Records (1958-1997) for the Greenville [North Carolina] Garden Club include scrapbooks, meeting minutes, yearbooks, correspondence, newsletters, clippings, photographs, and award application packets.
The Greenville Garden Club was the oldest garden club in Greenville. It was organized in 1925 in the garden of Mrs. E.W. Harvey, who served as the first president. The original seven charter members include Mrs. Harvey, Mrs. Will Hooker, Mrs. H.E. Austin, Mrs. W.W. Woolard, Mrs. E.B. Allsbrook, Mrs. J.N. Hart, and Mrs. Key Brown. The club started as a department of the Woman's Club of Greenville and became affiliated with the Garden Clubs of North Carolina in 1939. The club name, colors (green and yellow), and flower (daffodil) were chosen and retained by the club. The object or purpose of the club can be found in the constitution, "the object of the club shall be to encourage beauty in everyday living through home and community gardening, and to aid in the promotion and conservation of natural resources, to encourage civic beauty and roadside beautification, and to cooperate with other organizations that further the interests of horticulture and conservation."
In 1963, the Greenville Garden Club withdrew from the Woman's Club of Greenville. It continued on as a vibrant organization at least through 1995.
The Greenville Garden Club collection contains items from scrapbooks, covering the years 1958 to 1995, compiled by the Greenville Garden Club members. The scrapbooks contain photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, certificates, newsletters, and other items regarding club activities.
For several years, the Greenville Garden Club focused on the beautification of the Sheppard Memorial Library. In 1954, the Greenville Garden Club began planning for the beautification of the Sheppard Memorial Library after a request from the library board. Several shrubs and trees were planted using the guidance of a landscape architect from Richmond, Virginia. The committee for this project included Mrs. H.R. Rogers, Mrs. P.E. Wells, Mrs. Ralph Garrett, Sr., Mrs. Sam Mitchell, and Mrs. H.R. Rivers. The Greenville Garden Clubs work on this project won them the Powell Award from the North Carolina Garden Club in 1957.
The Greenville Garden Club is also well known for their Green Spring Park Project from 1951 through the 1960's. Mrs. J. H. B. Moore, Mrs. J.C. Galloway, Mrs. S.E. West, Mrs. Hugh Ragsdale, and Mrs. Hicks Corey, were committee members appointed to this project. 12 acres of eastern Greenville forestry was transformed into a park with walkways, tables, outdoor fireplaces, and a small bridge.
The club also worked hard to beautify Greenville streets and public spaces by planning trees on fourth and fifth streets, Greenwood Cemetery, and the square in front of the Judson Blount home. Club members also worked in garden therapy in the County Home, in the hospital, and in the jails. The Greenville Garden Club also assisted in the restoration of Tryon Palace in New Bern.
From 1959-1961, the club made money by fundraising through a fashion show, luncheon, sales of shrubs, and Christmas bazaars. In 1961, club membership reached 71 members. Its officers included Mrs. R.P. Milstead, president, Mrs. J.C. Galloway, Jr., vice-president, Mrs. J.A. Piver, recording secretary, Mrs. H.G. Williams, corresponding secretary, Mrs. N.F. Merritt, treasurer, and Mrs. W.C. Hollowell, reporter. In 1963, the Greenville Garden Club withdrew from the Woman's Club of Greenville. Officers elected were Mrs. Joseph Miller, president, Mrs. P.E. Wells, first vice-president, Mrs. J.C. Galloway, Jr., second vice-president, Mrs. R.V. Keel, third vice-president, Mrs. J.A. Piver, recording secretary, and Mrs. H. G. Williams, corresponding secretary.
Members began participating in garden therapy with patients and individuals at the sheltered workshop, nursing home, Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center, and students at Aycock Junior High. In 1979, the club contributed money to the Pitt Memorial Hospital for a beautification project in memorial to Laura E. Corey and Julia P. Rodgers. In addition to these public services, the Greenville Garden Club had ongoing projects and exhibits regarding bluebird conservation, tree planting, and native flower conservation.
One of Greenville Garden Club's most prestigious award was the second place Civic Concern Award at the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc.'s 51st annual convention. They were awarded the Civic Concern Work with Underprivileged and Handicapped, No. 51D (1979). The receiving members were the president, Mrs. Raymond A. Davis, and club members. Committee members for this project included Mrs. Sally Klingenschmitt, Mrs. M.G. Martin, Miss Maude Moore, Mrs. Robert Murphy, Mrs. Phoebe Owens, and Mrs. J.S. Rouse. The club project, named "Garden therapy with Handicapped," was an ongoing project at Aycock Junior High in collaboration with Mrs. Nancy Walters, a pre-vocational teacher for students with disabilities. The main project goals included giving students with disabilities learning and participation opportunities to promote a successful future, improving club members' insight on the true meaning of "garden therapy," and encouraging club members to find joy in working with students with disabilities. Club members and students worked together in the beautification of the Aycock Junior High courtyard (1975-1979). The Greenville Garden Club was also awarded the Helen Smith Beeson Award for garden therapy and a silver bowl from the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
In 1977, Mrs. J.B. Spilman, a long-time member of the Greenville Garden Club, won the first "North Carolina Democrat of the Year Award." The award was given during a ceremony at Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Governor Hunt made the presentation and the award was accepted on behalf of Mrs. Spilman by Congressman Walter B. Jones. Mrs. Spilman received a plaque and silver tray.
The Greenville Garden Club was committed to keeping Greenville clean and litter free. To raise public awareness of littering, members cleverly designed a mannequin dressed in trash, who they named "Loosey Litter." Loosey was shown at the Pitt County Fair, Pitt County Public schools, District 12 Garden Club Meeting in Tarboro, Community Beautification Seminar in Lenoir County, and the Keep North Carolina Clean & Beautiful Seminar in Raleigh. For their work on this project, the Greenville Garden Club received the Durham Council Award for Litter Control, No. 47 (applied in 1988). The recipients of the award included the club president, Mrs. R.M. Helms, chairperson, Mrs. Sylvia J. Wheless, and club members. The club continued its work with raising litter awareness through the "Loosey Litter" project by visiting many other locations and special events. In addition, the Greenville Garden Club was the first group to "Adopt-A-Highway in Pitt County." For the clubs continued work in raising littering awareness and beautification, the club was awarded the Louise Ballard Award for Litter Control, No. 48 (applied in 1989).
The club made contributions to the State Memorial Gardens, Daniel Boone Native Gardens, Martha Franck Fragrance Garden, and the Brunswick Town Nature Trail. The club also maintained membership in the botanical Garden at Chapel Hill and made contributions to the North Carolina Nature Conservancy. In addition to the scrapbooks are award applications describing the Greenville Garden Clubs' work and participation in community service activities, such as the "Loosey Litter" project, Garden Therapy for Handicapped, and Adopt-A-Highway. There are also numerous newspaper clippings describing the clubs' service in beautifying the local area, most notably at Sheppard Memorial Library, Green Springs Park, and Pitt Memorial Hospital.
Gift of Natalie Brackenhoff
Gift of Sheppard Memorial Library
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Processing completed July 27, 2018, by Meredith Clark and revised June 5, 2019, by Martha Elmore
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.