Photo album documenting the student gardeners at the Mary Hemenway School in Boston, participating in the United States School Garden Army (USSGA) program during and after World War I.
[Boston: Mary Hemenway School Garden Club, 1918-19. The captions date the photos to 1918 and 1919, with the one invitation dated 1926. This album shows students at work in the garden; the Mary Hemenway School building; the student-run farmer’s market; gardening competitions; and the students’ participation in events like a march to welcome Woodrow Wilson on his return from the Paris Peace Conference, as well as the shooting of a silent promotional film titled The United States School Garden Army. With 165 mounted photos (some sepia-tinted) and over two dozen other items pasted in (brochures, Mary Hemenway Garden Notes newsletters, illustrations, newspaper clippings, and more). Many photos captioned in manuscript (in white ink). Black card leaves. Front cover detaching, otherwise binding holds firm despite worn cloth at spine. Edgewear. Some chipping to edges of leaves. Two leaves loose, laid in at their original positions. Adhesive left behind from two missing photos. With a printed invitation (dated 1926) to a Mary Hemenway School exhibition of the student-run gardens laid in. A unique item, very good, that thoroughly documents a largely unacknowledged World War I-era program that educated and trained students and mobilized them to increase food supply. Contemporary black cloth album. Oblong quarto.  pp. Item #16944
By 1914, Mary Hemenway School teacher and horticulture enthusiast Elizabeth Gertrude Howes (1856 – 1931) and principal Frank Murphy had begun the process of turning uncultivated land near the school into a student-run garden. Howes and Murphy established the school garden under the auspices of the USSGA which was established by the War Department to both remedy food shortages and keep children in line amidst civil unrest. The students at the Mary Hemenway School had already been early members of the USDA-sponsored 4H Clubs, and, under the direction of Howes and Murphy, developed the garden into the most successful of all 368 USSGA gardens in the country. They also won numerous prizes at the 1919 Home and School Gardeners Exhibition in Boston, which is thoroughly photo- documented in the present item.
Weed, Clarence. Eastern Arts Association Meeting Proceedings (April 1919), pp. 145-146. School Life, vol. 2, nos. 1, 2, and 10 (January and May, 1919). Hayden-Smith, Rose. Soldiers of the Soil (University of California, 2006).