© 2008 University of Chicago Library
Preservation of this collection was supported with a generous gift from the University of Chicago Service League.
Hyde Park Garden Fair Commitee. Records
.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Special Collections Research Center
The collection contains various administrative, financial, membership, and publicity documents related to the Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee public services projects. Included are records such as member handbooks, minutes, financial reports, newspaper clippings, and event procedures.
Box 1 is open for research, with no restrictions. Box 2 contains budgets and other financial material; access to this material requires permission of the donor.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
The Garden Fair has a long history in the neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Kenwood, dating back to May of 1959. The Fair's founders included the respected environmental activist and Hyde Park Herald editor Lee Botts, along with Helga Sinaiko, Sophie Rudin and Mollie Salmon. The Fair began during the period of urban renewal in Hyde Park, when the founders thought that gardening should be promoted to go along with the upgrading of houses and the community in general. As there were no nearby garden centers, the Fair started as a small plant exchange among avid gardeners. Since this policy excluded people with nothing to exchange, the Fair quickly shifted to seeking out plants from far-flung suppliers in the rural and ex-urban distance and bringing them back to the neighborhood. By the early 1970s, the Fair had expanded to provide a wide variety of plants—“perennials for those with access to a patch of ground, but also annuals in containers for those with balconies, herbs for cooks with sunny back porches, and even rare and unusual houseplants for those whose gardening is in a bright apartment window.”
The Garden Fair grew to such proportions that the Committee members had trouble stocking enough material for two days of selling. By 1977 a system of captains for each horticultural department was established because the work of ordering, setting up, pricing and inventorying was so large. Early on, the small profit that the Fair made was turned over to the Hyde-Park Kenwood Community Conference. But in 1971 the Committee began keeping some of the funds raised by the Fair to promote gardening in the neighborhood, whether by education or beautification. Since then, the Committee has planted many flowers throughout Hyde Park, provided classroom teachers grants for horticultural projects, given lectures at the Hyde Park YMCA, the Neighborhood Club and the Coop, and helped organize garden walks. Currently, committee members continue to donate their time, and organize not only the large annual community fairs, but also plant, design, and maintain several neighborhood gardens and sidewalk planters along community streets. The Committee also donates plants to area churches, synagogues, hospitals, schools, and other institutions.
This collection is arranged according to access. Box 1 has no restrictions, while Box 2, containing financial reports and meeting minutes, requires the permission of the donor for access. Within each box, the arrangement is alphabetical. The arrangement and file headings are consistent with the original arrangement of files kept by the Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee. Box 1 contains materials ranging from calendars and fair procedures to publicity articles and plans for beautification projects. The “Garden Fair handbook” folder is particularly useful as it summarizes the structure and activities of the Committee.
The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:
Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Records
|Box 1 Folder 1|
|Box 1 Folder 2|
Fair procedures, 1983-2002
|Box 1 Folder 3|
Garden Fair correspondence, 1975-1979
|Box 1 Folder 4|
Garden Fair handbook, 1999
|Box 1 Folder 5|
Green Deed, certificate, 1998
|Box 1 Folder 6|
Membership lists, 1975-2004
|Box 1 Folder 7|
Price lists, 1967-2006
|Box 1 Folder 8-9|
|Box 1 Folder 10-11|
Special projects, 1973-1998
|Box 1 Folder 12|
Volunteers, instructions and assignments, 1996-1998
|Box 2 Folder 1|
Financial reports, 1967-2005
|Box 2 Folder 2|
Meeting minutes, 1964-2003
|Box 2 Folder 3|
Special projects, budgets and financial information, 1975-1999