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Records of the Plant Sale and Giveaway, 1973, 1978-2009: Guide.

Archives of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University


The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Archives.
Call No.: I H-2 PSG
Repository: Archives of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University
Creator: Arnold Arboretum
Title: Records of the Plant Sale and Giveaway, 1973, 1978-2009: Guide.
Date(s): 1973, 1978-2009, undated.
Quantity: 1 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract: The collection consists of materials related to the planning and execution of the Arboretum Plant Sale and Giveaway during the thirty-four years of its existence. Materials include correspondence, meeting notes, financial records, and plant descriptions, as well as final drafts of the catalogs produced for each sale. The collection ranges from 1973-2009, with materials from 1998-2000 being particularly replete.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Provenance: The materials were created and assembled throughout the administration of the Arnold Arboretum's annual plant sale and giveaway event.

Processing Information:

Anne Holmer, April 2010.

Terms of Access:

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.

Terms of Use:

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

The Arnold Arboretum Giveaway of woody plants joined the plant dividend distribution mailing as a member benefit in 1970. The Plant Sale at the Arboretum's Case Estates property became a feature of the annual plant giveaway in 1980. The sale, along with the later auction component, was originally only for Friends of the Arboretum, but they evolved into events that allowed the participation of the general public. Though the sale underwent several modifications over the years, the basic structure remained the same. Members were permitted earlier entrance to access their giveaway plants and peruse the sale offerings, with the public allowed to join them later in the morning. In 2002, the Sale once again became a members-only event. The schedule was significantly modified based on membership levels, and the overall size of the event was considerably scaled down. In 2004, the Sale was moved from the Case Estates to the Arboretum grounds in Jamaica Plain. The 2009 event was the last offering a retail component. From that point on, the intention was to allow the greenhouse to focus on growing for the living collections, with only the distribution remaining as a member benefit.


The collection is arranged in one series of thirty-six chronologically-ordered folders.

Scope and Contents

The Plant Sale and Giveaway records include materials saved during the production of the annual plant sale and giveaway event held originally at the Case Estates in Weston, Massachusetts. The specific contents vary from year to year, but typically include correspondence, financial records, photographs and slides, meetings notes, literature distributed to sale attendees, plant information, pre- and post-event publicity, schedules, and task lists. The materials in the collection give a broad look at the planning, execution, and evolution of the event from a members-only benefit giveaway to a public sale of rare and unique plants. Correspondents include Peter Shaw Ashton, Peter Del Tredici, Barbara O. Epstein, Peg H. Hedstrom, Gary L. Koller, Wendy Marks, Karen L. O'Connell, Christine C. Santos, Kara Stepanian, J. Patrick Willoughby.


Access to Finding Aid record in Hollis Classic or Hollis.

Other Finding Aids

Current version of this finding aid is available at the Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

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