey.
The Hollerith Family Collection includes approximately 2,200 35mm slides dating from 1952 to 1980 that document the horticultural interests and travels of sisters Virginia and Nan Hollerith, members of the Georgetown Garden Club in Washington, D.C. The images primarily show private and public gardens, plantations, and historic sites in the mid-Atlantic and the southeast regions of the United States. Included in the collection are slides documenting the activities of the Georgetown Garden Club and various floral arrangements.
The Ken Druse Garden Photography Collection contains approximately 45,000 film transparency and 35mm slide images, dating from 1978 to 2005, of gardens, garden features, and flora photographed by garden writer and photographer Ken Druse. The photographic images document numerous private and public gardens throughout the United States and a few in Canada. Many have appeared in Druse's own books and articles as well as those by other writers. Approximately half of the collection is arranged according to specific garden, the other half by garden feature. A small portion of the collection consists of slide lectures given by Druse. Some images are identified with general captions and dates. Images documenting specific gardens are sometimes accompanied by handwritten notes, garden descriptions, and articles. Annotations appearing on certain images indicate the publication in which they appeared. The collection includes 'outtakes' or bracketed images that give insight into Druse's photo shooting process.
The Robert M. Fletcher Collection contains 268 35mm color slides documenting Southern California gardens designed by landscape architect Robert M. Fletcher.
The Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection documents the work of Molly Adams, a free-lance garden photographer who photographed hundreds of private and public gardens, many of them in the mid-Atlantic region, from the late 1950s through the mid-1990s. It includes slides, photographic prints, negatives and transparencies. A significant number of images document the work of landscape designers Nelva M. Weber, Alice Recknagel Ireys, and Friede Stege. Roughly 50 gardens do not have an identified location. Some images have captions and other information written on them.
The Thomas Warren Sears Photograph Collection documents examples of the design work of Thomas Warren Sears (1880-1966), a landscape architect and amateur photographer from Brookline, Massachusetts. Sears, who was based for most of his career in Philadelphia, designed a variety of different types of landscapes ranging from private residences, schools, and playgrounds to parks, cemeteries, and urban housing developments located primarily in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. In addition to some of Sears' design work, images in the collection document Sears' domestic and foreign travels, design inspirations, and family. The collection includes over 4,800 black and white negatives and glass lantern slides dated circa 1899 to 1930. While most images show private and public gardens, there are a significant number of unidentified views and views photographed in Europe during two trips he took there in 1906 and 1908. Few images are captioned or dated. In addition, there are over 50 plans and drawings, most notably for Balmuckety in Pikesville, Maryland and Reynolda in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and 3 monographs by or about Sears.
The J. Horace McFarland Collection includes over 3,100 photographic images of private and public gardens throughout the United States, as well as some from foreign countries, dating from 1899 to 1963. Many of these images, generated for Mount Pleasant Press (later the J. Horace McFarland Company), were used to illustrate trade catalogs published by the firm as well as journal and newspaper articles. The collection also contains color records that were used as reference aids during the printing process, plant patents, and various publications of the McFarland Company.