The LuEsther T. Mertz Library at The New York Botanical Garden has extensive holdings both from and about the Lord & Burnham Company through its lifetime, and works on glasshouses and architecture. The library houses publications and periodicals related to Lord & Burnham. Included in the collection are works about the company's history, the structures and designs created by Lord & Burnham, guides for greenhouses, and handbooks about gardening. A selection of titles from the library catalog and published by Lord & Burnham Company are listed in a column on the right-hand side of this LibGuide.
The library collection also has many titles about the design, history, and use of greenhouses and conservatories. A selection of titles with links to the catalog can be found in the column on the right-hand side of this LibGuide. These include works on amateur gardening in greenhouses, a survey of garden design, a history of conservatories, and guides to growing plants indoors.
In 2005 the LuEsther T. Mertz Library opened Glasshouses: The Architecture of Light and Air, an exhibit that detailed three centures of the history and development of glasshouses. The exhibit drew from the library's collections and featured drawings, prints, paintings, photographs, and illustrated books. Glasshouses focused on the history of glasshouses, the glasshouse in America, glasshouses at The New York Botanical Garden, and the Lord & Burnham Company. An exhibition catalog was produced as a companion to the exhibit and is available at the library.
The archival holdings from the Lord & Burnham Company include architectural drawings, correspondence, and account books for greenhouses, conservatories, and related structures erected in the United States in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries by the Lord & Burnham Company and by other manufacturers associated with the firm. The collection contains over 150,000 architectural plans and includes information on structural and site elements for more than 7,000 glass structures. A searchable database serves as the access point to this extensive collection.
The work to organize and catalog the vast number of architectural plans, completed in 2015, took a number of years and involved detailed work on the identification and care of the many photo reproduction processes that were used by Lord & Burnham throughout their history. Eleanore Kissel and Erin Vigneau were among the first to take on the organization of the collection of architectural drawings and plans. As part of their work the pair produced Architectural Photoreproductions: A Manual for Identification and Care, a pioneering work on the different types of production processes used to create and reproduce architectural plans. The manual serves as a guide for identifying, handling, and storing the variety of materials.
Selected works on the design, history, and use of greenhouses and conservatories from the LuEsther T. Mertz Library
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.