On November 28, 2017, Pamela Machold gave an important lecture on the life on Eleanor Marquand (1873-1950) for the Garden club of Princeton. Eleanor Marquand was the wife of Allan Marquand, the third owner of Guernsey Hall and the adjacent land that is now Marquand Park. Her activities and contributions to this community were numerous. She served among others on the Princeton Board of Education, was a member of the board of the State Hospital in Trenton, and became an active member of the Village Improvement Association.
We know little about Eleanor Marquand’s formal education but she was recognized during her life time as an accomplished horticultural specialist and plant historian Her careful investigation of the flora of the Unicorn tapestries in the Cloisters, in NY, resulted in the identification of 46 plant species and their symbolic meaning in the Middle Ages. During her lifetime, she lectured on plant illustrations and published several articles in horticultural journals. In addition, her memberships in organizations such as New York Botanical Society, the Garden Club of America, the Horticultural Society of New York and the Garden Club of Princeton, of which she was a charter member, confirm her life long passion for plants and formal gardens.
Eleanor Marquand lived at Guernsey Hall most of her life and must have played an important role in decisions concerning the acquisition of trees and shrubs on the property. In 1917 she did a careful inventory of plants and trees on the estate; her index cards and a map with the location of the plants and trees are preserved in the Princeton University library. They clearly show that she was intimately familiar with the flora around Guernsey Hall. We hope that comparing this map with another inventory of the early 1950s, completed shortly after Eleanor’s death and around the time the property was bequeathed by the Marquand family to the town of Princeton, will provide an opportunity to study how the park changed in the first half of the 20th century.
The winterberries (ilex verticillata) in the Lovers Lane/ Stockton corner of the park were showing their bright red fruits this week. The berries ripen late in the season and sometimes can still be seen on the shrubs in the wintertime. Until they fully ripen, birds do not touch them because they do not taste good. Winterberries are native to swampy areas in North America.
I ran into Mary while the sun was rapidly descending behind the trees. She had filled her canvas with a dense row of trees catching some of the changing colors finally showing after some cool nights. While she was packing up her tools, the last rays of the sun caught the pine cones above our heads. You can find more of Mary’s work on her website: www.MaryWaltham.com.
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