About the Exhibit

StudyOver the course of nearly 200 years of continuous family stewardship, the denizens of Montgomery Place collected books that reflected their interests and passions as well as contemporary activity of the sprawling Dutchess County, New York, estate.  The result is an extensive and diverse library, the majority of which has never been on view to the public or available to researchers.

A Garden in Print is a small, focused exhibition designed to highlight books from this hidden treasure, a large portion of which is now located in Historic Hudson Valley’s headquarters building in Pocantico Hills, New York.  Inspired by An American Arcadia, A Garden in Print features volumes that illustrate Americans’ changing relationship with nature and landscape over time. This exhibit highlights just one theme within the Montgomery Place book collection in which classic literature, military history, early American history, and law and legal history are also strongly represented.

The thirty-eight books included in A Garden in Print were selected because they exemplify the multitude of ways in which those who shaped the development of Montgomery Place were engaged with the natural world.  Published over the course of 300 years, the books range from the scientific to the inspirational.  Farming manuals are presented alongside treatises on natural history, plant-identification guides, and a book illustrated with anthropomorphic flowers. Included are works by family members as well as those by international experts.

LibraryThe family’s use of their library—as evidenced by the well-thumbed and marginalia-filled volumes diffused throughout the Montgomery Place book collection—echoes their utilization of the estate’s land.  Just as the landscape, prized for its beauty, was made productive through farming and arboriculture, so was the library functional rather than simply decorative.  As such, the books accumulated at Montgomery Place over time provide insight into intellectual life and practical concerns of an educated family that maintained a great estate along the Hudson River for the majority of the 19th and 20th centuries.

While A Garden in Print showcases just a small sample of what lies within the Montgomery Place library, it is a gateway to the book collection and all that can be learned from it.  We hope that A Garden in Print is an inviting as the entrance to Montgomery Place’s Rough Garden (pictured on the exhibit’s home page).

For more information about the exhibit, please see the bibliography.






This exhibit was curated by Catalina Hannan, Karen Walton Morse, and Christina Neckles with assistance from Lauren Bailey, Susan Cavanaugh, Ross W. Higgins, Jessa J. Krick, Jill Mosebach, and Hannah Schrader.  Photography by Karen M. Sharman.  Web design by Hudson Fusion, LLC.

A Garden in Print has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibit, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

All items featured in this exhibit: Gift of J. Dennis Delafield, Historic Hudson Valley.