Memorial Hall Library will close at 5pm Wednesday, November 22nd and remain closed through Friday, November 24th for Thanksgiving.

Memorial Hall Library

An Evening with Author Marta McDowell

Author and garden writer, Marta McDowell will share her latest book, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series chronicled frontier life starting in the late 1860s. The classic books are both a coming of age story and a reflection of the pioneer spirit of the time. They are also deeply rooted in the natural world—the plants, animals, and landscapes are integral to the stories. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder considers Wilder’s life and her relationship to the natural world. Looking into Wilder's world also illuminates our own relationship to the nature, family, and memory. Featuring original art by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, and historical images, maps, botanical illustrations, and contemporary photographs. Copies of the book will be available for sale, courtesy of the Andover Bookstore.

Marta McDowell lives, writes and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Woman’s Day,Country Gardening and The New York Times. Scholars and specialists have read her essays on American authors and their horticultural interests in the journals Hortus and Arnoldia.

Timber Press published All the Presidents' Gardens, a book that relates the history of American gardening as seen through the White House grounds. It made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award in 2017. Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led Marta to children's author/illustrator Beatrix Potter and poet Emily Dickinson. Timber Press published Marta’s book, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, in 2013. It won the Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association in August 2014. Emily Dickinson’s Gardens was published by McGraw-Hill in 2005. If you visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, you can stroll the grounds with a landscape audio tour that Marta scripted. She was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden's 2010 show, "Emily Dickinson's Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers," and worked with Chicago Botanic Garden's Lenhardt Library on a Beatrix Potter exhibit in 2016.

Marta teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden where she has been twice awarded "Instructor of the Year." A popular lecturer, she has been a featured speaker at locations ranging from the Arnold Arboretum to the Philadelphia Flower Show to the Beatrix Potter Society's Linder Lecture at the Sloane Club in London. With artist Yolanda Fundora, Marta wrote "A Garden Alphabetized (for your viewing pleasure)" in 2008. 

Marta interned at Wave Hill, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor in Devon, England and at the Chelsea Physic Garden. She worked as a horticulturist for five years at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Marta is on the Board of the NJ Historical Garden Foundation at the Cross Estate in Bernardsville, NJ. She received the 2016 Annual Award from the Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Her garden is included in the Smithsonian's Archive of American Gardens.