The Philadelphia Tribune covered not only the annual meeting of the Oasis Garden Club, but its sponsorship of Christmas workshops, the annual Flower Show, the formation of the Oasis Green Thumb 4-H Club, and summer activities in collaboration with the Thomas Durham School playground.
... Two South Philadelphia blocks, 2000 Ellsworth St., and 2100 Kater St., recently were awarded top honors at the first annual dinner meeting of the Neighborhood Garden Association of Philadelphia.
The dinner meeting was held at the Marian Anderson Center, 17th and Fitzwater sts., with the Oasis Garden Club members of the Western Community House, 1613 South St., acting as hosts.
... Mrs. Anna Baker, 2020 Ellsworth St., and Mrs. Betty Maston, 2138 Kater St., received awards ... -- December 4, 1954. Philadelphia Tribune.
... Oasis Garden Club Fetes Kiddies: Happy youngsters ... were treated to refreshments Friday at Durham School playground, 16th and Lombard sts., by members of the Green Thumb Oasis Garden Club, of the 1600 block of Naudain St. Mrs. Anne M. Spencer; Mrs. Sarah Mack, block leader, and Mrs. Lula Cabral served the goodies. Other officers and members are: Robert Mack, chairman; Mrs. Mary Dyson, president; Mrs. Paula Cook, secretary; Mrs. Laura Hayes, treasurer; Mesdames Catherine Brown, Mamie Henderson, Mary Peters, Edith White, Florence McCullum, Maria Johnson and Myrtle Royster. The group has been very active promoting civic pride in the neighborhood. ... -- August 7, 1956. Philadelphia Tribune.
... Among the girls and boys recently initiated as "Green Thumb" Junior Gardeners at the Western Community House, 1613 South St., were Roselle Green, Harriet Green, Cynthia Haynes, Phyllis Hamilton, Sharon Wilkens, Marion Green, Ellen Green, Delores Perry, Cornell Green, Charlotte Preston, Fred Williamson, Charles Durbin, Ethel Mae Green, Gerald Smith, Oliver Smith, Richard Cunningham, Darryl Byrd, Samuel Smalls Jr., Arthur Smith, Shirley Halliday, Tyrone Gordon, Wendy Halliday, Nathaniel Halliday, Reginald Williamson, Alice Williamson and Theodore Green. ... The Green Thumb Junior Gardeners were organized recently by Mrs. Elizabeth J. Forrester, program director of Western Community House and secretary of the Neighborhood Garden Association of Philadelphia. It is the junior division of the Oasis Garden Club, a neighborhood improvement organization. ... -- September 24, 1957. Philadelphia Tribune.
... First Urban 4-H Club. Two years ago, the [Neighborhood Garden] Association in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State University Extension Service, organized a pilot 4-H Club, the first urban 4-H Club in the country to be devoted to gardening projects. This first club, the Oasis Green Thumb 4-H Club was so successful that 24 additional clubs have been organized, and last summer many a trash-filled vacant lot became a lovely 4-H Club garden. ... -- November 20, 1962. Philadelphia Tribune.
... Rodman Garden Club Fetes Similar Groups. The "Secret Garden" in the 1500 block of Rodman Street was the scene of a lovely party Thursday evening, when members of the 1500 Rodman Oasis Garden Club played hosts to members of other Western Community House Oasis Garden blocks, and guests from the Friendly Garden Club of 1300 block So. 46th St.; the Calvary Settlement Garden Club and St. Martha's House Garden Club. ... The party was preceded by tours through the Oasis Garden Blocks where the visitors were greeted by Oasis members and shown lush blooming in vacant lot gardens, California-type hanging gardens, fragrant rose bays, unusual window box arrangements, newly-constructed tot-lots, and comfortable "sidewalk" chairs. ... Assisting Mrs. Mattie Burton, chairman of the 1500 Block Rodman were: Mrs. Alma Wilson, Mrs. Rebecca Bryant, Mrs. Helen Frank, Mrs. Jeanette Turner, Mrs. Nancy Longmire, Mrs. Frances Rogers, Miss Lucinda Turner, Mrs. Helen Smith, and Mrs. Green -- all of 1500 Rodman St. and Mrs. Lavinia McNeill of 2200 Carpenter; Mrs. Annie Mintess of 1700 Addison; Mrs. Gertrude Rogers of 1900 Kimball; Mrs. Marion Carey of 1800 Pemberton; Mrs. Allene Halliday of 1900 Kater; "Green Thumb" Junior Gardeners Margaret and Cornelius Watson, Cynthia Johnson, and Cynthia Hodges; and Mrs. Elizabeth J. Forrester, Western Community House staff advisor to the Oasis Garden Club. ... -- September 28, 1957. Philadelphia Tribune.
... Latona Street Residents Build Their Own Playlot. With the formal opening of "Latona Playland" last Saturday, the residents of the 2600 blk Latona st., demonstrated to the entire city what highly fruitful results can be achieved when a small group of citizens band themselves together for the betterment of their immediate block. ... The plot of ground on which two houses formerly stood had been used as a general refuse spot for two years until members of the block group to do something about the eyesore. ... The older men in the block, assisted by the larger boys started clearing-up and carting away the trash and debris. ... The Willing Workers Club of the 2600 blk. Latona st., is composed of approxiately 24 members who meet monthly the year 'round. ... -- Peyton Gray, Sr., Staff Writer. July 9, 1957. Philadelphia Tribune.
About the Collection
The Oasis Garden Club images form part of the Louise Bush-Brown Neighborhood Garden Association Collection held by the McLean Library and Archives of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The Neighborhood Garden Association of Philadelphia was founded in 1953 by noted horticulturist, activist, author and educator Louise Bush-Brown. In addition to the 120 images of the Oasis Garden Club garden blocks and vacant lot gardens, the collection depicts the earliest collaborative efforts of the Association, neighbors, garden clubs, and settlement houses who worked together to green and beautify neighborhoods and vacant lots throughout the City beginning with the first garden block on Mercy Street sponsored by St. Martha’s Settlement in Southeast Philadelphia and the now lost Ken-Watt Court a collaboration with the storied United Neighbors Association in 1953 to its partnership with the Penn State Extension to establish the first demonstration garden in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia in 1965.
Bush-Brown, Louise Carter. 1969. Garden blocks for urban America. N.Y.: Scribner.
Carner, Lucy Perkins. 1964. The settlement way in Philadelphia: the settlement movement in Philadelphia : a brief history from its beginnings in the nineteenth century to the founding of the Delaware Valley Settlement Alliance in 1963. [Philadelphia]: [Delaware Valley Settlement Alliance]
Historical Society of St. Thomas' Church. 1970-1991. Elizabeth J. Forrester Papers on Episcopalianism.
Lawson, Laura J. 2005. City bountiful a century of community gardening in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.
New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. 1955-2006. Anne Forrester Collection
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. 1953-1995. Files of the Neighborhood Garden Association.
Philadelphia tribune. 1954-1967. Philadelphia, Pa: E. James & Co.
Temple University, Sheryl Dams Pendzich, Fredric Miller, and Peter Silverman. 1976. Housing Association of Delaware Valley: a guide to the collection. Philadelphia: Urban Archives Center, Temple University Libraries.
Wessel, Thomas R., and Marilyn Wessel. 1982. 4-H, an American idea, 1900-1980: a history of 4-H. Chevy Chase, Md. : National 4-H Council.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by a National Endowment for the Humanities SHARP Grant
Mapping the Oasis Garden Club, 1954-1967