In 1976, Rachel Lambert ‘Bunny’ Mellon (1910-2014) established a foundation intended to honor her father, Gerard Barnes Lambert (1886-1967) for his lifetime accomplishments in business and the arts. The Gerard B. Lambert Foundation has succeeded to ownership of the Oak Spring Garden Library, its contents, and surrounding acreage in the Virginia countryside. The Library’s mission focuses on providing scholarly research and the promotion of a new generation of study in the fields of botany and horticulture.
Mr. Lambert, a Renaissance man, was highly successful in a myriad of endeavors. His profound love, inspiration, and financial resources made it possible for his daughter to pursue her own goals and dreams in gardening, and very importantly, to collect horticultural, botanical, and natural history artifacts that today are part of the Oak Spring Garden Library’s collection. These many works became the necessary references for her education and future commissions.
Mrs. Mellon wrote of her father’s library:“There were books in Daddy’s library – big, huge books of gardens, of architecture, of archaeology…Everything fascinated me – and there was no one who talked to me about them so they were absorbed and made a great vault in my mind to think about….”Mr. Lambert, upon graduation from Princeton and architectural studies at Columbia University, served his country in World War I. After returning home he went to work at the family firm, Lambert Pharmacal Company, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Gerard Lambert was a driving force behind the advertising agency of Lambert and Feasley. They were very effective in promoting Listerine, an antiseptic mouthwash invented in 1879 by his father, Jordan Wheat Lambert (1851-1889) and Dr. Joseph Joshua Lawrence (1836-1909). The product, marketed as a cure for halitosis, was named after Joseph Lister (1st Baron Lister, 1827-1912). Lister died two years after Mrs. Mellon was born.
Prior to the infamous Stock Market Crash of 1929, Lambert brilliantly sold most of his shares in the company, and after a short retirement, became president of Gillette Safety Razor Company. His restructuring of this company led to its success and Lambert was very instrumental in developing the Gillette Blue Blade razor. Mr. Lambert took advantage of his architectural training and developed some of the first plans for low-cost subsidized housing in New Brunswick and Princeton, New Jersey in 1938. He was also a musician and an accomplished yachtsman; three of his most famous yachts were: Atlantic, Vanitie, and Yankee. The Atlantic held the record for one hundred years, 1905-2005, for the fastest time crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the Kaiser’s Cup. The race started at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and ended at The Lizard, southwest, England, a total of 12 days, four hours, and one minute. Lambert was also a gifted writer and his three published volumes are: All Out of Step (1956), Murder in Newport (1938), and Yankee in England (published in 1937 and 1938).
Now with the generous funding by the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation, the Oak Spring Garden Library will support students and scholars who are interested in studying and researching gardens, garden design, botany and natural history while continually giving encouragement, ideas, and knowledge to all scholars - botanists, garden historians, and horticulturist who wish to preserve the natural world and the environment for generations to come.
New AcquisitionsThe following are all the acquisitions purchased by the Lambert Foundation
for the Oak Spring Garden Library from 2012-2015:
ACOSTA, JOSE DE (1539-1600)
THE NATURALL AND MORALL HISTORIE OF THE EAST AND WEST INDIES. INTREATING OF THE REMARKEABLE THINGS OF HEAVEN, OF THE ELEMENTS, METTALLS, PLANTS AND BEASTS WHICH ARE PROPER TO THAT COUNTRY: TOGETHER WITH THE MANNERS, CEREMONIES, LAWES, GOVERNEMENTS, AND WARRES OF THE INDIANS. WRITTEN IN SPANISH BY JOSEPH ACOSTA, AND TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY E.G.
London Printed by Val: Sims for Edward Blount and William Aspley. 1604.
This is the first English Language edition and very important source book on Indians of Mexico and Peru which documents the natural history of South America. Acosta, a Jesuit Father, spent seventeen years in American missions in both of these countries between 1571 through 1588. Acosta was also one of the first to formulate a systemic theory of anthropology, suggesting a classification of different peoples into different types that foreshadowed later ideas of social evolution. This particular volume has been considered one of the most reliable accounts of all the riches the ‘New World’ had to offer. He provided detailed descriptions of sailing directions, mineral wealth, trading commodities, and historical accounts of the Indians. Consequently his work was very effective in relaying to other European countries the great wealth that Spain was receiving from America. There are detailed discussions of plants exported to the ‘Old World’ on ginger and the early uses of coca in Peru.
[AUBIN, NICOLAS] (b. 1665)
DICTIONAIRE DE MARINE CONTENANT LES TERMES DE LA NAVIGATION ET DE L’ARCHITECTURE NAVALE AVEC LES REGLES & PROPORTIONS QUI DOIVENT Y ETRE OBSERVEES. OUVRAGE ENRICHI DE FIGURES REPRESENTANT DIVERS VAISSEAUX, LES PRINCIPALES PIECES SERVANT A LEUR CONSTRUCTION, LES DIFFERENS PAVILLONS DES NATIONS, LES INSTRUMENS DE MATHEMATIQUE, OUTILS DE CHARPENTERIE & MENUISERIE CONCERNANT LA FABRIQUE; AVEC LES DIVERSES FONCTIONS DES OFICIERS.
A Amsterdam, Chez Pierre Brunel, Marchand Libraire, sur le Dam. 1702. Avec Privilége de Noss, les E’tats de Hollande & Westfrise.
This is a first edition dictionary detailing technical terms used in navigation and shipbuilding. It was also an early essential reference, profusely illustrated, and including measures, rules, and proportions that should be considered when building a ship or boat. The volume contains 88 nicely rendered flags, all indicating their colors by hatching and following an assortment of heraldic conventions.
BARTRAM, WILLIAM (1739-1823)
TRAVELS THROUGH NORTH & SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, EAST & WEST FLORIDA, THE CHEROKEE COUNTRY, THE EXTENSIVE TERRITORIES OF THE MUSCOGULGES, OR CREEK CONFEDERACY, AND THE COUNTRY OF THE CHACTAWS; CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOIL AND NATURAL PRODUCTIONS OF THOSE REGIONS, TOGETHER WITH OBSERVATIONS ON THE MANNERS OF THE INDIANS. EMBELLISHED WITH COPPER-PLATES BY WILLIAM BARTRAM.
Philadelphia: Printed by James & Johnson, 1791.
This is the very rare and highly important first edition detailing the southern states natural history and exploration. Bartram’s accounts and descriptions are vivid and precise. He deals with the remote frontier, plantations, trading posts, and Indian villages at the end of the eighteenth century. There is a chapter devoted to the customs and languages of the Muscogulges and Cherokees. This particular copy once belonged to Benjamin Hornor, a prominent merchant and abolitionist from Philadelphia.
HALLER, ALBRECHT VON (1708-1777)
D. ALBERTI HALLER ARCHIATRI REGII & ELECTORALIS, MED. ANAT. CHIR. BOT. P. P. O. SOC. REG. ANGL. & SUEC. SOD. ENUMERATIO METHODICA STIRPIUM HELVETIAE INDIGENARUM QUA OMNIUM BREVIS DESCRIPTIO ET SYNONYMIA COMPENDIUM VIRIUM MEDICARUM DUBIARUM DECLARATIO NOVARUM ET RARIORUM VBERIOR HISTORIA ET ICONES CONTINENTUR. TOMUS I [-TOMUS II]. [Etched and engraved vignette, signed “Huber pinx. fecid G. D. Heuman Acad Götting Sculptor:”]. AETERNAE GLACIES & INHOSPITA CULMINA METTI VOS NON FLORA SINET, NON OPTATISSIMA RERUM LIBERTAS, ANIMIS UNQUAM DECEDERE NOSTRIS.
Gottingae (Göttingen) Ex Officina Academica Abrami Vandenhoek. 1742.
This is the rare first edition of a ground breaking reference tome on the flora of Switzerland and Europe. Haller attempted to address the most problematic issues of his time on botanical nomenclature. He worked ardently on trying to develop a comprehensive system that varied from Linnaeus. This particular copy has 24 remarkable plates by Christian Friedrich Fritsch (1719-1774) and Christian Jeremias Rollin. It was once a part of the University of Jena’s collection. The book has a specially commissioned binding designed for the reader to access the text and plates simultaneously.
JAUME SAINT-HILAIRE, JEAN-HENRI (1772-1845)
EXPOSITION DES FAMILLES NATURELLES ET DE LA GERMINATION DES PLANTES, PAR JAUME ST.-HILAIRE; CONTENANT LA DESCRIPTION DE DEUX MILLE TROIS CENT TRENTE-SEPT GENRES, ET D’ENVIRON QUATRE MILLE ESPECES, LES PLUS UTILES ET LES PLUS INTERESSANTES. CENT DIX-SEPT PLANCHES, DONT LES FIGURES ONT ETE DESSINEES PAR L’AUTEUR, REPRESENTENT LES CARACTERES DES FAMILLES ET LES DIFFERENS MODES DE GERMINATION DES PLANTES MONOCOTYLEDONES ET DICOTYLEDONES. TOME PREMIER. [-TOME SECOND].
Paris, Chez Treuttel et Würtz, rue de Lille, no. 703, derrière les Théatins. Et à Strasbourg, même Maison de Commerce. An XIII. – 1805.
Jaume’s first book and only edition covering 4,000 species of flowering plants, many indigenous to the Americas. The stem, flower, seeds, germination habits, and native range are portrayed. Scholarly secondary sources are also cited and the ‘Botanical Dictionary’ in volume II is keyed to all the plates. The author worked with Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton (1716-1799) and Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836); he also studied botanical illustration with the prominent Dutch painter, Gerard van Spaendonck (1746-1822).
JOHNSON, LAURENCE (1845-1893)
DECEMBER A MANUAL OF THE MEDICAL BOTANY OF NORTH AMERICA BY LAURENCE JOHNSON, A.M., M.D., LECTURER ON MEDICAL BOTANY, MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK; FELLOW OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE, AND OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES; MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE OF REVISION OF THE PHARMACOPOEIA OF THE UNITED STATES, MEMBER OF THE TORREY BOTANICAL CLUB, ETC.
New York William Wood & Company 56 & 58 Lafayette Place 1884.
A 292 page manual on the importance and up-to-date changes in medical botany, giving thorough descriptions and uses of plants by a New York medical doctor, Laurence Johnson. The illustrations were also lithographed by Dr. Laurence.
LOWE, EDWARD JOSEPH (1825-1900) & HOWARD, W.
BEAUTIFUL LEAVED PLANTS; BEING A DESCRIPTION OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LEAVED PLANTS IN CULTIVATION IN THE COUNTRY; TO WHICH IS ADDED AN EXTENDED CATALOUGE. BY E. J. LOWE, ESQ., F.R.A.S., F.L.S., F.G.S., F.Z.S., M.B.M.S., HON. MEM. DUBLIN NAT. HIST. SOC., MEM. GEOLOG. SOC., EDINB., CORR. MEM. LYCEUM NAT. HIST., NEW YORK, CORR. MEM. MANCHESTER LIT. AND PHIL. SOC., ETC., AUTHOR OF A “NATURAL HISTORY OF BRITISH AND EXOTIC FERNS,” “BRITISH GRASSES,” ETC., ETC. ASSISTED BY W. HOWARD, F.H.S. WITH SIXTY COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
London: Groombridge and Sons, 5, Paternoster Row. 1861.
A first edition in book form and first issued in 20 parts between 1859 and 1861. This small florilegium on unique leaved cultivated plants is illustrated with 60 fine quality wood engravings by Benjamin Fawcett (1808-1893).
MOFFETT, THOMAS (1553-1604)
INSECTORUM SIVE MINIMORUM ANIMALIUM THEATRUM: OLIM AB EDOARDO WOTTONO. CONRADO GESNERO. THOMAQUE PENNIO INCHOATUM : TANDEM THO. MOVFETI LONDINATIS OPERA SUMPTIBUSQ; MAXIMIS CONCINNATUM, AUCTUM, PERFECTUM: ET AD VIVUM EXPRESSIS ICONIBUS SUPRA QUINGENTIS ILLUSTSRATUM.
Londini ex Officinâ typographicâ Thom. Cotes. 1634.
An informative first edition by the English physician, Thomas Moffett, who compiled one of the first treatises on insects. This also being the first one published in England; the work illustrates and describes insect habits, habitats, breeding and economic importance, plus a compelling emphasis on bees. The work was first started by Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), and after his death, the manuscripts were sold to a Thomas Penny. Penny had added some text entries but died in 1589. Moffett rescued all the materials from Penny’s estate and then followed through with the publishing in 1634. He contributed numerous descriptions on spiders, crustacean, and worms to the work.
PHILLIP, ARTHUR (GOVERNOR, 1738-1814)
THE VOYAGE OF GOVERNOR PHILLIP TO BOTANY BAY; WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COLONIES OF PORT JACKSON & NORFOLK ISLAND; COMPILED FROM AUTHENTIC PAPERS, WHICH HAVE BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS. TO WHICH ARE ADDED, THE JOURNALS OF LIEUTS. SHORTLAND, WATTS, BALL, & CAPT. MARSHALL; WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THEIR NEW DISCOVERIES [VIGNETTE] EMBELLISHED WITH FIFTY FIVE COPPER PLATES, THE MAPS AND CHARTS TAKEN FROM ACTUAL SURVEYS, & THE PLANS & VIEWS DRAWN ON THE SPOT, BY CAPT. HUNTER, LIEUTS. SHORTLAND, WATTS, DAWES, BRADLEY, CAPT. MARSHALL, ETC.
London Printed for John Stockdale, Piccadilly. 1789.
This is a first official account of the voyage to Botany Bay. The work is based on Governor Phillip’s personal journals and dispatches on the settlement at Port Jackson. The Governor had every journal and paper sent to the publisher, Stockdale, in 1788. The book discusses the journey and how the new settlement helped to modernize Australia. A chapter is devoted to the fauna, plus there are seven accurate maps depicting the coastline and ports. Phillip also listed the convicts that were sent to help build and organize the new commune.
PUTSCHE, CARL WILHELM ERNST (1765-1834)
VERSUCH EINER MONOGRAPHIE DER KARTOFFELN OBER AUSFUHRLICHE BESCHREIBUNG DER KARTOFFELN, NACH IHRER GESCHICHTE, CHARAKTERISTIK, CULTUR UND ANWENDUNG IN TEUTSCHLAND. VEARBEITET VON DR. CARL WILHELM ERNST PUTSCHE, PREDIGER ZU WENIGEN-JENA; DER K. PREUSS. AKADEMIE GEMEINNUKIGER WISSENSCHAFTEN ZU ERFURT CORRESPONDIRENDEM, DER K. GACHT. OKONOMISCHEN GESEUSCHAFT ZU LEIPZIG UND DER GROSSHERZOGLICHEN MINERALOGISCHEN GESELLSCHAFT ZU JENA CHRENMITGLIEDE, UND HERAUSGEGEBEN VON DR. FRIEDRICH JUSTIN BERTUCH, CROSSHERZOGLICH GASCS. WEIMARISCHEM LEGATIONS-RATHE, RITTER DES WEISSEN FALKEN- ORBENS, DIRECTOR DER K. PREUSS. AKADEMIE GEMEINNUSSIGER WISSENSCHAFTEN ZU ERFURT UND MEHRERER ANBERER GELEHRTEN KESELLSCHAFTEN MITGLIEDE. MIT AUSGEMALTEN UND SCHWARZEN KUPFERN.
Weimar, im Verlage des Kr. H. G. priv. Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs. 1819.
This is the first edition of Putsche’s famous monograph on the potato, Solanum tuberosum. The author describes 33 potato varieties, their different qualities, cultivation, and food use. Putsche discusses in his preface how the work is meant to alleviate the scarcity of information on one of the most vital staples in the world’s diet. He gives a comprehensive history on the potato and its versatile uses, including paper production. The work is beautifully illustrated with nine hand-colored engravings and four uncolored ones.
[RICH, OLIVER O.]
SYNOPSIS OF THE GENERA OF AMERICAN PLANTS, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST IMPROVEMENTS ON THE LINNAEN SYSTEM: WITH THE NEW GENERA OF MICHAUX AND OTHERS. INTENDED FOR THE USE OF STUDENTS IN BOTANY. --- WAS EV’RY FAULTERING TONGUE OF MAN, ALMIGHTY FATHER! SILENT IN THY PRAISE, THY WORKS THEMSELVES WOULD RAISE A GENERAL VOICE; EV’N IN THE DEPTH OF SOLITARY WOODS, BY HUMAN FOOT UNTROD, PROCLAIM THY POW’R, AND TO THE CHOIR CELESTIAL THEE RESOUND, TH’ ETERNAL CAUSE, SUPPORT AND END OF ALL. THOMPSON.
Georgetown, District of Columbia. Printed by J. M. Carter, For J. Milligan, and Richards and Mallory, Georgetown. A. Finley, Philadelphia --- Eastburn, Kirk and Co. New-York--- Cummings and Hilliard, and Bradford and Reed, Boston , --- E.J. Coale, Baltimore, 1814. An early guide encompassing 178 pages of text for students on American plants, based on the system of Linnaeus, and printed in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Baltimore.
SCHINZ, HEINRICH RUDOLF (1777-1861)
ABBILDUNGEN AUS DER NATURGESCHICHTE MIT TEXT VON DR. H.R. SCHINZ LITHOGRAPHIRT IN DER KUNSTANSTALT V. FR. SCHULTHESS.
Zürich bei Friedrich Schulthess [1824-1828]
This is an exceptional encyclopedic first edition of natural history produced in the early 19th century. The volume is divided into four sections: animals, birds, reptiles, and plants. Schinz was a Swiss physician, naturalist, and professor of zoology at the University of Zürich, where he founded the zoological collection and published a number of works in related fields of zoology and anthropology. The quality of lithography is extraordinary, much more than the later editions.
SGRILLI, BERNARDO SANSONE, CONTE (active 1733-1755) & DELLA BELLA, STEFANO (1610-1664)
DESCRIZIONE DELLA REGIA VILLA, FONTANE, E FABBRICHE DI PRATOLINO.
[Colophon, B6 recto]: In Firenze, l’anno 1742. Nella Stamperia Granducale. Per i Tartini, e Franchi. Con Licenza de’ Superiori.
The first and only edition of Sgrilli’s description of the highly acclaimed Medici villa and garden at Pratolino. This was one of Italy’s most ingenious, enchanting, and influential Renaissance gardens. Both villa and garden were designed and built from 1568 to 1586 for Francesco de’ Medici (1541-1587). By the end of the century, Pratolino had become the most famous garden throughout Europe. Unfortunately, the villa and gardens were demolished in the early 19th century for an English style garden, but many of the statues were taken to the Boboli gardens in Florence. The only significant fragment that now survives is the large figure of the Apennino by the sculptor Giambologna (b. Jean Boulogne, 1529-1608). The gifted artist, Stefano Della Bella, drew and etched the plates for the publication. These illustrations are now accurate testimonials to this exquisite garden.
MEMOIRE ET JOURNAL D’OBSERVATIONS ET D’EXPERIENCES SUR LES MOYENS DE GARANTIR LES OLIVES DE LA PIQUURE DES INSECTES. NOUVELLE METHODE POUR EN EXTRAIRE UNE HUILE PLUS ABONDANTE & PLUS FINE, PAR L’INVENTION D’UN MOULIN DOMESTIQUE, AVEC LA MANIERE DE LA GARANTIR DE TOUTE RANCISSURE. OLIVAS HABEBIS IN OMNIBUS TERMINIS TUIS & NON UNGERIS OLEO, QUIA DEFLUENT & PERIBUNT. DEUT. CHAP. 28 V. 40. PRESENTE A L’ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES DE PARIS, LE 21 JANVIER 1769, PAR M. SIEUVE, DE MARSEILLE.
A Paris. De l’Imprimerie de Michel Lambert, rue des Cordeliers, au Collège de Bourgogne. 1769.
This is the first important edition of Sieuve’s early examination on olives and olive oil. This definitive work discusses an improved method of extracting oil, local varieties of olive trees, and the amounts and properties of oil that is produced through the milling process. Pest control, fermentation, storing, and transportation of the oils is also examined.
SONNERAT, PIERRE (1748-1814)
VOYAGE A LA NOUVELLE GUINEE, DANS LEQUEL ON TROUVE LA DESCRIPTION DES LIEUX, DES OBSERVATIONS PHYSIQUES & MORALES, & DES DETAILS RELATIFS A L’HISTOIRE NATURELLE DANS LE REGNE ANIMAL & LE REGNE VEGETAL. PAR. M. SONNERAT, SOUS-COMMISSAIRE DE LA MARINE, NATURALISTE, PENSIONNAIRE DU ROI, CORRESPONDANT DE SON CABINET & DE L’ACADEMIE ROYALE DES SCIENCES DE PARIS, ASSOCIE A CELLES DES SCIENCES, BEAUX-ARTS & BELLES-LETTRES DE LYON. ENRICHI DE CENT VINGT FIGURES EN TAILLE DOUCE.
A Paris, Chez Ruault, Libraire, rue de la Harpe. 1776.
This is the first edition of a profusely illustrated natural history on New Guinea and the Philippines. The volume contains 120 engraved and etched plates, all after drawings by Sonnerat. The work is known for its depiction of several birds. In 1771, Sonnerat went on an expedition to investigate the trees and spices of the Philippines and Moluccas; however, several accounts of some voyages were based on observations from sea, apparently due to unfriendly natives. The volume also contains wonderful engravings of plants, fruits, costal views, and ships.
SORGUES, PAUL DE & BERTHAULT, RAYMOND
LES RAISINS SECS LEUR ROLE ET LEUR IMPORTANCE DANS L’ALIMENTATION ETUDE ECONOMIQUE ET SOCIALE PAR PAUL DE SORGUES ET RAYMOND BERTHAULT HISTORIQUE-PRODUCTION-IMPORTATION-EXPORTATION-TARIFS DE DOUANES LE COMMERCE DES VINS DE RAISINS SECS CONSOMMATION-IMPOSITIONS-LEGISLATION-DIVERS USAGES DES RAISINS SECS LES NOUVELLES MESURES HYGIENE – LA SCIENCE ET LES RAISINS SECS – TRAITES DE COMMERCE LES RAISINS AU PARLEMENT ET A L’ACADEMIE-CONSIDERATIONS ECONOMIQUES ET SOCIALES LES RAISINS SECS ET LEUR ROLE DANS L’ALIMENTATION OUVRIERE.
Paris Léon Carpentier, Editeur Montdidier – 1890
A first edition of an interesting study on the production and consumption of raisins. Sorgues examines its use as food and for being made into wine. There are many chapters reviewing the public’s perception and consumption of raising raisins and the various laws that surround production and the selling process. There are other chapters outlining the history, production, commerce, and vinification.
SUMMER, WILLIAM (1815-1878) (POMARIA NURSERIES, SOUTH CAROLINA)
[In manuscript: REVISED PRICE LIST.] ESTABLISHED 1840. DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE OF SOUTHERN AND ACCLIMATED FRUIT TREES, EVERGREENS, ROSES, GRAPE-VINES, ORNAMENTAL TREES, SHRUBS, ETC., CULTIVATED AND FOR SALE AT THE POMARIA NURSERIES, BY WM. SUMMER, POMARIA, S.C.
Columbia, S.C. Calvo & Patton, State Printers. 1878.
An interesting and rare nursery catalogue offering a variety of plants from Pomaria Nurseries in South Carolina by a Mr. William Summer.
SWEET, ROBERT (1783-1835)
FLORA AUSTRALASICA; OR, A SELECTION OF HANDSOME, OR CURIOUS PLANTS, NATIVES OF NEW HOLLAND, AND THE SOUTH SEA ISLANDS; CONTAINING COLOURED FIGURES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF SOME OF THE CHOICEST SPECIES MOST PROPER FOR THE CONSERVATORY OR GREENHOUSE, AND MANY OF WHICH WILL ENDURE THE COLD OF OUR CLIMATE, IN THE OPEN AIR, WITH A VERY LITTLE PROTECTION; WITH MAGNIFIED DISSECTIONS OF THEIR MOST ESSENTIAL PARTS, THEIR NAMES, DESCRIPTIONS, & A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE BEST METHOD OF CULTIVATION AND PROPAGATION. THE GREATER PART ARE HANDSOME EVERGREEN SHRUBS, AND MANY PRODUCE SWEET-SCENTED FLOWERS; AND AS THEY ARE GENERALLY OF FREE GROWTH, AND EASILY MANAGED, THEY MAY BE CONSIDERED AS THE MOST DESIRABLE PLANTS FOR CULTIVATION. IN ONE VOLUME. BY ROBERT SWEET, F.L.S. AUTHOR OF HORTUS SUBURBANUS LONDINENSIS, HORTUS BRITANNICUS, BOTANICAL CULTIVATOR, THE BRITISH FLOWER GARDEN, GERANIACEAE, CISTINEAE, THE FLORIST’S GUIDE, THE BRITISH WARBLERS, &C. THE DRAWINGS BY E.D. SMITH, F.L.S. BOTANICAL ARTIST.
London: James Ridgway, 169, Piccadilly. 1827-1828.
A first edition of the most attractive of all Australian botanical books and the first with illustrations taken from live specimens rather than from dried plants or field sketches. There are a total of 56 hand-colored engraved and etched plates, all after drawings by Edwin Dalton Smith (1813-1846). Many of the Australian species depicted were grown in London nurseries and private gardens from seeds and the planting was based on Sir Joseph Banks’ methods. Sweet was strictly interested in cultivation, rather than botanical classification systems.
THOMSON, JAMES (1700-1748)
THE SEASONS. BY MR. THOMSON.
London: Printed in the Year 1730
A charming first edition by the Scottish poet, James Thomson. Each season is dedicated to an individual: Spring, the Countess of Hartford; Summer, to a Mr. Dodington; Autumn, to Arthurs Onslow, a Speaker of the House of Common; Winter, to Lord Wilmington. This work was seen as the birth of the English Romantic School movement. There is also “A Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton.” It is bound with another work by Thomson, “Britannica. A Poem…The Second Edition Corrected,” London, 1730.
WHITE, JOHN (circa 1756-1832)
JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO NEW SOUTH WALES WITH SIXTY-FIVE PLATES OF NON DESCRIPT ANIMALS, BIRDS, LIZARDS, SERPENTS, CURIOUS CONES OF TREES AND OTHER NATURAL PRODUCTIONS BY JOHN WHITE ESQRE. SURGEON GENERAL TO THE SETTLEMENT. [Vignette] VIEW IN PORT JACKSON.
London, Printed for J. Debrett, Piccadilly, 1790
This work is considered as the most important account of a ‘First Fleet’ voyage documenting the natural history of New South Wales. White accompanied Governor Arthur Phillip on two journeys of exploration and kept meticulous records of each one. Several sketches of birds and plants were done by convicts who had previous careers as professional forgers. Many of the plates issued in this publication were drawn in England by several contemporary natural history artists that actually based their work on the convicts’ sketches. The publication was very successful and had seven hundred subscribers.
YK, CORNELIUS VAN (fl. 1697)
DE NEDERLANDSCHE SCHEEPS-BOUW-KONST OPEN GESTELT. VERTOONENDE NAAR WAT REGEL, OF EVENREDENHEYD, IN NEDERLAND MEEST ALLE SCHEEPEN WERDEN GEBOUWD; MITSGADERS MASTEN, ZEYLEN, ANKERS, EN TOUWEN, ENZ. DAAR AAN GEPAST. SOO UIT DE SCHRISTEN VAN OUDER, ALS JONGER BOUW-MEESTERS, ALS OOK BY EYGEN ONDERVINDINGE, TOT NUT VAN ALLE JONGE BOUW-MEESTERS, EN KNECHTEN, ALS OOK UITREEDERS, EN LIEF HEBBERS VAN SCHEEPEN, T’SAMEN GESTELT DOOR CORNELIS VAN YK, SCHEEPSTIMMERMAN. MET KOPERE FIGUEREN, TER MATERIE DIENENDE, VERRYKT.
Gedrukt by Andries Voorstad, tot Delft, Voor Jan ten Hoorn, Boekverkoper tot Amsterdam over ‘t Oude Heere Logement, 1697.
First edition, second issue, of a richly illustrated book on practical ship building. It is considered to be a very important source for the history of the construction and equipment of Dutch ships during the 17th century. Ancient and foreign ships are also discussed and illustrated in the first four chapters. The illustrations are by Jan Luyken (1649-1712) and Casper Luyken (1672-1708).
These eclectic and versatile acquisitions though the Lambert Foundation have significantly enhanced the Oak Spring Garden Library’s collection. Some of these acquisitions were acquired before Mrs. Mellon’s passing; nevertheless, as Mrs. Mellon believed, collecting in any library must continue on for the future’s sake.
Mr. Lambert and Mrs. Mellon were passionate readers and collectors. Their love of the sea, history, and gardening will live on through the mission of the Foundation. We hope to have all of these fascinating Lambert acquisitions digitized soon for the public to enjoy and review.
About the Lambert Foundation
Digital Imaging Requests:To facilitate the goal of providing on-line access to OSGL resources, the Library maintains a state-of-the-art, digital photography studio and digital imaging lab.
Utilizing both medium and large format digital capture and printing equipment, the Library’s studio is capable of producing extremely accurate, high-resolution digital facsimiles of books and manuscripts residing within the Library’s collection. The studio’s main objective is to digitize works for access via the OSGL web site and other online access portals.
The Library also considers direct requests for specific resources that reside in the Library’s collection but have not yet been digitized for online access. Request will only be considered as part of an academic research venture or publication. Depending on the volume and/or scope of the request, fees may apply.
Resource requests generally include:• High resolution digital photographs;
• Access to existing digital images via download;
• Digital inkjet prints.
To make a request, please write or e-mail:Oak Spring Garden LibraryDigital Resource Request1746 Loughborough Lane, Upperville, Virginia 20184 USA
With your request, please include your name, organization, position, the specific items you are requesting, and the specific intended use of the requested items.
The Oak Spring Garden Library is home to a large collection of
rare books, manuscripts, works of art, and other artifacts relating to gardens, gardening, landscape design, horticulture, and botany.
As part of its mission,the Oak Spring Garden Foundation is working toward expanding accessability of the library’s collection for academic research, academic publications, and other scholarly purposes. Currently, available options include:
• Digital imaging requests
• Research visits to OSGL
• Online access to the Library’s rare-book and manuscript database
• Online access to the Library's botanical artwork digitizing project
• Oak Spring Garden Library publication series (available for purchase)
More information is available via the links above. If you have any questions or have a special request, please email the Library.
Visiting the Oak Spring Garden Library
Oak Spring Garden Library Resources
Digital Imaging Requests
These websites may provide useful information concerning plant sciences and other related fields. There are, of course, many other organizations with websites offering online resources that are not listed here. The Oak Spring Garden Library provides these links as a convenience to its online visitors; the Oak Spring Garden Library is not directly affiliated with any of these organizations. Each link opens in a new browser page.
The Oak Spring Garden Library Publication Series
Since 1997, the Oak Spring Garden Library has produced and published a series of catalogues describing selections of the rare books, manuscripts, works of art, and related artifacts in the Oak Spring Garden Library, a collection fromed by Rachel Lambert Mellon. The series consists of four beautifully illustrated hardcover volumes, one each on the subject of trees (Sylva), fruit (Pomona), flowers (Flora), and herbals (Herbaria); each is available for purchase only through the Library.
The Oak Spring Garden Library allows students and scholars visit for specific academic and research pursuits. Visits are scheduled by appointment only; the library is not open to the general public.
If you would like to visit the Library for specific research purposes, please submit a written request via regular mail or email. With your request, please include your full name, organization, and the specific item(s) that you would like to view.
All requests are handled individually; however, we only consider those associated with a related academic research venture or publication endeavor.
To make a request, please write or email:Oak Spring Garden Library
Library Visit Request
1746 Loughborough Lane, Upperville, Virginia 20184 USA
Available for Sale as Individual Volumes or as a Four-Volume Set
An Oak Spring SylvaThe first volume in a series describing selections of rare books, manuscripts, works of art, and related artifacts in the Oak Spring Garden Library, a collection fromed by Rachel Lambert Mellon.
The smallest volume of the series, it describes nearly 50 books and manuscriptson the subject of trees.
Hardcover, 150 pages
An Oak Spring PomonaThis is the second book in the Oak Spring Garden Library publication series.
The Pomona describes one hundred manuscripts and books about fruit, with illustrations taken from some of the most beautiful books, drawings, and paintings on the subject.
Hardcover, 228 pages
OSGL Research Visits
An Oak Spring FloraThis, the third volume in the series, is an authoritative and magnificently illustrated presentation of the art of flower depiction in the West.
Over 100 items from the Oak Spring collection are included: manuscript florilegia, botanical prints, books of instruction, still-life and vanitas paintings, and various ornamental ceramics and textiles.
Hardcover, 430 pages
An Oak Spring HerbariaBeautifully illustrated, the 4th volume is thematically organized as follows: Late Medieval Herbals; The Great Age of Renaissance Botany; Herbals & Plants from Distant Lands; Herbals by Herbalists, Pharmacists & Physicians; Herbals of the Botanical Gardens and Private Gardens of Europe; Curious & Strange Herbals; Dried Specimens & Nature Printing; and, American Herbals.
Hardcover, 398 pages
• Botanical Artwork Database:- Searches within the manuscript database
- Searches can be “record-based” or “item-based”- Requires Adobe Flash PlayerThe botanical artwork database allows searches at both the record-level and at the item-level. Searches can be made across the entire database based on scientific names, common names, title, creator, and more. Searches can also utilize a combination of general parameters such as country, period, gender, and medium.
Record-level results will return the entire record along with access to digital images (if available) of the individual items within the manuscript.
Item-level searchs provide direct links to available digital images, along with basic information about the item and, if desired, access to the parent record.
Search for Digitized Botanical Artwork
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The Oak Spring Garden Library collection is significant, and searching for specific items without some help can be a challenge. Fortunately, the Library now provides visitors with free online access to its rare book and manuscript database.
In addition to database availability, the Library is actively digitizing the botanical artwork within its manuscript collection for online availability using the new web-based search interface with expanded resources and search options.
Search Rare Books & Manuscripts Database
Search Botanical Artwork
Search Rare Books and Manuscripts
• Rare Book & Manuscript Database:- Primarily text-based record information - Database search engine opens in a new web pageThis method essentially allows a user to search the database to determine if works of a given title, or by a given author or artist are part of the Library’s available resources. Searches can be initiated for rare books as well as for manuscripts.
Search parameters can be made increasingly more specific by utilizing one or more of the pre-defined data-fields, or they can be general by “user-entered” keyword searches. Regardless of the method, the search returns the database record of a matching item. A record-match for “Tulip” will return the entire parent record in which “Tulip” was found –either in a specified field, or, in the case of a keyword search, anywhere within the record.
Papier-mâché botanical models with black wooden bases
Rare Book Collection
Original Drawings for a Curious HerbalElizabeth Blackwell (circa 1737-1739)
Manuscripts Collection - Oak Spring Garden Library
The OSGL manuscript collection contains nearly 1,000 objects—totaling roughly 10,000 individual items. While many of the items are beautiful examples of botanical illustration from the 18th and 19th centuries, the entire collection spans the mid-14th century to the 21st century.
Most of the manuscript collection relates to botany, horticulture, gardens, natural science, and other related fields. Watercolor (on paper, parchment, or vellum) is the dominant medium; however, there are other beautiful works created using other media and methods.
Some of the interesting objects that make-up the Library's manuscript collection include:
Buch der Natur, Konrad von Megenberg (circa 1350).
A 14th century encyclopedic work on natural history. 331 leaves with manuscript text, and richly illustrated with tempera drawings.
Original Drawings for "A Curious Herbal",
Elizabeth Blackwell (circa 1737-1739) —72 watercolors, including 65 that were the original studies for Blackwell’s "A Curious Herbal."
Drawings of Chinese plants and fish by native artists under the direction of John Bradby Blake,
Chinese School (circa 1770-1744) —Eleven volumes of illustrations and documents produced during Blake's eight years in China for the East India Company, the documents are the most extensive—if not the only surviving—autographical documentation of Blake's adventure in China.
Vine Leaf Marinade, Andy Warhol (circa 1955). An ink and watercolor drawing of a—seemingly—satirical recipe for a luncheon menu.
Rare Book Collection
The Oak Spring Garden Library Collection
Other OSGL Collections
Search the Rare Book and Manuscript Database
Book of Hours (1527) / Rare Books Collection - Oak Spring Garden Library
Artifact Collection:The Oak Spring Garden Library has an eclectic collection of rare and interesting artifact objects which include:
— A 19th century American wooden box, 4 5/8 x 9 ½ x 7 inches, covered with theorem paintings of fruit vignettes with borders of grapes and banded in gold. Inscribed in pencil on underside of lid: “Miss Nancy Barnum,” [Connecticut, 1830].
— A Rufus Porter (1792-1884) box, 5 5/8 x 9 5/8 x 7 ¾ inches, made of wood with painted trees.
— Eight papier-mâché botanical models with black wooden bases, demonstrating the various parts of each flower; all used for teaching and classroom instruction during the Enlightenment in Vienna, Austria, each one is about 17 ¼ inches in height.
— One female melon flower, also papier-mâché model, made in Berlin,
R. Brendel Studio in the early 1900s with moveable sections to demonstrate the various parts of the plant, measuring 21 ¼ inches in length.
— An Empire style gold clock of a sunflower in a jardinière,
17 x 7 x 4 inches, early 1800s.
— A birdbath, carved limestone, by William Edmondson (1870-1951), executed around 1940s, and measuring 38 ½ x 30 ½ x 14 ½ inches.
— A bronze sculpture of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) sitting in a chair by John Tweed (1869-1933), executed in 1904, and measuring 8 ¼ x 8 5/8 x 6 ½ inches.
Modern Books Collection:The modern books collection is diverse and has over 10,000 volumes. Categories include: Architecture, Art, Art History, Botany, Cookbooks, Decorative Arts, Ethnobotany, Fruits & Vegetables, Gardens & Garden design, History, Herbals, Homesteading, Miscellaneous Literature, Nantucket, Natural History, Porcelain, Ships & Boats, and others. Anything printed after 1901 has been classified as a modern publication.
Children's Books Collection:Apart from the rare books, manuscripts, and drawings, there is a wonderful children’s books collection. There are about 950 books, some were given to Mrs. Mellon as a child. These books gave her an introduction to flowers and gardens. In the 1970s, Mr. and Mrs. Mellon purchased the Garnett Collection of books illustrated and owned by Arthur Rackham. Several contain his bookplate and a personal drawing by him. There are also several titles by Kate Greenaway and Boutet de Monvel.
The Oak Spring Garden Library collection is an assemblage of magnificent objects, most of which relate to gardens, gardening, botany, horticulture, and landscape design.
With more than 16,000 objects comprised of books, manuscripts, drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, and much more, the Oak Spring Garden Library has become a working resource center for both students and scholars.
The Library collection is divided into the following catagories:
• Rare Books
• Modern Books
• Children’s Books
While each collection has its own special significance, the rare book and manuscript collections are the most extensive and form the core of the Oak Spring Garden Library.
The Oak Spring Garden Library's website focuses primarily on the botanic works from within the rare book and manuscript collections.
The term "rare book" has no absolute definition; in fact, the criteria used to identify a "rare book" routinely varies from institution to institution.
Generally speaking, a rare book might be described as: any printed book whose age, value, rarity, or importance makes it desirable to catalog under a special description.
It could also be described as: any printed book which has value primarily as a physical object.
While the "rules" for identifying rare books may seem a bit subjective, there are three commonly accepted factors used in determining a book's rarity:
• Relative Importance
By itself, the age of a book is not a principle factor in determining rarity; however, a book’s date of printing can have considerable influence over its relative importance.
The Oak Spring Garden Library uses the following date guideline as an aid in determining the influence of a book's age on its relative importance:
• Books printed before 1501 (incunabula)
• Books printed between 1502 and 1900 (rare books)
• Books printed after 1900 (modern books)
These dates are rough guidelines to assist in the identification of rare books; however, they are always subject to the overriding factors of a book’s intrinsic importance and its condition.
The rare book collection consists of 2,500 volumes dating back to 1499—many of which are in exceptional condition. We hope to have many of the volumes digitized in the future to help with scholarly requests and educational endeavors.
Buch der natur
Konrad von Megenberg (circa 1350)
Manuscripts Collection-Oak Spring Garden Library
Search the OSGL Digitizing Project for Botanical Artwork
The Oak Spring Garden Library comprises Rachel Lambert Mellon's celebrated collection of rare books, manuscripts, works of art and other related artifacts concerning gardens, gardening, landscape design, horticulture, and botany.
The collection is conserved at Upperville, Virginia, in a striking library originally designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes in consultation with Rachel Mellon. Over time, a new wing, designed by Thomas M. Beach in consultation with Rachel Mellon, was added to house the expanding number of items comprising the collection.
The Library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts related to gardening, landscape design, horticulture, and botany is nothing short of extraordinary. For qualified scholars and researchers working within these fields, the Oak Spring Garden Library is both a world-renowned historical archive and a day-to-day working resource.
Today, it is the mission of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation to perpetuate and share the gift of Rachel Lambert Mellon’s Oak Spring Garden Library. The foundation is dedicated to advancing the fields of natural history, botany, horticulture, and landscape design by cultivating and facilitating scholarly research and academic endevors.
General Topic FAQs
Is the Oak Spring Garden Library (OSGL) open to the public?The library does not have hours open to the public. To visit the Library please submit a letter via regular mail or email stating your request to visit. Please include why you would like to visit the library. All requests are handled individually. We consider only those requests that are for a qualified research purpose.
Can items be borrowed from the Library?No, visiting researchers are allowed to study requested items in the library building during staffed hours only.
How do I contact the Library?The best way to contact us is by email. Generally, you can expect a response within one business day.
Are there particular days and/or hours that I should consider when making a research visit request?Regularly staffed hours at OSGL are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Library is closed on weekends and most federal holidays.
Will the Library give consideration to my schedule when reviewing my visit request?The library will make every effort to accommodate qualified visitors within a requested time-frame; however, the library's calendar dictates the times available and, on rare occasions, even a planned visit may possibly be postponed due to an unforeseen changes in the schedule.
How far is the Library located from Washington D.C. and where can I stay when visiting the Library?The Library is located about 1 hour (60 miles) west of Washington D.C. The closest place to stay is the Ashby Inn, located in Paris, Virginia. The nearby town of Middleburg also has several small inns.
Do you accept requests for images to be used in publications?Yes, we have our own in-house photographic studio. Depending upon the nature of your request, there may be fee accessed for this service. Please note that publication requests will only be considered for academic purposes; as a rule, commercial usage of OSGL images is prohibited. Please email us to make a request, or for more information.
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Contacting the Oak Spring Garden Library
For Digital Image Requests or for Research Visit Requests:Please email the Library at:
You can also submit requests by regular mail using the address listed below. We consider only those requests that are for a qualified research purpose. Digital image requests and research visit request will not be accepted over the phone.
For General Questions and Information:Please email the OSGL Office at:
To Contact the Library by Phone:The Library can be reached by phone at: (504) 592-3284.
Please keep in mind that visit and resource requests require information that must be submitted in writing and can not be submitted over the phone. The Library cannot accept unrequested phone solicitations of any kind.
Contacting the Library by Mail:The Oak Spring Garden Library1746 Loughborough LaneUpperville, Virginia 20184, USA
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Frequently Asked Questions:
Oak Spring News and Events
The OSGL Digitizing Project
OSGL Digitizing Project
Search for Botanical Artwork
It has long been the Library's vision to provide online access to digitized botanical artwork from within the Library's manuscript collection. While this is a daunting task, the project is well underway; in fact, it is already online and evolving as new items are added.
The Library's database represents each manuscript object as a single record entry; however, the physical manuscript may consist of dozens, or even hundreds, of individual artworks. The drawback is that artwork searches are currently limited to the information available in the parent record—which itself is very limited. One of the major goals of the digitizing project is to photograph, identify, and post these individual works to stand on their own, not just as part of the parent record.
To that end, the basic steps required are:
• High-resolution digital photography of each record item• Post-processing of the digital image files• Creation of a unique "sub-record" entry for each record item• Linking of each digital image to the appropriate metadata• Reconstruct each parent record entry to include all related sub-recordsThe benefit to all this work is that the database search engine will now have to access both record and sub-record metadata. Now, for example, a search for "Rosa" will return a collection of all matching sub-records and images from across the entire database, with or without the corresponding parent records.
With nearly 1,000 record entries—and nearly tenfold the number of individual items—this project will be "a work in progress" for some time; however, completed items are already available online, and new ones will be added progressively.
“My first awareness of the outside world, beyond the caring and loving hands that surrounded me, was of being very small near a bed of tall white phlox in my godmother’s garden. This towering forest of scent and white flowers was the beginning of ceaseless interest, passion, and pleasure in gardens and books. Like a magic carpet it has carried me through life’s experiences, discoveries, joys, and sorrows. In sadness especially, it has been a hiding-place until my heart mended.”
Bunny Mellon, 1989, preface, An Oak Spring Sylva
The Library, nestled quietly in the Piedmont region of northern Virginia, is a simple whitewashed stone building with large rectangular windows, allowing the natural world to come indoors and blend brightly with the various books, manuscripts, and drawings. Wildflowers and herbs grow as they choose in the surrounding meadows, along with several varieties of fruit trees and espaliers.
Rachel Lambert Mellon
Rachel Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon
Rachel Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon (1910-2014), was a talented American horticulturalist, gardener, philanthropist, decorator, and art collector. Nicknamed ‘Bunny’ by a nurse at birth, she was the eldest child of Rachel Lowe Parkhill Lambert (1889-1978), and Gerard Barnes Lambert (1886-1967).
Around the age of six, Rachel Lambert was living in Princeton, New Jersey, and became very intrigued by early fairy tales. Beautifully illustrated editions by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, Edmund Dulac, Kate Greenaway, H. Willebeck Le Mair, Beatrix Potter, and Arthur Rackham lined her bedroom shelves. She would routinely study gardens illustrated throughout these volumes and then make her own in flat wooden boxes using sand, small twigs, seeds, and glue. She grew plants in small clay pots that adorned her windowsill and she also gathered wildflower seeds from nearby fields and stream banks. Her interests were also sparked by observing the gardeners from the famous Boston based landscape firm, Olmsted Brothers, who were hired by her father to work on the grounds at her family home, Albemarle, in Princeton, New Jersey. As the young girl matured, so did her passion and desire to learn more about gardening, plants, and natural history. With the help and inspiration of her father, Gerard Barnes Lambert, and her New Hampshire grandfather, Arthur Houghton Lowe (1853-1932), the young Rachel Mellon started a lifelong pursuit of collecting rare and informative materials. She became interested and enchanted with the early writings of the Transcendentalists and the amazing tales of discovery from voyages of circumnavigation. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Sir Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook, and Sydney Parkinson were some of her favorites.
Over the course of time and with many responsibilities – including two marriages, raising children, overseeing households and their grounds, planning formal parties and events, designing and planting gardens for friends and family – the industrious Rachel Mellon continued to collect, read, and educate herself. Her purchases were mostly rare, printed or executed before 1900, as Mrs. Mellon claimed there were hardly any contemporary gardening works. Space soon became a problem for her as she had to literally store all these treasures in closets, basements, and even under her bed, only allowing her very favorites to be nearby for referral.
In the early 1970’s at a social gathering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Mellon was asked about her library. She replied she didn’t have a formal library and that most of her books were scattered about in various places. This response encouraged her second husband, Paul Mellon (1907-1999), to pay for a library building just for her personal collection.
In the spring of 1976 ground was first broken, and in 1981 the majority of Mrs. Mellon’s vast collections of horticulture and botany had been moved to one building, the Oak Spring Garden Library. During the next two decades, the Library once again outgrew its shelving and office space. A new wing was designed and completed, giving room for further expansion. Now with a total of 16,000 objects – books, both rare and modern, manuscripts, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures – the Oak Spring Garden Library has become a working resource center for students and scholars.
Today the Oak Spring Garden Library contains a very eclectic and diverse collection of artifacts and objects – all personally selected by Mrs. Mellon herself. The building, nestled in the Piedmont region of Northern Virginia, is a simple whitewashed stone building with large rectangular windows, which allows the natural world to come indoors and blend brightly with the various books, manuscripts, and drawings. Wildflowers and herbs grow naturally in the surrounding meadows, along with several varieties of fruit trees and espaliers. Regardless of the season, the overall design of the building and its landscape create an artistic and unusual aesthetic in the open countryside.
The collection today encompasses horticulture and landscape design, botany, natural history, boats and ships, voyages and travels, herbs and herbals, trees, flowers, fruit, fruit trees, architecture, decorative arts, and miscellaneous literature, i.e., poetry and classics. The Library has also published four discursive catalogues: An Oak Spring Sylva by Sandra Raphael (history of trees and tree cultivation); An Oak Spring Pomona by Sandra Raphael (history of fruit and fruit trees); An Oak Spring Flora by Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi (history of flowers and their iconography); An Oak Spring Herbaria by Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi and Tony Willis (history of herbs and herbals). These publications describe approximately 400 of the Library’s rare books, manuscripts, drawings, prints and decorative arts, and they can be purchased on this website.
The most profound way to describe this library and the years of collecting is from a quote that Mrs. Mellon wrote for the preface of an exhibition catalogue, An Oak Spring Garland. The exhibit, a small selection of objects from the Library, was in 1989 at Princeton University to commemorate the publishing of the first catalogue, An Oak Spring Sylva –
“This collection of books and drawings grew as a way of life, not just a gathering of rare and interesting books bought at the enticement of an enthusiastic bookseller, but chosen one by one for their special and unusual contents and design, as well as their relationship to books already part of the collection. It is a working library where mystery, fascination, and romance contribute to centuries of the art of gardening as a source of discovery.”
Here are some of Mrs. Mellon’s most important gardening and landscape endeavors:
--Helped her grandfather, Arthur Houghton Lowe with reforestation by planting thousands of trees in Rindge, New Hampshire.
--Between the ages of 12-18, worked at the family estate, Albemarle, in Princeton, New Jersey.
--Her first paid job was for her aunt’s garden, Paris, Virginia, the Old Toll House on Route 50.
--With permission from Miss Charlotte Haxall Noland (1883-1969), Mrs. Mellon worked on the Foxcroft School garden, Middleburg, Virginia.
--Hattie Carnegie (1880-1956), her garden in New Jersey where clothes were received as a form of payment.
--Designed a garden for Mary Mellon (1904-1946), Brick House, Oak Spring, Upperville, Virginia.
--She was responsible for all gardens and grounds at Carter Hall and Apple Hill, Millwood, Virginia.
--During marriage to Paul Mellon, designed landscaping for Oak Spring, Upperville, Virginia; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; New York City; Antigua, West Indies; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.
--Eliza Moore (1942-2008), her garden at Little Compton, Rhode Island.
--Middleburg Community Center Herb Garden, Middleburg, Virginia.
--Jean Schlumberger (1907-1987), his house and garden on 92nd Street, New York City.
--Joseph Alsop (1910-1989), his garden.
--Hubert de Givenchy (b. 1927), his Château du Jonchet garden and grounds, France.
--Potager du Roi, Versailles France, received the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her work.
--The River Farm, headquarters for the American Horticultural Society, Alexandria, Virginia.
--The White House Rose Garden, Washington, D.C.
--The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Washington, D.C.
--President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), memorial grave, Arlington, Virginia.
--Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), grave, Arlington, Virginia.
--The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts.
--The National Gallery of Art with Dan Kiley (1912-2004), landscape consultant for East Wing project, Washington, D.C.
--Carter Hall grounds for Project Hope, 1978, Millwood, Virginia.
--Awards: The American Horticultural Society Landscape Design, and The Royal Horticultural Society’s Veitch Gold Medal.
--In the 1930s she wrote a gardening column for The Clarke Currier, Berryville, Virginia.
On March 17, 2014, Mrs. Mellon died peacefully at her home in Upperville, Virginia, at the age of 103. It was her dream and aspiration for the Oak Spring Garden Library to continue to function as an educational entity for all who share in her life-long passion of books, gardens, and plants.
The Oak Spring Garden Library: A Lifelong Passion
Regardless of the season, the overall design of the building and its landscape create an artistic and unusual aesthetic in the open countryside.
Ground was first broken in the spring of 1976, and by 1981 the majority of Mrs. Mellon’s vast collections of horticulture and botany had moved into the Library’s single-wing structure. Over the next two decades, the Library outgrew its space and a new wing was designed and completed, giving room for further expansion. Now with a total of 16,000 objects – books, both rare and modern, manuscripts, drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures - the Oak Spring Garden Library has become a working resource center for students and scholars. The categories now cover horticulture and landscape design, botany, natural history, boats and ships, voyages and travels, herbs and herbals, trees, flowers, fruit, fruit trees, architecture, decorative arts, and miscellaneous literature, i.e., poetry and classics. Visitors from the United States and abroad have consulted the collection for exhibition preparation, scholarly study, and publications research.
About the Library
From her childhood on, Mrs. Mellon’s passion and desire to learn more about gardening, plants, and natural history was boundless. With the help and inspiration of her father, Gerard Barnes Lambert (1886-1967), and her grandfather, Arthur Houghton Lowe (1853-1932), the young Rachel Mellon began a lifelong pursuit of collecting rare and informative materials that would eventually become the Oak Spring Garden Library. Today, the Library is home to a very eclectic and diverse collection of books, manuscripts, artworks, and artifacts—all personally selected by Mrs. Mellon herself.
"...This collection of books and drawings grew as a way of life, not just a gathering
of rare and interesting books bought at the enticement of an enthusiastic bookseller, but chosen one by one for their special and unusual contents and design, as well
as their relationship to books already part of the collection. It is a working
library where mystery, fascination, and romance contribute to centuries of the art
of gardening as a source of discovery, and so the process remains to this day."
Rachel Lambert Mellon
Oak Spring Garden Library News
From the Oak Spring Garden Foundation Trustees:Following the plans developed by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, approximately 112 acres surrounding their home, gardens and library are being conveyed to the Oak Spring Garden Foundation to serve as a center for scholarship devoted to the history and future of plants, gardens, botanical art and their roles in society.
The Oak Spring Garden Library houses a collection of books and artwork that was begun by Mrs. Mellon when she was in her teens. In addition to rare and beautiful books are many other useful volumes tracing the history of gardening back to the fifteenth century including the early history of plant science. Years of continued curiosity added botanical and horticultural studies, garden designs, drawings of plants, botanical and related artworks, biographies of naturalists and explorers, accounts of their ships, their journeys, and their discoveries. The collection also includes manuscripts, illustrations, and china related to the books. The library has served as a reference source for scholars supported by Mr. and Mrs. Mellon. Visitors from the United States and abroad have consulted the collection for exhibition preparation, scholarly study, and publications research.
The Garden Library publications program has produced a series of award winning books: Oak Spring Sylva: A selection of the Rare Books on Trees in the Oak Spring Library, Upperville, Virginia (1989); An Oak Spring Pomona: A Selection of the Rare Books on Trees in the Oak Spring Garden Library (1990); An Oak Spring Flora: Flower Illustration from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Time - A selection of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon (1997); and An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries -A Selection of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon (2009).
The library is set into the gardens of Little Oak Spring, the Mellon home. The aim of the Foundation will be to create a place where scholars, professionals and practitioners from fields associated with History, Garden Design, Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Art, and plant sciences can meet and work, each gaining breadth and strength in her or his own field from the differing approaches of the others.
The Library will be associated with appropriate institutions within its fields of interest It will be a place for the study of plants: the practice and history of gardening (and associated horticulture); garden and landscape design; botanical art; the history of plant exploration; and current uses of plants in service to society. It will be open principally to scholars, practitioners, and interested groups by appointment. There will be a resident staff of both gardeners and scholars. Visiting scholars and gardeners will be inresidence for varying periods while working on projects.
On July 1, 2016, Sir Peter Crane will become President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation to guide the institution in developing its program to facilitate scholarship and public dialogue on the uses, history and future of plants. Dr. Crane is currently the Carl W. Knobloch , Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Professor of Botany at Yale University. His work focuses on the diversity of plant life: its origin and fossil history, current status, and conservation and use. From 1992 to 1999 he was Director of the Field Museum in Chicago with overall responsibility for the museum’s scientific programs. During this time he established the Office of Environmental and Conservation Programs and the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change, which eventually transformed into the Keller Science Action Center. From 1999 to 2006 he was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest and most influential botanical gardens in the world. His tenure at Kew saw strengthening and expansion of the gardens’ scientific, conservation, and public programs.
Dr. Crane was elected to the Royal Society (the U.K. academy of sciences) in 1998. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a member of the German Academy Leopoldina. He was knighted in the U.K. for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates of science from the University of Connecticut and from Cambridge University in the UK. He received the International Prize for Biology in December 2014. Dr. Crane currently serves on the Boards of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Field Museum, The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Yale-NUS College, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and Wellesley College.
OAK SPRING GARDEN FOUNDATION TRUSTEESW. Taylor Reveley III, Chairman
Lewis W. Bernard
Thomas E. Lovejoy
StaffWilliam Robertson IV, Interim President
Return to NEWS index
Just beyond the front door of the Oak Spring Garden Library lays the magnificent garden designed, created, and overseen by Mrs. Mellon. The garden spreads across a courtyard outside the private-residence and extend along a trellis-covered pathway to a large greenhouse surrounded by blue reflecting pools. The garden is tended year-round by the professional gardeners at Oak Spring.
The garden is in a continuous state of transformation throughout the year; each season has its own particular beauty; however, the spring is a particularly stunning time. The images below show some examples of the garden's magnificent flowers blooming this spring.
04/21/16 — Spring 2016 arrives at Oak Spring Garden
Oak Spring Garden: Spring 2016
Check this page for the latest news and developments from the Oak Spring Garden Library
04/17/16 — Message from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation Board of Trustees
Oak Spring Sylva
Purchase the four-volume set and save 20% compared to purchasing separately
Available as an individual volume or as a part of the four-volume set
An Oak Spring HERBARIA by Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi and Tony Willis
An Oak Spring Herbaria is the fourth volume in the Oak Spring series.
This authoritative and magnificently illustrated book on herbals is the fourth volume in a remarkable series of catalogues that describes rare books, manuscripts, and other works of art conserved at the Oak Spring Garden Library, Upperville, Virginia, a collection formed over many years by Rachel Lambert Mellon. Previously published volumes include An Oak Spring Sylva on trees, An Oak Spring Pomona on fruit, and An Oak Spring Flora on flowers.
For An Oak Spring Herbaria, the authors have selected sixty-three works from the Library’s extensive collections. The volume is thematically organized and arranged into the following chapters : ‘Late Medieval Herbals’; ‘The Great Age of Renaissance Botany’; ‘Herbals and Plants from Distant Lands’; ‘Herbals by Herbalists, Pharmacists, and Physicians’; ‘Herbals of the Botanical Gardens and Private Gardens of Europe’; ‘Curious and Strange Herbals’; ‘Dried Specimens and Nature Printing’; and ‘American Herbals.’
Harcover, 398 pages
The Oak Spring Garden Library publications program has produced a series of award winning books: An Oak Spring Sylva: A selection of the Rare Books on Trees in the Oak Spring Library, Upperville, Virginia (1989); An Oak Spring Pomona: A Selection of the Rare Books on Fruit Trees in the Oak Spring Garden Library (1990); An Oak Spring Flora: Flower Illustration from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Time - A selection of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon (1997); and An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries -A Selection of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon (2009). The links, above, provide short descriptions of each volume in the series.
An Oak Spring Sylva is the first of a series of catalogues describing selections of the rare books, manuscripts, works of art, and related artifacts in the Oak Spring Garden Library, a collection formed by Rachel Lambert Mellon.
This publication, discusses books and manuscripts on trees, is the smallest volume of the series, describing nearly fifty books, manuscripts, or drawings, from a tiny 1555 book on oaks to early nineteenth-century advice on large-scale tree-planting, a range including both great books, like Evelyn's Sylva, Duhamel's Traite des Arbres, and Michaux's North American Sylva, and more modest ones, like Marshall's American Grove, which helped introduce the riches of American forests to European gardens in the eighteenth century.
Each description makes clear the background of each book and its relationship to others, while a generous number of illustrations in color and black and white help to give an impression of their contents.
Harcover, 150 pages
An Oak Spring Flora is the third volume in the Oak Spring Garden Library series.
This authoritative and magnificently illustrated presentation of the art of flower depiction in the West is the third volume in a series of catalogues that describe the rare-in some cases unique-books, manuscripts, and other works of art conserved at Oak Spring Garden Library, a collection formed over many years by Rachel Lambert Mellon.
The author, Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, has selected more than one hundred items from Oak Spring's extensive holdings, which include superb manuscript florilegia, botanical prints, books of instruction of every kind, still-life and vanitas paintings, and various ornamental ceramics and textiles. Among them are examples by some of the greatest names ever to have worked in either scientific or decorative botanical art-Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, Georg Dionysius Ehret, Nicolas Robert, and Pierre Joseph Redoute.
Harcover, 430 pages
Oak Spring Garden Library PUBLICATIONS
An Oak Spring SYLVA by Sandra Raphael
Oak Spring Pomona
An Oak Spring FLORA by Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi
An Oak Spring Pomona is the second volume in the Oak Spring series.
The Pomona describes one hundred books and manuscripts about fruit, with illustrations taken from some of the most beautiful books on the subject, as well as from original drawings and paintings.
The earliest book described is Bussato's Giardino di Agricoltura of 1592, the latest The Herefordshire Pomona, and encyclopedia of apples and pears from the 1870s. In between there is a gathering of fruit books large and small: La Quintinie's Instruction pour les Jardins Fruitiers, first published in 1690 and translated by John Evelyn three years later, Duhamel's Traite des Arbres Fruitiers, and nearly fifty others from France and Britain, among them Brookshaw's giant Pomona Britannica and a handful of pocket-sized books of directions for grafting and cultivating the best varieties available.
Harcover, 228 pages