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Collection Scope and Content Note


Two interests of Mrs. Virginia deMorat Smith Scheetz were ornithology and horticulture, and her papers are divided into these two basic categories.

The wife of a Cornell University trustee, Francis Harley Scheetz, Jr., Mrs. Scheetz came to Cornell in the summers of 1947, 1948, 1950, and 1952, taking courses in ornithology with Dr. Arthur A. Allen and his wife Elsa G. Allen and forming lasting friendships not only with the Allens but with others connected with the Laboratory of Ornithology, as is reflected in the correspondence. These courses so excited Mrs. Scheetz' interest in ornithology that she in turn influenced others with her enthusiasm, giving talks on ornithology to organizations such as schools, garden clubs, and church groups, primarily in the Northeast area.

Her class notes and notebooks while Dr. Allen's student, plus class notes from two other courses, one in floriculture and one in conservation, are of special interest in this collection. Correspondence with Laboratory of Ornithology personalities such as Arthur and Elsa Allen, Sally Hoyt (Spofford), Peter Paul Kellogg, O.S. Pettingill, Charles Sibley, Myles North, Gustav Swanson, and Cornell administrators Dale R. Corson and Arthur Peterson constitute another area worthy of note, since Mrs. Scheetz served as a member of the Advisory Council, later Administrative Board, of the Laboratory of Ornithology during the period 1956 to 1960 and 1961 to 1964.

The minutes of the meetings of the aforementioned Advisory Council, the Laboratory's newsletter, of which Mrs. Scheetz was editor for five years, and general material from Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology, such as promotional handouts for the Lab and its various sound and photography projects, articles about the Laboratory and by staff members, news clippings, photographs, two tapes of bird calls by Myles North, and general correspondence concerning speech arrangements and reflecting her influence on others concerning ornithology, rounds out this part of the collection.

Also included in this section on ornithology are the notes on 3" by 5" cards that Mrs. Scheetz used for her speeches during the years 1948 to 1968. They merit special attention, as they give not only an outline of the speech, but indicate where and when the speech was given and include remarks on slides and records used. These slides and records were products of the Laboratory of Ornithology.

The latter part of the collection is devoted to Mrs. Scheetz' horticultural interests: material from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Garden Club of America, and Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania. This material includes correspondence, minutes of the Executive Board meetings of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on which Mrs. Scheetz served, newsletters, yearbooks, and various pieces of literature on House and Garden tours, Garden Club shows, and other activities of these groups in which Mrs. Scheetz participated.

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