IGC History


As we celebrate the ninetieth year of the Ipswich Garden Club, it is good to look back on its history: how it was founded and who the players were.  Because of the loss of the written history of the first 25 years, by its first president Katharine Taylor, I rely on the history written in 1971 by Lucy Richardson, the meeting minutes beginning in 1927 and, to some extent the words of Thomas Franklin Waters (Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony 1700-1917) to flesh out those women and their objectives in creating the Club. In 1917, Waters wrote, “... on the long stretch of this beautiful Argilla Road, once lined with farms, on which farmers earned a modest living from the soil, from Heartbreak Hill to the ocean, today a series of inviting summer homes afford rest and recreation to the busy physicians and men of affairs who love to exchange the hot and crowded city for the cool and quiet of their homes on the hills.”  This run-on sentence captures the setting for the women–-some wives and some daughters of the so-called men of affairs--who began our Club.    

     The Ipswich Garden Club began as a group of summer residents who lived in Boston and Cambridge during the non-gardening months. We can imagine these friends meeting for tea on Beacon Hill or the Back Bay and considering their gardens way up in Ipswich.  Surely the inspiration for founding a garden club came in the cold months of 1927, because they were able to schedule their summer meetings for that first year, to commence as soon as everyone arrived on Argilla Road.   

The early meeting minutes devote time to membership and objectives. They were looking for women who liked gardening and wanted to learn more. First meetings involved studies and presentations by members and visits to each other’s gardens. In 1927, there were seven meetings: one in June and two each in July, August and September, including flower and fruit competitions among themselves, sometimes using the entries as table décor for their refreshments.  They began to exchanges bulbs and plants and visited gardens in Rowley, Danvers, Salem and Peabody, and farther afield in Brookline, Milton, Wayland, and Weston.   In 1927, the initial membership included Katharine Taylor (president), the youngest daughter of naturalist Charles Townsend, Frances(Mrs. Wendell) Taber (secretary), Susie Goodale (treasurer), Mrs. Robert Goodale, Mrs. Arthur Shurtleff, Mrs. Roger Warner, Mrs. Reeve Chipman, Mrs. George Deblos, and Mrs. Eugene A. Crockett. By the meeting on July 13th, the following new members were added: Mrs. Richard Sears, Mrs. Dodge, Mrs. Henry Kenyon, Mrs. Genevieve Campbell, Miss Sally Robbins, and Mrs. Francis Harrington.  (Before I go any farther, it is germane here to note that Arthur Shurtleff, the renowned landscape architect, and his family changed their name to Shurcliff in 1930–-apparently to avoid confusion with a Boston attorney  named Shurtleff and to return to the ancient spelling. After that date the spelling in the minutes changes to Shurcliff.)   

Another historical point of reference, finds the seventeen century Whipple House, owned by the Ipswich Historical Society, and a house museum since 1899, moved in 1927, from its former position at the corner of Saltonstall and Market Streets across the Choate Bridge to its current placement on the South Green.  It is noteworthy that it was re-sited on the same compass points, meaning the garden design is similar to the original.  At that July meeting “Mrs. Crockett spoke of her success with iron stakes with one end pointed and a loop at the other, that Mr. King, the blacksmith in town, made for her. She said they were especially good for peonies as you could put a string through the loops and it gave the peonies good support but did not show. Many decided to see Mrs. Crockett’s stakes and then order some for themselves from Mr. King.”   The following meeting, they visited Mrs. Ewell’s garden (presumably in Ipswich), which was designed by Arthur Shurtleff (Shurcliff), as well as the Rowley garden of Mrs. Cheeney. On August 10th they visited the Crane’s garden.  It is interesting to note that at that time the Italianate Villa had been torn down and the “new” Stuart-style mansion was in the process of construction.   

The first Annual Meeting was held on February 3, 1928, in Boston and the following members were added: Mrs. Richard Smith, Mrs. Robert Osgood, Mrs. Frederic Galacar, Mrs. Burt Walbach, Mrs. Augustus Rantoul, Mrs. Charles M. Wood and a Miss Perkins. Among other things, at the suggestion of Mrs. Goodale, the club joined the Massachusetts Federation of Garden Clubs. They also voted that “we never have bylaws.” They also voted on member dues of $2 and to begin purchasing books, the first being the three volume Bailey’s Encyclopedia of Horticulture.   

During 1928, there was outreach to Topsfield and other towns to build membership, resulting in the joining of Mrs. Harry Greenough of Longwood, Mrs. S.B. Wolbach of Wayland, and, in June, Mrs. Dunbar Lockwood of Topsfield. By May, Mrs. S. Greenslet, Mrs. W.E. Hayward, Miss Lucy Story, and Mrs. Romney Spring had joined.  

The Club joined an effort to reduce the use of billboards in town by writing to the Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. This was the first effort by the Club to improve the looks of the town. In addition, the Club began conservation education projects in the public schools, using fund from their annual plant and flower seed sale. On May 17, 1928, the women travelled to the Case Estate, in Weston, where they were shown around the Hillcrest Gardens by Marian Case, herself. In the meeting minutes, they note her public spirit, having established a horticultural training school for boys. During school vacation, many of the “Hillcrest Boys” were employed to work on the farm, growing and harvesting vegetables which were then sold at the community’s open market. Miss Chase used Hillcrest for experiments in raising seeds and plants which she collected abroad.   

By the December meeting, “the president (Mrs. Deblos) reported that after going to a meeting at Horticultural Hall on the conservation of wild flowers, she wrote to Mrs. Kimball (a member who lived year-round in Ipswich) asking if the very free use of greens for Xmas decorations in the town itself could be prevented. Mrs. Kimball replied after making inquiries she thought she might be successful in lessening the decorations throughout town.”  It is unclear how Mrs. Kimball might have been able to reduce the amount of decorative greens.  

 At the Annual Meeting in 1929, Mrs. Warner advised the Club of the founding of the Massachusetts Federation of Garden clubs and the members voted to join. Thus the Ipswich Garden club was one of the first clubs to join.  (Mrs. Warner was president of the MFGC from 1934-36.)  In May of 1929, the ladies visited the Fletcher Steele gardens of Mrs. (Katherine) Philip Spalding in Milton.  Originally 12 acres, today this half-acre garden is a financially threatened project of the Milton Garden Club.     

On June 27th, a joint meeting of the Ipswich, Salem and Peabody Garden clubs was held at the “Ipswich Golf Club.” Dr. Robert Goodale addressed the group about soil management.  There were 70 in attendance. Visits to the Crane, Harrington, and Shurtleff gardens followed.     

That year the Club members participated in the Topsfield Fair flower competition, the Massachusetts Horticultural Show, and Centennial Exhibit.  It was the first year of public planting, when Mrs. Haywood began planting on the grounds of the Shatswell School and the Club contributed to the cost of trees and workmen to plant them.  At the November 20th meeting, “Mrs. Haywood was requested to inquire whether the Historical Society would have the Ipswich Garden Club plant and care for a small garden by the Old House.”   The meeting of June 12, 1930 was held at the “Labour in Vain Country Club.” The minutes list 13 upcoming events outside of Ipswich including everything from the Iris show at Horticultural Hall to a lecture at the Topsfield Garden Club to a joint meeting with the Cohasset Garden Club.   On August 7, 1930, Arthur Shurcliff lectured at the Whipple House on the subject of Old Fashioned Gardens and “the garden lovers of the 1640’s.” Tea was “attractively served by Mrs. Warner’s maids, in picturesque Puritan costumes.”   

At the Executive Meeting on December 4, 1930, plans were made for 1931 including Conservation Day, July 30, 1931, at the home of Mrs. Greenslet on Candlewood Road. That meeting would include a competition in wildflower arranging, sort of a pre-cursor to the Greenslet Competition. Also, agreed upon at that meeting was the motto, “Rien Sans Peine,”and the design and purchase of special club stationary, including bookplates and seals.   

Despite their 1928 decision to eschew bylaws, the members added bylaws in 1930, and by 1931 dues were raised to $4 and proposed membership options included “active” and “inactive.” Inactive member dues were to be twice that of active members. “It was agreed it was a good matter to take under consideration, as a means to prod lazy members into activity.”   By 1931, the Ipswich Garden Club, which began as a social outlet for friends, was actively involved in education – both of their members and in the public schools, town beautification, and conservation. After five years, the Club had formal objectives and bylaws, dues, and civic projects. In the next ten years, the Club would take on more projects in response to the Great Depression and in preparation for World War II. 

PART TWO                                                                          

It is difficult, when considering past times, not to look through the filter of the Twenty-First Century.  I remind us here that generally the ladies of the Ipswich Garden Club were not citizens of Ipswich and had little to do with the goings on in town. As a matter of fact, the world of the summer visitors was virtually a parallel universe to that of the rest of the Town.     From sources such as Mary Conley’s wonderful “Our Branch of the Vine” (a history of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ipswich), the period’s Town reports and The Ipswich Chronicle, we learn that after serious cutbacks in 1927, the Mills closed completely in 1928, resulting in unemployment without benefits, for over 1200 people.  

In 1929, a Special Town Meeting appropriated an additional $6,000 to the original $11,000 budget of the Town Welfare Department. The Stock Market Crash later that fall, led to a patchwork of funding - $2,000-3,000 at a time – which was overseen by the Town’s Unemployment Committee. “[T]he [county] Public Welfare Department declared 1932 to be the hardest year.”  Their report stated that Ipswich, in the closing of their mills, suffered a greater comparative loss that any other town or city in the county or perhaps the state itself. “It is fair to say that 2,500 persons out of our population of 6,000 are wage earners and that over 1,200 of these were employed in the Ipswich Mills. Consequently, (some) 50 percent of our laborers lost their means of livelihood.”    

In pre-New Deal Ipswich, the Town’s Unemployment Committee paid about 226 applicants $4/day to work 1 to 3 days a week working on projects for the DPW.  Many unemployed citizens were ashamed to ask for assistance but accepted the work--doing road reconstruction, brush cutting, improvements to cemeteries, etc. Some became fishermen or clammers and we assume worked on the estates.           

Many school children were malnourished and teachers gave up 5 percent of their salaries to pay for their students’ food. The MSPCC (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) raised money for milk, eye glasses, layettes for babies, and shoes for children.  Martha Stewart, the school nurse, oversaw the health of some 1500 students in a time when, despite pleas by Superintendent Horton, many children were not immunized against diphtheria and tuberculosis, causing epidemics and school closings. There were also numerous cases of polio which closed schools.

By the time of the election of President Roosevelt, in 1932, much of the country was in despair and many Ipswich businesses either failed or struggled to stay solvent. Federal funds added to local monies to support more work projects including the creation of the Post Office (1937), building of Jeffrey’s Neck Road, laying cement sidewalks, rebuilding the Canal Bridge, painting public buildings, and sewing projects for women to provide clothing for the needy.  Federal loans provided support for the “new” high school (now Town Hall) which was built in 1936, with $114 k borrowed by the town to match the Federal loan of $112k, plus $6,000 appropriated from the Town budget.  In 1939, unemployment was still high and the Town was still not whole financially. The Depression only ended with the full employment economy resulting from our preparation for war.

Despite breadlines in Boston and destitution in Ipswich, the Ipswich Garden Club continued to have summer meetings. The first plant sale, held in 1930, provided seed money for a small garden at the Whipple House.  Membership dues were donated to the public schools for a student writing competition on “How to beautify and preserve the natural beauties of Ipswich.”  They also donated a bird feeding station for Shatswell School and the high school’s manual training classes copied it for the other schools.

The IGC was very involved in the Federation because Mrs. Burrage, Mrs. Roger Warner, and Mrs. Susan Sears were officers. Members were encouraged to participate in flower shows and projects. The Garden Club donated to the Federation’s work on “The Bill Board Bill” (to reduce billboards along public ways and railroad tracks and “The Mosquito Fund” although it is unclear how that initiative worked.

In 1931, the Club hosted the Topsfield club and they toured gardens in Lancaster, Harvard, Groton, and Concord.  Because the minutes do not clarify whether they took the train or used automobiles, the logistics of such travel are unknown. Considering that many roads, including Argilla, were unpaved such journeys must have been quite difficult.

In May 1931, minutes record the President’s message on unemployment, but no discussion was held on the topic. The Club voted to limit membership to forty active members and ten associate (sometimes called “inactive” or “sustaining”) members.  In June members travelled to the Lexington Experimental Station and Breck’s Dutch Garden, ending the day with tea at the Waltham gardens of Mr. Arthur Lyman. Today the Lyman Estate is a National Historic Landmark.

The August meeting featured Miss Story who spoke on “Old Landmarks on Argilla Road and Vicinity.” She reminisced about “picturesque places from her childhood” including Eagles Nest Pasture, Haddock Marsh, and Dyck, and Bath Springs. Unfortunately, although there was considerable discussion about these sites, their whereabouts are unknown.
 In November 1931, the Club considered putting together a budget.

In 1932, the Club began to give prizes for best Christmas-themed doorway décor – first prize: $7.50 and second prize: $2.50. The Club discussed, but did not vote on, “[preserving] roadside beauty by planting wild roses” started    from collected hips. No mention was made of weeding and other maintenance. The July 18 meeting included the North Shore and Cape Ann Garden Clubs and featured Fletcher Steele, the renowned landscape architect.The meeting minutes describe a “delightful and amusing talk on the charm of gardens.”  Steele designed some 700 gardens, the best known being Naumkeag which is managed by the Trustees of Reservations.     

In February 1933, concerns were raised about a new infestation of Japanese beetles. Although the beetles first arrived in 1916, they were unfamiliar to many members and control was unknown.  

At the March meeting Mrs. Greenslet donated an “old French cup to be used in the nosegay competition throughout the summer.” The cup was to be “held in turn by the various members” but exactly how the competitions would be held is unclear. Of course the Greenslet Cup continues to be part of our club tradition to this day.     

Later in the summer, in connection with The Boston Herald Beautification contest, the club considered “cleaning up the banks of the Ipswich River, beautifying the Pingree Road land, as well as putting up window boxes at the Ipswich Station.” The Club requested of Mr. Harcourt Amory,  Chairman of the Ipswich Welfare Society, to secure services of “one of the needy unemployed” to assist in the planting of willow trees near the Green Street Bridge. Additional unemployed workers were hired to plant linden trees at the railroad station and honeysuckle, spirea, Siberian crab apples, and forsythia on the fence across the tracks. Other workers were paid to clean up the grounds of the jail on Green Street.These projects were the Club’s first answer to Depression Era need. 

In August 1934, the Club noted continued trouble maintaining trees and plantings at the station and elsewhere in town. After much discussion, the members voted to allot $10 to weeding and watering.In November, the IGC became aware of state grants to support unemployed workers for beautification projects.  Members voted to create a committee headed by Mr. Shurcliff to approach Town officials to apply for such funding.     

1936 saw the creation of a new category called “summer members.” The first of this group were Mrs. Fred Higginson (Wenham), Mrs. Henry K. Sherrill (Boxford), Mrs. H.H. Soule, Jr. (Hamilton), and Mrs. Fred Winthrop (South Hamilton). In April, smoking was banned during the business portion of meetings and also during lectures.  A birdhouse competition was devised for children 8-10 years old and another for children over 11, with a total cost of $57.  There was also a discussion regarding the maintenance of plantings, but no plan was put forward.   In 1937, the Town created a Conservation Council and the Garden Club was included among the group of local organizations.  

The Club agreed to donate $100 to finance landscaping designed by Arthur Shurcliff around the new high school on Green Street. (As a side note, the Town Planning Committee was formed in April 1937.)    

 In January 1939, the Club agreed to plant two elm trees to replace those lost in the 1938 hurricane.  Fewer meetings were held as the country braced for WWII. In the spring of 1940, the Ipswich Historical Society and the Garden Club began plans for landscaping the Heard House. The IGC donated $200 toward the project and then contributed $50 to support the Audubon Society’s nature study program in the public schools. Isadore Smith (AKA author Ann Leighton) began organizing members to offer portions of their land for community vegetable gardens.     

By 1940, the Ipswich Garden Club had survived the Great Depression and began its most transformative decade. The war years saw a much more activist membership with a curtailed meeting schedule and more community projects.

"The War Years" (1939-1945)

After Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the subsequent declarations of war by Great Britain and France, Americans became increasing apprehensive about the country’s involvement in Europe’s war. At home in 1939, the Ipswich Garden Club struggled to find itself.  There were discussions about adding summer memberships for women outside the district, donations were given to support small projects such as the painting of the Ipswich train station, the Club implemented hostess generated meeting cards, and continued support of the Arnold Arboretum education program.

In August, 1939, one month before the Poland invasion, Mrs. Dodge reported on her visit to nurseries in Holland.   On May 14, 1940, the Netherlands surrendered to Germany.  By April 9 , 1940, Denmark had surrendered, while Norway held out until June 9th.  During May-June, Germany attacked and laid claim to Luxembourg, Holland (as mentioned above), Belgium, and northern France. By June 10th, Italy entered the war and invaded southern France.

In June 1940, the Club acknowledged its need to focus more on conservation.  The Audubon Society speaker (Mr. Mason) spoke of their success in introducing children to natural history and particularly conservation, by studying Essex county birds.

At the July 18, 1940 meeting, “After reading the minutes, Mrs. Winant asked the Club to consider what its activities should or might be, during the coming year of the present world situation.  Various suggestions were discussed, and it was decided to defer any definite action until the September meeting.”  A discussion of soil improvement followed.

At the August 1st meeting, the Club discussed additional plans for Heard House planting and a flower arranging exhibit.  An additional $50 was donated to the Audubon society for continued teaching of nature study in the schools.  Mrs. Smith asked that anyone interested in lending land to townspeople for  growing food, should give her their names and the amount of land they would need.

At the meeting on September 12, 1940, Mrs. Moseley suggested the Club send a $100 contribution to Ipswich England, but the proposal was not voted on.  Congress voted to institute the first peace-time draft and our country began to send aid to Britain.  In Ipswich, the Robinson Shipyard (located in the Ipswich River) was awarded a contract for four Navy ships and many men and women were hired.  Later, in the summer of 1941, Hygrade-Sylvania (at the former Ipswich Mills) was awarded a huge – and secret – contract by the Navy to make fuses for bombs, resulting in the employment of 1200 by 1943.  This was a large number considering that, according to the 1940 Census, the population of Ipswich was 6348.

In 1941, American citizens were sharply divided regarding the country’s responsibility and policy.  In May, President Roosevelt declared that any attempt by the Third Reich ”to extend their domination to any part of the Western Hemisphere would be resisted with all our power.”  He also declared that the country was in a “state of unlimited national emergency” meaning our national interests were now at stake. 

In June of 1941, Club members planned for the “exhibition and sale to be held at the Heard House on July 17, the proceeds to be divided between the British War Relief and the fund for continuation of work on the Heard garden.” By the spring/summer of 1941, the Axis had grown to include Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, and Yugoslavia and Greece had surrendered.  By fall, the Axis powers and Finland attacked the Soviet Union, taking Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kiev.  

By the July 31st , meeting “letters were read in regard to Public Safety and National Defense written by Mrs. Roger Warner and Mrs. Horens.  Notice was given about a movie, “Harvest of Tomorrow” put out by the U.S. Government and highly recommended.

At the August 1941 meeting, the minutes state that “the Department of Agriculture does not know how much our country produces, especially on small acreage lots.”  Objective: to have garden clubs determine whether by adding to vegetable gardens and “subsidizing the poor working man we can increase the total supply.”  The Rural Policy Association was working to make a census of everything grown.  Another area which was needed included information on medicinal herbs, which appeared to be scarce.

The Soviets drove the Germans in chaotic retreat from the Moscow suburbs on December 6, 1941.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the following day, the United States declared war on Japan.  

On December 8th, a special Town Meeting voted to organize and train volunteers for the local Civil Defense Program, later the Office of Civil Defense: OCD.  200 men and women volunteered and became the nucleus of the 17 committees which became the Ipswich Civil Defense Program.  The American Legion was in command of an observation point on Town Hill which was manned around the clock by men and women.  Ultimately, 683 Ipswich people volunteered and provided support for the home effort.

During December 11-13, 1941 Nazi Germany and the Axis powers declared war on the United States. Remarkably, the Garden Club met the following month, on January 13, 1942.  Key points of that meeting were the possible creation of a junior garden club, a donation to help move the Shirley Eustis House from Roxbury to a site near the  Gardner Museum (apparently never done, as the Shirley Center remains in Roxbury), and acknowledgement of gift of 37 wreaths for Camp Devons and Cable Memorial Hospital.

In April 1942, forty townspeople including 6 from the IGC (Mrs. Willard, Mrs. Moseley, Mrs. Kimball, Mrs. Smith, Miss Storey, and Mrs. Hayward) met at the Ipswich High School to discuss Defense Gardens (soon to be known as Victory Gardens).  The meeting served as a kick-off of a public education campaign about planting gardens and growing food.

In June, Mrs. Cheney proposed that July meetings be omitted but the membership did not agree.  The IGC did donate $10 for planting at the Ipswich barracks.  

The Executive Committee meeting of January 8, 1943 heard the following recommendation: lower the dues, meet less frequently and in central places, agree to cooperate with all town and state projects, and for a representative – Mrs. Kimball – to attend and participate in the Garden Club Federation’s Home Gardening initiative.   At the January 12, 1943 general meeting, Captain Wanderlowski of the Ipswich barracks thanked the Club for its donation of $20 at Christmas time.  It was used to purchase a small gift for each man.  The future of the Club was discussed and letters were read from Mrs. Roger Warner and Mrs. George DeBlois.  “The sense of the meeting [was} that the Club should increase its civic and patriotic functions, dropping all purely social activity.”  The Federation informed the Club that it had the authority to pass “war-emergency measures” without changing the by-laws.

The following motions were passed: 1. The business of the Club should be carried out as much as possible by the Executive Committee and that meetings should be called only at the discretion of said committee.  2.  That the Club express to Mrs. Whipple its desire to cooperate fully with the plans of the Federation’s Governor’s Committee on Home Gardens.  3.  That the dues be lowered to $2.50 for active members and $5.00 for associate members.

The Club announced the death of longtime member Miss Lucy Storey and that the Executive Committee would determine what memorial would be fitting for her.  Mrs. Hayward appealed to members to buy or donate seed for Britain - $1.00 would provide vegetable seeds for a family.  Several members contributed.

At the February 18, 1943 meeting, Mrs. Kimball reported on the recent Home Garden meeting and Mr. Gill of the Ipswich Office of Civil Defense presided.  Other organizations in attendance were from the Essex Agricultural School, Ipswich Women’s Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, etc.  There were two main objectives in this meeting: 1. To publicize the need for raising and canning fruits and vegetables. 2.  To supply information on the best ways of doing this in order to increase production and prevent waste.  Mr. Perkins (of Essex Aggie) would do soil samples in improve soil. 3.  The Garden Club would provide the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) with a subscription to  “Horticulture” for the duration. 4.  The IGC would maintain a table at the OCD to provide up-to-date printed materials for the public to use.  Members would be available for consultation at certain times.  5.  The Garden Club contribute to a fund to buy fertilizer for the poor or for community gardens.  6.  The IGC planned to offer two prizes – one for the best garden exhibit and one for the best canned exhibit at the end of the season. 7.  The IGC would be primarily concerned with raising food and assisting with canning projects.

At the 3/17/43 meeting, there was a discussion of an appropriate memorial for Miss Storey.  Mrs. Smith reported that the OCD had taken charge of the Victory Garden effort, with Mr. Rose of Corliss Brothers as the chairman.  Mrs. Stevens and Mrs. Goodhue were prepared to develop  canning programs.  In order to enlarge civic activities, the Club began to invite Ipswich residents to join.  The IGC provided a free showing, “Dig for Victory,” for children at the South Parish House.  (Cost to Club, $5.00).

In April, 1943 Miss Storey’s memorial was agreed to.  It was to be a fund at Cable Hospital to be used to provide flowers “for lonely and needy patients.” In May, after another successful nature course (taught by the Audubon Society), the Club voted to once again contribute $50 for this purpose next year (1944).  Mrs. Hayward reported that 14 gardens had been planted at her place as part of the Victory Garden initiative. Mr. Hayward had plowed the land and community members worked together to plant it.

In June 1943, the IGC announced a meeting to be held by the OCD to inform the public about pest control. Members were reminded that Cable Hospital was always happy to receive surplus vegetables.  Mr. Rose, of Corliss Brothers, announced four meetings in support of the Victory Gardens:
Mr. Dempsey, on what to plant
Mr. A. Burrage, on a garden design of 50’ X 25’  (Mr. Burrage wrote several books on vegetable gardening especially with regard to his gardens on Heartbreak Road, and his wife was a very active member of the IGC.)
Mr. White (Essex Aggie), on pest control
Mr. Mostrum (Essex Aggie,) on pigs and chickens

At the July 31, 1943 meeting, the secretary noted that despite gas restrictions 20 of the 45 members attended. Another canning demonstration was announced for that evening at the high school. The Ipswich Garden Club continued plans to participate in a Town Fair on September 4th to publicize and celebrate the success of the Victory Gardens. This event was part of a State-wide effort to encourage the growing of produce. The Federation helped garden clubs run such fairs and created standard classes and prizes for adjudication. They also helped procure judges. The Fair was to be held at the Town Hall and it would include exhibits of fruits, flowers, and handicrafts.

It was agreed that proceeds of the Fair would go to “our Boys in Service”. The IGC were to be in charge of the Flower Exhibit and to decorate the hall. The Executive Committee was empowered to spend whatever was needed to fully support the program.

At the August 11 meeting the Club agreed on the following awards for the exhibits: $10 for the most meritorious exhibit in the show; $5 for the best entry by a junior exhibitor (age yet to be established) and additional cash prizes would be set for 3 classes of flower arrangements: wild flowers, foliage and grasses (3’ high or more, including containers); cultivated flowers (1’ to 3’ high including containers) and a junior class for miniature arrangements of any type of flower or foliage (not to exceed 6” including the container). First, second and third prizes would be given in classes of 10 or more entries. The Club also sold perennials and bulbs.

In September, after the Fair, Mrs. Lunt began a town-wide crusade to acknowledge the deplorable state of the Town’s elm trees. She noted the problems as beginning with ignorance and indifference, lack of funds, lack of men to do the work, and ongoing infestations of tree diseases. She recommended a conscientious effort to rouse interest, perhaps by a petition in the winter, and funding by the Town and the IGC.

The Club postponed action on elm infestation to another time, but voted to use Heard House funding to trim the hedge. The Club voted to donate $5 each to Gore Place (in Waltham), Massachusetts Audubon, the Trustees of Public Reservations (sic), Christmas greens for servicemen’s hospitals and for horticultural therapy work with the wounded. Also the Club voted to give $25 for Christmas to soldiers stationed “at the outposts of Ipswich.”

In December, 1943, Mrs. Shurcliff went to Forts Banks, Andrews, and Gallup Island with Christmas decorations (total cost: $5).  Since the Ipswich barracks had been disbanded, Christmas greens were not needed that year. In June 1944, the club voted to donate $50 for the Audubon nature course this year but to end this support in the future. Mrs. Lunt suggested individual members put pressure on the Town regarding the elms by writing letters to the editor.

At the July 19, 1944 meeting Mrs. Lucien Taylor spoke about the work of the Federation’s Garden club Service in various Army and Navy hospitals. She felt “that if garden clubs did no other work, this service alone would more than justify their existence.” The club voted to request their service at the Chelsea hospital. In August, the IGC began its outreach in Chelsea by providing flowers and produce for the patients.  

Mrs. Lunt wrote a letter to the Chronicle urging the town begin planning for post-war improvements by trying to save the elms.

There were fewer meetings in 1944 and one gets the sense that, despite work done to increase membership and participate in the war effort, the Club was feeling weary. The Executive Committee made most of the decisions and there were no social teas. Through the efforts of Mrs. Smith and others, more members were brought in from the town and the Club survived. In 1945, nine new members joined the club.

That spring, 1945, saw the erosion of the Axis, culminating in the suicide of Hitler and Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945 to the Western Allies. The Pacific Theatre remained active as allied troops took Okinawa, the last stop before the Japanese Islands.

In June 1945, the Club again voted to trim the Heard House hedge and oversaw a project where Girl and Boy Scouts planted 200 two foot trees on Old Right Road in the “Town Forest.” The next month Mrs. Hopkins, Service Chairman, reported on the activities of the Chelsea Hospital Committee and announced that she needed volunteers to help with the next delivery of flowers on July 26th.  

On August 6th, the United States bombed Hiroshima, and on August 8th, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.  Japan formally surrendered on September 2, 1945. The Ipswich Garden Club met on September 12th but no mention was made of the War at that meeting.

(The IGC HISTORY written by Marion Swan  is in progress -- it will be continued in future IGC newsletters.) 

An Early History of the IGC is also found on the IGC Members' Handbook also found at this blogsite.

Ipswich Garden Club Presidents

Term of Office

Miss Katherine Taylor
Mrs. George L. DeBlois
Mrs. Romney Spring
1930- June 1931
Mrs. A.C. Burrage, Jr.                                                                                         
June 1931-1933
Mrs. Arthur Ewell                                                                                              

1934- 1935
Mrs. B.P.P. Moseley                                                                                           

Mrs. William Forbes                                                                                           

Mrs. Frederick Winant                                                                                       

Mrs. Robert Kimball                                                                                           

1942 -1943
Mrs. A. William Smith                                                                                       

Mrs. Arthur A. Shurcliff                                                                                    

Mrs. Daniel B. Lunt                                                                                            

Mrs. R. Elbert Titcomb                                                                                       

Mrs. R. Elbert Titcomb                                                                                       

Mrs. Augustus H. Fiske, Jr.                                                                               

Mrs. James R. Doty                                                                                             

Mrs. A. Williaim Smith                                                                                      

Mrs. Usher P. Coolidge                                                                                      

Mrs. Neil C. Raymond                                                                                       

Mrs. Daniel V. Thompson                                                                                 

Mrs. Charles Rice                                                                                                

Mrs. Robert K. Weatherall                                                                                 

Mrs. Robert L. Goodale                                                                                      

Mrs. George E. Hodgkins, Jr.                                                                            

Mrs. George Mathy                                                                                            

Mrs. Edward Marsh                                                                                           

Mrs. Robert Hall                                                                                                 

Vivian Endicott                                                                                   
Susie Winthrop                                                                                                   

Paige Mercer                                                                                                       

Susie Glessner                                                                                                     

Hester Clapp                                                                                                       

1988- 1989
Ingrid F. Miles                                                                                                     

Dorothy Monnelly                                                                                              

Jane Roundy                                                                                                        

Susie Glessner                                                                                                     

Rue Sherwood                                                                                                     

Barbara Ostberg                                                                                                  

Page Mercer                                                                                                         

Trudy Bancroft                                                                                                   

Sandra Kimball                                                                                                    

Caroline Turben                                                                                                  

Katherine Mansfield                                                                                           

Paige Mercer                                                                                                        

Laurie McAleer                                                                                                    

Janet Taisey Craft         

2010 - 2012
Maureen Leonard
Deb Trevarrow

Joyce Kippin
Susan Stone
Co-Presidents Terri Stephens and Nancy Howard
2020 - 2022