Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection

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Louise Babcock Belsterling
Louise Babcock was born on November 23, 1876 in New York to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mathew Babcock. In 1902, Ms. Babcock moved to Dallas and began teaching French language at St. Mary’s. She and Edward Belsterling met at a friend’s home, and were married shortly thereafter.
Mrs. Belsterling was fortunate to have time to pursue her love for gardening and botany. She published her Planting Manual for Dallas Gardens for the first time in 1941 and was an active member of The Dallas Garden Club of The Dallas Woman’s Club. In addition to that, Mrs. Belsterling created an extensive private library of rare books covering horticulture and botany. She passed away on April 6, 1970 in Dallas at the age of 93.

The Collection
In 1971 the Louise B. Belsterling Foundation of The Dallas Garden Club, Inc. of the Dallas Woman’s Club was founded. The Foundation transferred ownership of the private library and UT Dallas established the Belsterling Botanical Library at McDermott Library in 1972, where it has been housed since.
The volumes in the Collection originate from the personal libraries of Mrs. Belsterling and Dr. Lundell, or have been generously donated by the Dallas Garden Club. The oldest and rarest books held by the McDermott Library are found in the Collection and they cover a variety of topics in botany, horticulture, and garden design from around the world, written in over one dozen languages, and spanning six centuries.

Collection Highlights
  • The oldest book in the Library: Incipit Tractatus de Virtutibus Herbarum published in 1499.
  • Flora Londinensis, a 1777 first edition featuring more than 400 hand-colored engraved plates. This two-volume set marked the one millionth book acquired by the Library in 2004.

Information for Researchers
Though volumes from the Belsterling Collection do not circulate, they are available for research and use in the Special Collections reading room. Patrons should consider extra time for retrieval, as the volumes are stored outside of the Special Collections Division and could be unavailable. To ensure availability, please make an appointment with Special Collections ahead of your visit.
Researchers who are unable to visit the UT Dallas campus may view a selection of digitized material here on Treasures, as well as through the Library's catalog.


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Permission to reproduce or publish in any format the materials on this site must be obtained from the Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.