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Marie S. Nicholson papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS242

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of a series of scrapbooks documenting the activities of Marie Nicholson as president and member of the Tulip Study Club, president of the National Tulip Society, and an active speaker and organizer of tulip festivals in Atlanta. Also included in the collection is correspondence pertaining to Nicholson's involvement with clubs and various civic organizations within the Southeast region. The collection contains a series of posters Nicholson created detailing the growth cycle of the tulip and tulip varieties. The contents of the collection provide a history of the Tulip Study Club in Atlanta, the Atlanta Tulip Show Association, tulip festivals and shows, and the efforts of Nicholson to promote, nationally and internationally, the cultivation of tulips.


  • 1938-1975, undated


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and 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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Marie Stern Nicholson (June 18, 1894-June 20, 1975), was born in Richmond, Virginia, and married James Joseph Nicholson of Atlanta, Georgia. 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 with the goal of stimulating 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 of which she served on the board of over 25 years. Nicholson continued to 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.


10.21 linear ft. (one document case, one half document case and seven oversize boxes)



System of Arrangement

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1975

Description Control

This collection was reprocessed in 2013.

Marie S. Nicholson papers
Melanie Stephan and Jennie Oldfield
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305