A show of mums

The Library of Congress labels this photo “Agriculture Department Dahlia Show,” 1911, but I’m sure it’s from the USDA’s annual Chrysanthemum show, which was held in one of the Department’s greenhouses in Washington, D.C.

The show in 1917.

The first of the annual exhibitions opened in October of 1902. I haven’t been able to find out anything more about them, but they were still being held in 1937.

In 1917.

All the photos here are by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Between 1915 and 1923.
In 1917.
Also 1917.

My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.

William Allen White (1868 – 1944)

I’m sure the same applied to mums.

Pasadena, California

The garden terrace of the Myron Hunt house, 200 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California, 1917, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This looks like such a tranquil and comfortable garden space — while at the same time, just a little mysterious. If you look closely, you can see that there is a simple rope and board swing hanging from a tree limb in the center, and at least one of the chairs is a rocking chair.

Hunt was a successful architect in Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. He designed this house and garden for himself in 1905. Today, the house survives, but the garden is gone.

There is another Johnston image of the garden here, looking across an open garden room to the steps and elevated bust shown above.

Chaplin, West Virginia

Back garden and porch of Hungarian-American coal miner’s home, Chaplin, West Virginia, September 1938, by Marion Post Wolcott, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all three photos).

The miner’s wife and their back gate and fence. (Cropped slightly by me.)

Wolcott was on assignment for the U.S. Farm Security Administration.


Her neighbor — top left, in the straw hat — seems to have had a good flower garden, as well.

The celebration

Probably near Lexington, Virginia, date unknown, by Michael Miley Studiovia Library of Virginia Commons on flickr (both photos).

I think this was a 50th wedding anniversary celebration, and the couple were posing with their eleven children.

Michael Miley was a popular commercial photographer in Lexington, Virginia, who patented a color process in 1902 and may have produced the first color photographic print in the U.S. He died in 1918, so these photos must have been taken by his son Henry or another younger associate.

The same family with spouses and grandchildren. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The Library of Virginia recently discovered 58 previously unidentified images by the Studio and hopes that someone will be able to help it identify some of the subjects in the pictures.