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Tower Hill Botanic Garden Library: Worcester Victory Gardens

Digitized resources, archival and special collections, exhibitions, and other items of interest.

Victory Gardens video (spring 2020)

Planning a Victory Garden or hearing about others starting them? Ever wondered why and how those WWII Victory Gardens really happened in the place where you live? Join Tower Hill’s Librarian Alena McNamara for a trip through the history of Victory Gardens right here in Worcester, MA, from corn borers to canning.
 
Alena McNamara is the Librarian at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. They hold a Master of Science in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. As the Librarian, Alena curates, stewards, and provides access to the Non-Living Collections of THBG and its parent organization, the Worcester County Horticultural Society (incorporated 1842).
 
The research presented in this video was conducted by Tower Hill Botanic Garden's Community Garden History Project at the Worcester Public Library, Worcester Historical Museum Library, American Antiquarian Society, and Worcester Art Museum Library. Deep thanks go out to all the volunteers who participated in the Worcester Victory Gardens research and every institution that allowed the group's members access to their resources. 
 
Image credits: Records of the U.S. Food Administration (NARA), Worcester Daily Telegram, Boston Public Library, and Worcester Historical Museum Library.

Victory Gardens Further Reading

Map of Worcester Victory Garden Locations (assembled by Merry Hill)

Instructions on How to Grow Your Own Vegetables lecture, 1944, Transaction of the Worcester County Horticultural Society

Worcester Telegram back issues can be accessed on microfilm via Worcester Public Library

Norton Spirit newsletter issues are located at the Worcester Historical Museum's Library and can be accessed through them.

The American Antiquarian Society holds the Worcester Natural History Society Records, containing Victory Gardens material in a scrapbook of newspaper clippings (Octavo Volume no.71) and several bound volumes of radio show transcripts (Folio Volumes no.13-15). 

Digital Commonwealth holds a wealth of historic images from the era, including the posters used in our presentation, Your victory garden counts more than ever and Plant a victory garden. Your food is fighting.

Videos on World War II Victory Gardens:

FDRLibrary. "Victory Gardens 1941" [YouTube video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHkGJEiDpdw

Weishan, Michael. "The Original Victory Garden" [YouTube video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31hB5d__UT4 (A restored version of the above video.)

Acknowledgements

Thank you to all the Community Garden History group members: Merry Hill, Gail Hallen, Linda Munroe Hart, Rick Kimball, Anita Baltzeren, Carole Cuniff, Bonnie O'Brien, Susan Ceccacci, and John Trexler. 

Thank you also to Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester Public Library, American Antiquarian Society, and Worcester Art Museum for your assistance with research and access to collections! 

--Alena McNamara, Librarian, Tower Hill, autumn 2019

This guide provided by CBHL