Louisiana irises and wild plants

LaRC Manuscript Collection 1082 is a combination of organizational records and personal papers.

The Louisiana Iris Society was established in 1941; in 1948, its name was changed to the Society for Louisiana Irises, which continues into the twenty-first century. An early name variation was the Mary Swords DeBaillon Louisiana Iris Society.   Biologist and nature photographer Percy Viosca, Jr.  (1892-1961) lived in New Orleans and ran plant nursery businesses named Southern Biological Supply Co., Delta Iris Plantation, and Delta Iris Farms.  He was a member of the Louisiana Iris Society, but why his personal, professional, and business papers were included in this archival collection of the organization is somewhat mysterious.

The collection includes handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, financial documents, items of social ephemera, photographs and negatives ascribed to Percy Viosca, text of radio interviews, drafts and research notes, school papers, poems, calendar notes listing plants observed by Percy Viosca in specific locations such as Gentilly Ridge, field notes, garden plans, minutes, membership records, administrative records, scientific essays, bulletins, magazine and newspaper clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include Mrs. Edgar B. Stern, Tulane University professor Joseph Ewan, the American Iris Society, publishers, plant buyers including Bellingrath Gardens, and landscape architect Ellen Shipman.  A clipped newspaper article reports that the Louisiana Iris Society dedicated the "Pearl Rivers Rainbow Memorial" in New Orleans City Park, memorializing the Louisiana poet also known as Eliza Nicholson.

July 28, 1942
Gentilly Ridge
False Dandelion
Wild Petunia?
Wild Hollyhock
Marsh Mallow
Sagittaria lanafolia (a few left)
Trumpet flower
Arrowhead morning glory
pink smart weed

The Louisiana Digital Library includes the LSU collection, Louisiana Ecology and Conservation, The Percy Viosca Jr. Collection displaying earlier Louisiana nature photographs of Percy Viosca Jr.

Illustration captions:  top, Manuscripts Collection 1082, box 1, folder 27, photographic prints and negatives of irises, ascribed to Percy Viosca; bottom, 1082, box 2, folder 6, a list of wild plants seen on Gentilly Ridge, July 28, 1942.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers; collection discovered and processed by Samantha Bruner.


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