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Kowalski, Lydia A., 1949- . Papers of Lydia A. Kowalski, 1985-1988 (inclusive) : A Finding Aid

Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University


Harvard University
July 2003

© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update 2016 June 16

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.
Call No.: IB-a LK
Title: Papers,
Date(s): 1985-1988
Creator: Kowalski, Lydia A., 1949-
Quantity: 2 Linear Feet (6 Boxes)


Access to Finding Aid record in Hollis Classic or Hollis.

Processed by:

Arnold Arboretum Archives
October 1998
Revised by: Jessica M. Parr
July 2003

Acquisition Information:

The Lydia Kowalski papers span the years from 1985-1988 and reflect the administrative and financial management of the Arnold Arboretum. The collection is maintained in the order created by Lydia Kowalski and was acquired during her tenure.

Access Restrictions:

Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.

Use Restrictions:

The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.
Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.

Historical Note

Lydia A. Kowalski (1949-) served from 1985 to 1988 as the only Executive Director in the history of the Arnold Arboretum. Kowalski, who had a strong background in managing non-profit organizations, was appointed to the newly created post by Arboretum Director Peter Ashton. Dr. Ashton managed the academic affairs and was involved in scientific research that required extensive travel and extended absences, while Kowalski managed the day-to-day operations of the Arboretum. With Dr. Ashton's retirement, the administration of the Arboretum was re-organized and Lydia Kowalski resigned in 1988. Lydia Kowalski received her degree in Music and Theater from Indiana University in 1971. An accomplished musician and opera singer, Kowalski went on to receive her master's degree in City Planning from MIT, with a specialization in cultural planning. In 1980 she received a certificate in Museum Management from the Museum Management Institute at the University of California at Berkeley. With over 15 years of non-profit management planning and educational program development for many non-profit institutions in the Boston area, Kowalski came to the Arboretum in 1985. During her three year career at the Arboretum, Lydia Kowalski managed a budget of $2.3 million that supported an academic, professional and support staff of 48, the 265-acre Jamaica Plain site, the Herbaria in Cambridge and The Case Estates in Weston, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of six archival boxes that span the years from 1985-1988, which primarily reflect the academic, educational, and financial activities of the Arboretum. Included in the collection are educational proposals for the China Project 1987-88, The Flora of China program, the Children's program from 1984-1986, The Case Estates Proposal 1986-87, the Herb Society proposal 1985, and the Field Study proposal. Much of Ms. Kowalski's contribution to the Arboretum was her focus on short and long-range plans that generated revenues from various programs including foundation and government grants, and also from private donors. Included in her papers are proposals and grants from organizations such as the Institute of Museums 1986-87, National Museum Act, Henderson Foundation 1986, Fund for the Arts 1987, Fidelity Foundation 1986, Boston Globe Foundation 1987, Mass Council on Arts and Humanities 1988-90, National Geographic Society, and National Cancer Institute. In addition to correspondence files from 1986-1987, the Kowalski papers include a chronological log of her administrative duties from January 1987-December 1987. These files include detailed memorandums, financial reports, and grant proposals.

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