"David's leadership elevated the organization - making it an elite place for horticultural education and prestige."
March 22, 1822
On this day, the New York Horticultural Society (NYHS) was founded. The NYHS was the first horticultural society in the nation and survived until the late 1800s.
While the Massachusetts and the Pennsylvania Hort Societies flourished, the New York Society faltered.
In 1837, a frustrated group member wrote a letter to the editor of the Magazine of Horticulture and Botany, complaining that the society’s declining membership was due to the city’s decline in morality and an overwhelming focus on prosperity. As a result, he wrote that people couldn’t “afford to patronize a horticultural exhibition.”
In reality, the society had fallen victim to the economic downturn of the 1830s. The group was also impacted by the death of their President - the great botanist David Hosack.
David's leadership elevated the organization - making it an elite place for horticultural education and prestige.
Without David, wealthy members fell away, and the organization struggled for relevancy.
Over and over again, this group tried and failed to garner enough support to build a botanical garden in New York.
Finally, in the 1890s, a new movement led by the botanical power couple Nathaniel Lord and Elizabeth Britton - successfully garnered attention and support and ultimately led to the creation of the New York Botanical Garden.