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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ida D. Bennett

I bought “The Flower Garden” by Ida D. Bennett on impulse from a bookseller who had set up shop for the weekend at the local mall. It was one of three old gardening books I bought that day, nearly 10 years ago.

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.)

10 comments:

Leslie said...

One of the advantages of living in snow country...time to read those books. This is such fun...I hope you discover more!

healingmagichands said...

Boy, the internet is just FULL of rabbit holes, isn't it? But it is quite wonderful to know that curiosity does not die as we age; you exemplify that. There is always another thing to learn, isn't there?

What I am loving about this series of posts is how the show that gardening and nurturing plants really hasn't changed all that much in the intervening centuries. Compost is still gold, deadheading still has to be done, plants still like water, mulch, and TLC. And gardening still makes us sane and healthy.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your "rabbit hole" is what I call the thrill of the hunt, when you're on the trail of some fascinating bit of history, whether it's a person, a piece of property, or an object. Winter is a great time for such pursuits. You acquisition reminds me of Shirley McLaine and the New Age bookstore.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Carol,
I enjoyed your last couple of posts about Bennett and her books. After reading them, I went to look to see if one of my old gardening books is by her, but I decided not to continue the search to other rooms in the house, since I am about to make myself continue cleaning in my "clutter" room after fully waking up. I have a 4 day weekend, due to semester break at the school I work at. I am determined to go into gardening season with the house cleaner than usual.

Elaine said...

I am so thankful you posted about Ida Bennett, Carol. I feel awful because I believe I spotted one of her books at Goodwill a few months ago, but didn't pick it up because I was not familiar with her. *groan* I will keep my eyes out though now that I know better. Thank you for educating us about her.

T said...

Hi, I will make a trip to the local library to see if I can find any more about our Coldwater Garden Author.

Carol said...

T, whatever information you find will be great appreciated, I'm sure! Thank you!

DivaGlinda said...

It's me, Annie in Austin, but am signed is as Glinda because I'm supposed to be working on the Divas of the Dirt posts for 2010.

Carol. I took a quick dive down the rabbit hole and used my Ancestry membership to look up your author.

Cobbling together various records and family trees posted by members it appears that William Snow Rogers was born in Middlesex on December 08, 1854 (father was a 'vet surgeon' named Alfred Josias Rogers). William was listed as an Engineer's Draughtsman on the 1881 census, living in Dartford Kent.

He married Hannah Bramwell Miller on June 3, 1884, at Holy Trinity Parish on Brompton Road in Middlesex, occupation on marriage record was Engineer.

Died October 24, 1937, death place Essex, England, leaving Hanna Bramwell Rogers widow.

One tree says he won prizes in college for physics, manufacturing art (engineering), Chemistry, Geology and Mineralogy.

Hope you enjoy the book!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Penny said...

Hi, Further to the comments on William Snow Rogers. As he is my Great Grandfather, I can confirm that he started as an engineer, progressed through design of posters and various clothing design etc. until he more or less specialized in garden books of which he wrote several; alpine, Japanese, small town gardens etc. He built a bungalow in West Moors, Dorset and designed a garden. HIs love of plants and design has passed to me. Strange as he died a decade before I was born and I had not idea until 2005 that he had this interest! My garden already had various areas following his ideas!! My garden consumes far too much of my thoughts but gives me peace and a perpetual optimism about what will develop. I would love to have one of WS Rogers gardening books. Hannah lived till 1952 and died in Ealing, after moving to a nursing home.

Carol said...

Penny,
Email me at Indygardener at gmail.com and let's talk about this book I have!

Carol