After flipping through the books for a bit, I put them on a shelf, and for the most part, forgot about them.
Then a little over a week ago, I pulled “The Flower Garden” off the shelf and have now fallen head first down a wintry rabbit hole looking for the answer to “Who was Ida D. Bennett”?
There is very little information on her that is readily available online.
Since my time and resources are limited, I’m posting what I do know, and will add to this as I find out more or if anyone else comes forward with information.
Ida Dandridge Bennett was born in 1860 and died in 1925
According to the census records Annie in Austin found and left in a comment on my first post quoting Bennett, her parents were from New York, but she lived in Michigan and showed up in several census records for Coldwater, Michigan, where she lived with her parents and siblings, then with her widowed mother and then in 1920 as “head of household”. Annie also discovered that in 1903, Bennett invented and patented a removable window-shelf for a window garden.
Through Google Books, I found the following books written by Bennett:
“The Flower Garden: A Manual for the Amateur Gardener”. The copy I have is part of a series of books called “The Garden Library” and was published in 1910 by Doubleday, Page, and Company, New York. There also appears to be an earlier edition published in 1903 by McClure, Phillips and Co., and a later edition called “Flower Growing” published in 1924 by Doubleday
“The Vegetable Garden: A Manual for the Amateur Gardener”, also part of “The Garden Library” series of books, published in 1908 by Doubleday, Page, and Company, New York.
“The Busy Woman’s Garden Book” published by Small, Maynard & Company, 1920.
“The Making of a Flower Garden” published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1919.
“Dreer’s Hints on the Growing of Bulbs”, co-authored with Henry A Dreer and published by Dreer, who seems to be from Philadelphia (714-716 Chestnut Street).
Through Google Books, I also found several magazine articles written by Bennett on a variety of topics including “The Value of Summer Mulch”, “Annuals for Edging” and “The Care of House Plants In Winter”.
In a history of Branch County, Michigan, they noted, “Miss Ida Bennett has been writing regularly for several magazines since 1895. Among them are: The Woman's Home Companion, American Homes and Gardens, Indoors and Out, Town and Country, Ladies' Home Journal, and Suburban Life. In 1893 she wrote "The Flower Garden, A Handbook of Practical Garden Lore," which was published by McClure, Phillips & Co., of New York, as a book of 282 pages with numerous illustrations."
And that is the extent of what I know about Ida D. Bennett.
I’m almost afraid to look at one of the other books I bought that day, “Garden Planning” by W. S. Rogers, also part of The Garden Library, published in 1912 by Doubleday, Page, and Company.
Let’s see, a quick search shows his name is William Snow. He appears to be from England…
I'll stop there.
Even though it's winter, there is only so much time for falling down into rabbit holes, so I’m choosing carefully which rabbit holes I fall into.
(Note that I don't know for certain that the woman in the photograph above is Ida D. Bennett, but that woman is in several of the pictures in the book, The Flower Garden.)
(If anyone else finds out anything about Ida D. Bennett, feel free to email me with the info and the source and I'll add it to this post.)