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Marie S. Nicholson visual arts material

Collection number: ahc.VIS251

Scope and Content

This collection contains slides, photographs, and films that document the tulip and garden club related activities of Marie Nicholson and the Tulip Study Club. Color slides provide details of Marie Nicholson's garden and tulip varieties as well as tulip arrangements. Also included in the collection are two architectural drawings by William C. Pauley for a tulip show in the Municipal Auditorium in Atlanta, Georgia. Of special interest are films documenting Nicholson's East Lake garden in 1934 and the preparations and events of the Atlanta Tulip Show of 1946.


  • 1934-1965, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative/Biographical History

Marie Stern Nicholson (1894-1975), was born in Richmond, Virginia, and married James Joseph Nicholson (1886-1972) of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1921. Nicholson developed a passion for tulips and became an expert in their cultivation. She organized Atlanta's Tulip Study Club in 1938, serving as president of the club from 1938 to 1948. She founded and served as president of the Atlanta Tulip Show Association in 1944 to host and sponsor tulip shows in Atlanta. In 1947 Nicholson helped establish the National Tulip Society of which she served as first president from 1947 to 1951. The society was organized to stimulate interest in the cultivation of tulips and published a quarterly newsletter, Tulip Tidings. In 1951, Nicholson became a key organizer and designer for the first annual Atlanta Tulip Festival in Joel Hurt Memorial Park and Plaza Park, with the planting of over 25,000 tulip bulbs.

Administrative/Biographical History

Nicholson was a member of both the East Lake Garden Club and the Druid Hills Garden Club, as well as club sponsor for the Clay Hills Garden Club. She was also a life member of the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. Nicholson served frequently as an accredited tulip show judge and helped determine a standard set of judging points in the United States. She also conducted educational lectures for regional garden clubs and wrote numerous articles on tulip cultivation. Nicholson became known internationally as the "Atlanta Tulip Lady" and had two tulips named in her honor, the Marie Nicholson tulip and the Atlanta Tulip Lady tulip. In 1939 Nicholson was awarded the Peachtree Garden Club Annual Medal of Achievement. In 1956 Nicholson was awarded the prestigious silver tulip from the Associated Bulb Growers of Holland for her work in the field of tulips. She was a longtime supporter of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Free Cancer Home and the Atlanta Humane Society for which she served on the board for over 25 years. Nicholson continued to be actively involved in the Atlanta Tulip Festival and tulip shows, and tended her own tulip garden in East Lake neighborhood until her death in 1975.


224 item(s) (199 color slides, 18 black and white photographs, five reels of 16 mm film, and two architectural drawings)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

16 mm films can be made accessible only through conversion to digital film. Patrons who request access to the 16 mm films in this collection are responsible for digital conversion costs.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some items in this collection are located in cold storage (CS) as indicated by the descriptive inventory. Patrons must allow 24 hours after retrieval of item(s) before viewing material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1975, with subsequent additions

Related Archival Materials

Marie S. Nicholson papers, MSS 242, Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2017.

Marie S. Nicholson visual arts material
Jennie Oldfield
April 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305