Journeys of Dr. G at Tyler Arboretum

The sabbatical project continues, exploring all that Tyler Arboretum has to offer

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Tyler Tales and Labels in Braille

One of the ways I prepare posts for this blog is to have several entries “in progress” and select one to finalize and have go “live” each week.  One post I had in a very early draft form was on the connection of Helen Keller and Tyler Arboretum – and it looks like one of Tyler’s student interns for the summer beat me to getting a post online on this very topic!

So I first have to give a “virtual shout out” to Tyler Arboretum’s latest blog, called Tyler Tales.  This new blog journeys through the fascinating history and legacy of Tyler Arboretum.  Early contributors to Tyler Tales includes Tyler staff members Kathryn Ombam and Chris Lawler, as well as new Education Department summer intern Shannon Crowe (who just happens to be an undergraduate student at my school, Penn State Brandywine!).  Note that you can sign up to receive email updates every time a new post is added – just enter your email in the box on the right side of the Tyler Tales home page, and you will soon receive posts on a range of topics.  My favorite post so far has been the very first one – it contains a photo of the original land deed between William Penn and Thomas Minshall (circa 1682).

Shannon recently wrote a post titled “An Unexpected Connection: Helen Keller and Tyler’s Fragrant Garden.”  This post includes photos from a letter Helen Keller sent to the Arboretum, dated December 3, 1950, adding her support for the creation of a fragrant garden.  Please read Shannon’s post – again, another fascinating story from Tyler’s history!

In my early searching for information on Tyler’s efforts to establish a garden for the blind, I came across this 1949 newspaper article that pre-dates Helen Keller’s letter:

From the Chester Times newspaper archive, August 26, 1949, page 7. Accessible at:

From the Chester Times newspaper archive, August 26, 1949, page 7. Accessible at:

I also found an article called “Notes and Comments: Garden for the Blind,” in the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboretums Newsletter 2 no.1, (January 1951): pages 7-8, that references “in 1951 the John J. Tyler Arboretum, in Media Pennsylvania set up labels in Braille for the blind.”  Clearly, Tyler’s work made local and national news!

Tyler’s Fragrant Garden is definitely going to be on my “list of places to explore” the next time I stop by the Arboretum!