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Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection

Collection number: ahc.MSS981

Scope and Contents of the Records

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.


  • 1931-1976


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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.

Administrative/Biographical History

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.


0.42 linear ft.



Arrangement of the Papers

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

Acquisition Information

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

General Physical Description note

(1 document case)

Processing Information

Collection processed in 2007.

Founders Memorial Garden Project Collection, 1931-1976ahc.MSS 981
Inventory prepared by Erica Danylchak.
May 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305