Among the manuscript material in the National Botanic Gardens Library are three registers, entitled 'Came', 'Left' and 'Lady Pupils', 1894-1944.

The last of these covers the period 1905-1929, and gives name, address, date of application and the date they were offered a place or rejected. Some further information about previous horticultural experience and recommendations - several former pupils were recommended by Miss Henrietta White, Lady Principal of Alexandra College. In that period 119 women applied and 44 attended. Most were from Ireland, but some from England or Wales.

The 'Came' and Left' registers 1894-1945 and 1944 show that 101 women were trained in that period, and two women at a time were accepted. Spent twelve months at Glasnevin, and sometimes longer. Women students were not paid.

See Valerie M. Ingram and Mary Forrest, 'From lady pupil to lady gardener' in 'Glasra' 3, 1997, in which biographical details are given of some twenty women gardeners, including:

Mary L. Despard, (1915), later on the Committee of Management, Irish College of Gardening for Women, Cypress Grove, Templeogue.

Nora Copeland (1923 and 1925). When she applied for a place in 1921 she was attending St Gatien's, Rathfarnham, County Dublin, a gardening school run by Miss Amy Fitzgerald.

Betty Ryan, of Emly, Tipperary, who went on to work at Brackenstown, near Swords, County Dublin, Merlyn Park, County Galway, and two gardens of the Bellew family, Jenkinstown Park, County Kilkenny, and Kilcreene, County Kilkenny.

Margaret Long, later involved (from 1950s) in Country Markets, (Irish Countrywomen's Association) and developed a nursery at An Grianan, the educational centre.

Letter books of the Science and Art Department, volumes 1-32, 1881-1913 and thereafter annual correspondence not bound. Chronological arrangement gives way to subject or correspondent. In the Letter Book of 1904, there are a number of files about allowing women with small children in prams, and invalids in bathchairs, a pass to use the gardens: for example in granting a pass for a 'mail car' [perambulator] to Mrs L. Cooper to the Botanic Gardens, the Director of the Science and Art Department, G.T. Plunkett, reminds her 'that the Gardens are not intended as a place of recreation, nor to improve the health of either Parents or of children...'.

Correspondence relating to Miss Pollock's proposed catalogue of the Library.

Out Letter Books, partially indexed:
1901-1909, partially indexed.

File of correspondence relating to employees, mainly memoranda of employment, 1914-1924, has one or two women, for example, Kate Mullen, employed in 1916 as Caretaker in the Resident Gardeners' House at 2s 4d per day.

Correspondence of previous keepers of the National Botanic Gardens, late 19th century to mid-20th century, especially Moore correspondence. It may be that material on the pupil Lady-Gardeners has been removed from these files.

There are also files of correspondence relating to individual collectors of plants.

Lady Wheeler Cuffe's correspondence, c1902-1922, contains a lively account of her life and work in a series of letters sent to her mother and aunt. Also letters on botanical subjects to Sir Fred Moore, Keeper.

Lady Wheeler Cuffe spent a number of years in Burma where her husband was an engineer. Here she painted native flora, see National Botanic Garden Art Collections, especially orchids, and her notebooks.

Donations and Purchase Registers, 7 volumes, 1838-1888, 1890-1969.

The first register is a 'Plant Book' includes all plants given to and purchased by the Garden. Individuals' names include women, rough addresses, possibly only county of residence given.

Monthly log of donations of plants both from and to the National Botanic Garden, beginning in 1890, giving names and fuller addresses of individuals including a number of women.
This series also comprises Arboretum books and Orchid Books, started in the 1890s, and registers of plants, generally, and of projected work in the Garden (20th century).

Visitors' Book, 1884-1885, giving date, names, addresses and numbers in party.

Herbarium divided into Irish/British/World, and subdivided into genus where it is useful to do so. All classes contain the work of women collectors.
For example:

Miss Hill's exsiccati (albums of dried, pressed plants) of ferns, Irish British and Welsh (Cork c1870).

Moss collection of Miss Buchanan, technical assistant in the N M I (Clare, Wicklow, 1901-1940) in a box.

Miss Jane Smithson Thompson's bryophyte collection on slides (Donegal, c1929).

Evelyn Mary Booth (1897-1988, Carlow, Wexford) left a herbarium with correspondence and draft copy of her book, `The Flora of Carlow', 1980.

Notes and publications often accompany the plant samples. Miss Matilda Knowles, who wrote 'The Lichens of Ireland' (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1929) had articles sent to her by correspondents in other parts of the world.

Written permission from the Garden's director or taxonomist is required to make research use of this material.

Correspondence associated with the Herbarium probably dates back to the 1920s and possibly before. Most concerns the identification of plants and can be useful for future verification of an identification. Miss Maura Scannell, former keeper of the Herbarium , for example, corresponded with Miss Hilda Parkes, c.1970's. (identification of a water plant). Kept in chronological order in box files. There are c.30 boxes.

The collection of paintings and drawings, currently held in the Library, contains some 1800 examples of work done by women. These date from approximately the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and encompass a great variety of styles. Notable in the collection are the artists:

Lady Charlotte Wheeler Cuffe, of whose watercolours of native plants in Burma there are some 100, framed and unframed pieces. There are some ten sketchbooks in addition. And see also correspondence.

Lydia Shackleton's (1828-1914) watercolours, c.1300 orchids, and 33 peonies, commissioned by the Keeper of the Gardens and the Director of the National Museum.
There is also a series of 6 notebooks with descriptions of her journeys in America and Scotland, as well as Ireland, and sketches. She ceased to paint in 1907 when her eyesight failed, and the Gardens and Museum employed Alice Jacob (1862-1921) to paint rare orchids and unusual plants. She taught design and also designed lace. There are c.95 pieces of her work, watercolours, more stylised than her predecessor and botanically more explicit.

Doreen Lambert, 55 watercolours of native flora, [no date c1920's].

Miss Lane Bandon, small oil paintings of fungi, c.1930's.

Rosamund Praeger, (1867- 1954), 75 pen and ink drawings of native flora.

Ivy Massey, 51 Populus and funghi drawings.

Ann Ball, 96 drawings of algae and funghi done for the National Museum early 20th century.

Miss Warren, c.15-29 watercolours of funghi.

Eileen Johnson, 22 ink and brush drawings of funghi.

Berni Shine, c.69 ink and watercolour drawings of plants in the Garden collections, 1980's to present.

Examples also of the work of Wendy Walsh, see 'An Irish Florilegium', volumes I & II, and her work on the Burren Flora, Florence Woolwad (2 orchid drawings).

There are also small numbers of works by Susan Sex, Cliona Doyle and Deborah Lambkin, all current.

AccessAs of October 2022, the Library is closed until further notice. Enquiries about the colllections can still be made via email.
Century19th, 20th
Repository NameNational Botanic Gardens
AddressGlasnevin Dublin 9
EircodeD09 VY63
Telephone(01) 804-0330
Email Address
Repository Web Address
CommentSome of the information listed from this repository has been extracted from lists available in the archives. The lists were compiled by staff of the National Botanic Gardens and we are grateful for their assistance. Where no or partial lists were available Staff of the Women's History Project compiled an outline list. Due to time constraints not all items in this repository were examined individually.