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Collection Guide
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Patricia Stemler Wiley Rose Collection
MS 139  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains materials from Roses of Yesterday and Today, formerly known as Lester Rose Gardens, in Watsonville, Calif. Includes scrapbooks & albums, business papers, artwork, miscellaneous publications, and photographs and catalog run.
Background
The history of the world famous rose growing, breeding and shipping enterprise, Roses of Yesterday and Today, of Browns Valley Road, Watsonville, is represented in their catalogs. The format and content of the catalog has remained fairly consistent since the earliest versions were produced by Will Tillotson in the 1940's. Each issue began with a friendly essay written either by Mr. Tillotson ("CW" or Catalog Writer), Dorothy Stemler (known in the early catalogs as "Honorable Secretary"), or Patricia Stemler Wiley (Dorothy's daughter and the donor of the collection). The body of the catalog is an annotated list of the roses available in that year, each precisely and gracefully described. The catalogs are handsomely designed and attractively illustrated, the older years reflecting Dorothy's love of art and her skill as a photographer, the more recent issues continuing this tradition of graphic excellence with the work of Pat and her husband Jack. The charm of the catalogs lies in the care invested them; their design and production resemble that of a well-tended garden; they are literally "anthologies" (originally flower collections) of images, annotations, verses, and essays whichwhen read in sequence provide us with an engaging history of the firm. When Francis Lester, pioneer rosarian and author of My Friend the Rose, planted rose gardens among the redwoods in Browns Valley in 1937, he also began "a tradition of attractive, chatty catalogues calculated to infect their readers with Lester's love of the subject. These informative, readable booklets have been the old roses' most effective propagandist -- under Lester's successor, Will Tillotson, this catalogue ... inspired ...the founders of the Heritage Roses Group. (Thomas Christopher, In Search of Lost Roses, (New York, 1989) p.156).
Extent
3 boxes, 2 flats
Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Availability
Collection open for research.