Donald Opitz

Associate Professor
School for New Learning
DePaul University

2013 to 2014
Research Fellow

Cross-Atlantic Fertilizations: Women’s Horticultural Education at Ambler, Pennsylvania

Abstract: In this project I will research the founding and early years of the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women. As the first American college for training women in horticultural science, it joined its European precursors within an international movement for the advancement of women within farming and gardening fields. Through my study of rich collections held at several PACHS member libraries, I intend to establish cross-Atlantic connections between the Pennsylvania school and its English peers, namely the colleges at Swanley and Studley, as well as demonstrate the role of the school in positioning women for contributing to the biological sciences during a period in which women’s inroads into the sciences through standard academic tracks proved limited. This study will contribute to our understanding of women’s participation in the sciences as well as the relationship of horticulture in advancing biological fields like botany, genetics, and natural history. Read Donald's report on his PACHS-sponsored research here.