Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Acomb, Mrs. Frederick G. (Geraldine de M. Goutiere) '62

1970: 1110 Rahway Road, Plainfield

1973 - 1978 Address: 1110 Rahway Road, Plainfield

1980 - 1990: 7 Bayberry Hill Rd, Avon CT

1984 - 1985: Active
1986 - 1987: Moved to Affiliate
1992 - 1993: Resigned

1987 NOTE: Writes to request change in membership status from "Active" to "Non-resident"

April 2000 PGC newsletter mentioned she passed away in April 2000

Conneticut Courant Obituary March 18, 2000

Acomb, Geraldine De M. (goutiere)
March 18, 2000
ACOMB, Geraldine de M. (Goutiere)

Geraldine de M. (Goutiere) Acomb, 92, of Farms Village Road, West Simsbury, wife of the late Frederick G. Acomb, died Thursday, (March 16, 2000) at the McLean Home in Simsbury. She was born October 20, 1907 in Mussorie, Northern Provinces, India, daughter of the late George and Alicia (Whipple) Goutiere and lived in New Jersey and Avon prior to moving to West Simsbury two years ago. Mrs. Acomb was an accomplished artist who attended the Boston Arts School. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Bruce and Patricia Acomb of West Simsbury; a brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Evelyn Goutiere of Tampa, FL; a sister-in-law, Kaye Goutiere, of Patterson, CA; three grandchildren, Aaron Acomb and his wife Kathy, Adrienne Acomb, Stephanie Kramer and her husband Daniel; two great grandchildren, Samuel and Caleb Acomb and several nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be Monday; March 20, 11 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Avon with the Rev. John Whitnah officiating. A reception will follow in the Church Parish Hall. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, NJ on Wednesday, March 22. There will be no calling hours. Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury has charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 35 Harris Road., Avon, CT 06001.

Advertisement for Mrs. Acomb's aunt's book

There and Then, Stories of India by Christine Weston
Illustrated by George de Goutiere, Christine Weston's brother and father to Geraldine Acomb

NY Times May 6, 1989 Obituary for Geraldine's aunt Christine Weston

Christine Weston, 85, Author of Novels and Stories
Published: May 06, 1989

Christine Weston, a novelist and short-story writer whose work was set largely in India, died Wednesday in her apartment in Bangor, Me., her family reported. She was 85 years old.

Praising her work, E. M. Forster wrote in 1950: ''Mrs. Weston writes seriously, carefully compassionately; she is not interested in the glamorous East or in the boosting of this or that political creed; she writes for those who are emotionally involved in the country and who love it.''

Reviewing her novel ''Indigo'' in The New York Times in 1943, Willard Thorp cited ''the richness of the setting - the fragrance and the filth of the river and its plains, the languorous days and liq=uid nights, the rank jungle growth, the tug of racial conflict.''

For her part, Mrs. Weston once wrote: ''The country of one's childhood is always predominant in one's memory: India is a beautiful, kindly land, and notwithstanding all the perils of life in the tropics, it is a fine country for any child to grow up in.''

190489). U.S. author Christine Weston was celebrated for her novels featuring finely crafted portrayals of her native India. Indigo, her most acclaimed novel, was praised for its rich evocation of the sights, sounds, and smells of that country.

She was born Christine Goutiere in United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), India, on Aug. 31, 1904. Her father was a British barrister descended from . . . Britannica

Christine Goutiere Weston (1904 - 1989) was a novelist and author of short stories. She was born in Unao, now in Uttar Pradesh, India, the daughter of a British indigo planter of French descent, who was also born in India. In 1923 she married American businessman Robert Weston, and moved with him to the United States, where she began a writing career.

Weston's novel Indigo (1943) is generally considered her best, and made her reputation. Her next novel, The Dark Woods (1946) also received good reviews and the rights were bought by Twentieth-Century Fox. The film was cast in 1946 with Maureen O'Hara and Tyrone Power in the lead roles, and Otto Preminger directing, but was never produced.

Weston also wrote The Devil's Foot (1942), The World is a Bridge (1950) and two non-fiction books about Ceylon and Afghanistan. In total she produced 10 novels, over 30 short stories (mostly for New York magazines), 2 non-fiction books, and a children's book.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Christine Weston, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.

Leopards in The Garden by Geraldine de M.G. Acomb

"Leopards In The Garden" by Geraldine de M.G. Acomb (no publisher, no date, inscribed)
(Geraldine is the sister of Peter J. Goutiere who wrote "Himalayan Rogue"

de Marquetiere Goutiere

My name is Mark de Goutiere and I live in Victoria, British Columbia.

Years ago my parents went by the name "de Marquetiere Goutiere", shortened to "de M. Goutiere".

This got shortened again to de Goutiere and has stuck all my life. I am 80 years old and my parents both died in 1948.

My brother Tony has been working on the family tree and has a lot more information than I do. Please contact me if you wish.

1915-1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

Mrs. David Scott Foster '46

A portrait painted by 'Jenny Acomb' comissioned by Connie Foster in an online album created by Scott Foster

Could "Jenny Acomb" be "Gerry Acomb"?

May 1980

Letter from Gerry

7 Bayberry Hill Rd.
Avon, CT 06601
March 24, 1987

Dear Sally,

I feel overly guilty for not attending the Garden Club meetings regularly, but it seems impossible to do so [not legible] so far away, and I wondered if it will be possible to change my membership from active member to non-resident member and thus make room for a less venerable member?!

Hope to see you soon

Gerry Acomb

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report May 9, 1994

Purple Clematis

Purple Clematis

Email from Susan Fraser to Anne Shepherd February 11, 2011

Dear Anne:

Thank you for sharing your personal archives yet again with the club. I will start tonight to scan them into "computer form" and post them on the website.

I looked into the 1995 Archive album we have on line. So far, there are only scans of correspondence from the Corresponding Secretary file. You may want to take a look:

I did see a note from Barbara Grinnell that she went to Affiliate that year after moving to North Carolina. So, those photos of the garden tour in Bedminster (was it Bedminster?) must be prior to 1995.

I am sure I will have dozens of questions as I go through the material! Sorry to be annoying and I really appreciate your help. Susan

PS Attached are scans of the postcard you gave me. You can begin to keep a digital file folder of all your treasures. I will write to Elisabeth Loizeaux directly and see what I can find out. I do see that the artist was Gerry Acomb.

Email from Susan Fraser to Elisabeth Loizeaux February 11, 2011

Dear Elisabeth:

I am writing you with a question regarding an archival matter. As you know, we are doing our best to scan and document the club into our new website

A few weeks ago, I scanned in your documents when you were Corresponding Secretary. If you wish to take a walk down memory lane (!) please visit some of the years when you served in that position. For example, here is the 1991 Archive album:

You should know that your definition of the Corresponding Secretary job has been for the most part, unaltered since you wrote it all those years ago. Why tinker with perfection?!

Today I was at Anne Shepherd's house collecting memorabilia she had saved from her mother as well as herself. I take the documents, scan them, file them by Year and Member and give them back to Anne. It has been great to have these things as we have identified most of the PGC members over the last 96 years – I think we number around 345.

In today's pile, Anne handed me a beautiful postcard which I have attached to this email. Anne said this was your project and these cards were sold to raise money for our projects (which is clearly stated on the back) Can you tell me any more about this card such as what year it was printed? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I do see that Gerry Acomb was the artist. She was very talented!

Thank you for all your help with the Archives. It really means a lot to all the members (Active, Sustainer and Affiliate) as well as the greater Plainfield community. We have received a lot of accolades as of late – the Shakespeare Garden was registered in the National Trust and the New Jersey Women's Historical Trail has also listed us. We are getting two signs for the garden this year to denote these honors.


Susan Fraser

Email from Elisabeth Loizeaux to Susan Fraser February 12, 2011

Dear Susan,

Yes, I remember the postcard well. I believe it was a State wide project for GCA clubs to acquaint people with native plants (it could even have been a Nation wide project). I am sorry, but I can't recall what year it was undertaken . I would suggest you ask Barbara Sandford about Gerri Acomb. If I remember correctly, she grew up in Northern India and was a painter of botanical subjects, quite well known. I now wonder if PGC ever owned the original painting of the clematis? I remember endless trips to the printer, and I was never really happy with the colors .We all had to buy a certain number of cards and then sell them to our friends and acquaintances. If the date is really important, maybe GCA has records, I recall going to a meeting (maybe a Zone meeting) and seeing a large collection of other cards.

But do ask Barbara about Ms Acomb, she was an unusual person. In fact, please let me know what you find out. There are so many interesting stories about "old Plainfield" people, how they were related, how they intermarried etc. ––- I could not believe my eyes when I saw Beverley Reid's letter of resignation. She must have been really disappointed in us younger members. She was MRS Gardenclub, a super talented horticulturist and arranger, trained by the previous super GC members: The two sisters Mrs. Frost and Mrs. de Hart, Marge Elliot, Mrs. Ladd (who went to flower shows with her maid in attendance who had to hand her tools and flowers at her command, the way a nurse hands surgical instruments to the surgeon!)

Best regards,


Email from Jeanne Turner to Susan Fraser February 13, 2011

I will help you in the "introduction" project.

I WILL be there Wednesday and ask Barbara Sandford.

Ted's cousin Susie Carter (Loizeaux) McCartney had her portrait, with her children, painted by Mrs Acomb.

Crazy week!


Portrait by Gerri Acomb

Portrait commissioned by Connie of DSF Jr.'s Three daughters, Katherine, Laura and Elizabeth about 1969


Connie Foster is a Plainfield Garden Club member

Memory of Gerri Acomb from Sally Booth

February 16, 2011

I had my portrait done by Mrs. Acomb. I was three! The story goes that I was all dressed and done and brought over to the Acombs to begin the sitting. Mrs. Acomb's little son evidently pushed me in the fish pond. I had to go back home, have it all done again and returned.

Sally Genung Booth

Here I am about 2-3. Sally Booth by Gerry Acomb

Email dated February 16, 2011

Sally Genung Booth

Sally Genung Booth

1984 Questover Designers Showhouse Program

Questover Program pages 1 through 55

Questover Program pages 56 through 106

Questover Program pages 107 through 131

Plainfield Public Library

ACOMB, GERALDINE (1907-2000)
Geraldine De M. (Goutiere) Acomb was born in northern India. By 1970, she moved to Plainfield, where she resided for a decade. She attended the Boston Arts School, and became an accomplished artist of portraits and botanicals. While in Plainfield, she was a member of the Plainfield Garden Club. Acomb was also a writer, and authored Leopards in the Garden. She passed away in 2000 at the age of 92, and is buried in Hillside Cemetery.

Portrait of Anne Louise Davis

Gift of F. Edgar Davis Jr. & Geoffrey C. Davis in 2003

June 12, 2012 Email from Cath Detwiller's family

New "Contact Us" submission from Frederic C. Detwiller
Date: Tue, June 12, 2012 11:53 am
To: (more)
Priority: Normal
Options: View Full Header | View Printable Version | Download this as a file | View Message details

You've received a new submission from your "contact us" through your "Plainfield
Garden Club" Andy's Web Tools web site.

name: Frederic C. Detwiller
phone: 978 352-2819


We have a portrait of Cath Detwiller by Gerry Acomb. I could send you a peg of this for your website since it relates to two of your members. Our mother is still living at Fox Hill Village in Westwood, MA and recently celebrated her 96th birthday with her new great grandson Benjamin Xavier Detwiller.

Cath Detwiller & Portrait by Gerry Acomb Feb. 2007

sent in by Rick Detwiller, June 13, 2012

Leopards in the Garden by Geraldine de M. Goutiere

Leopards in the Garden by Acomb, Geraldine De M.GBook Description
Near Fine in softcover. 28 by 20 cm. 271 pages. Illustrated cover. Contains black and white illustations by the author. Also contains some black and white illustrations from photographs. Small bump to bottom of spine. Very uncommon book by this well-known artist. Bright, clean..
spine : The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf. Also known as the back. Book Details
Leopards in the Garden by Acomb, Geraldine De M.G
Bookseller: Laird Books (CA)
Bookseller Inventory #: SHELFAL02
Title: Leopards in the Garden
Author: Acomb, Geraldine De M.G
Binding: Paperback
Keywords: Non-fiction, History, Art
Bookseller catalogs: Art; History; Non-Fiction;
Subjects: ART / General; EDUCATION / History;

House Records

Property at 00005 REDWOOD LANE 224A Prop ID 3680005
+––-Sales History–––––––––––––––––––-+
| Owner Vol Page Date SalesPr Valid|
| SPOONER ELIZABETH S 573 310 03-Apr-2008 353,000 |
| AUBREY ROBERT P & 375 274 30-Aug-1999 242,500 |
| ACOMB GERALDINE DE M G 229 770 06-Dec-1989 300,000 |

2000 January thru June Executive Board Meeting Minutes

1100 Rahway Road

Mrs. Frederick G. (Geraldine de M. Goutiere) Acomb

1965 50th Anniversary Party of the Plainfield Garden Club held at the Monday Afternoon Club

These photos were taken from slides stored at the Plainfield Library and made into digital images on March 22, 2013.

Mrs. Acomb

Mrs. Acomb must have been the evening's photographer. We have not information as to who took these photos that evening.

In the background, seated is Mrs. William S. Tyler '15. The other ladies are not identified.

Mrs. Acomb

Having grown up in India, Mrs. Acomb wears a beautiful sari to this special black-tie event.

Then President Elsa (Mrs. William) Holman, Jr. is on the left.

Email Exchange March 2013

Dear Caroline,

Yes, Sally shared your email address – I hope that is okay. I promise we will not pester you too much!

Thank you for your identification of Mrs. Acomb – all agree that you are absolutely correct. We never had a photo of her before and it is wonderful that we do now!

It also makes a lot of sense that she is wearing an Indian sari as she grew up in India. How beautiful!

Sally and the Detwiller family were her patrons and have sent us digital images of their portraits. If you would ever take a photograph of the two portraits you own and would share them, we would love that. In her file we have kept images of all her work that we have found.

It is interesting that you think that one man may be Mr. Noss. Edith Tyler Noss did not officially join the Club in 1966. Perhaps that is why she is not photographed? Maybe there are more photographs somewhere else? We are just so pleased to have discovered these.

I am sorry not to have spoken with your mother as well. What a long, full life she enjoyed. I know the Ladies are looking down and happy we are archiving all their work!

Enjoy Spring and thanks again – Susan

Caroline Normann
Mar 23 (1 day ago) 2013

to Sally, me
Dear Susan, how thoughtful of you to send this to me. I have to imagine that Sally Booth gave you my name and contact information. I am sorry to say the only person who looks at all familiar to me is the lady with the camera and also on the right in #15 of the pdf file, who I think might be Geraldine (Gerry) Acomb. She and my mother (Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchell) and Sally's mother were close friends. I have two portraits Gerry she did, one very large and elegant one of my mother in a Victorian gown that hung in the front hall of my grandparents' home on Prospect Avenue, and another small one of me as a very young child. Sadly none of the other people in your photos look at all familiar with the possible exception of the man on the left in #3 who could be Henry Noss, Ethel's son-in-law, husband of Edith. But I can't imagine if he were there that Edith, Ethel's daughter, would not also have been, and there is no one in any of these photos who looks like Edith. The Nosses did live in Plainfield in 1965, as I used to visit them in the early 1960s. If they attended the event, I"m sure the photographer (Gerry?) would have captured them both, likely with Ethel. Edith wrote a history of the club which is in the archives. He was a devoted gardener (and retired NYU history professor who I believe also served as dept chair for some years). Unless they were away when the event took place I cannot imagine that they were not there. There are also multiple photos and references to all of the Van Boskerck/Tyler members from the beginnings.

I regret being of little help to you and wish my mother were still living. She would have known and delighted in identifying many of them of the older set in attendance, but alas she died in 2010 at 97.

Feel free to ask anything else of me.

Best regards,

On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM, Plainfield Garden Club <> wrote:
Dear Caroline,

Today we converted old slides into digital photographs and the first event was the 50th Anniversary of the Garden Club in 1965. Attached are several photographs of Mrs. William S. (Ethel Van Boskerck) Tyler who was honored as the last founding member of the club in 1965.

Also attached is a pdf of a reduced quality (the photos are less clear and smaller) of all the slides taken that evening. Would you by chance recognize anyone else in the slides? We can send larger photographs if that would help.

You can also view all our records from 1965 at at this direct link:

1965 50th Anniversary Party

Thank you for any assistance you can offer. We would love to place a name with every face.


Susan Fraser
Plainfield Garden Club
Founded 1915

Email from Caroline Potter March 28, 2013

Dear Susan,

of course I do not mind that Sally shared my contact information, and you may contact me anytime.

I have two portraits Mrs. Acomb painted. The one of mother was probaby done in the early 1930s and is stored elsewhere right now ... it is very large and my house does not accommodate that much wall space, but your request gives me incentive to retrieve it from my friend's kind care. I appreciate your patience as I do this. Meanwhile a photo of the small portrait of me is easy and is attached. Mom wrote on its back that is of me and was painted in late 1943 or early 1944 when I was just over a year old.

I wish you well as you continue your search for the identity of those dinner guests.

Best regards, Caroline

Email from Caroline Potter March 28, 2013

Caroline Andrews Potter
1 year old 1943
by Geraldine de Goutiere Acomb

Tom Moore's Personal Book Collection

"Leopards In The Garden" by Geraldine de M.G. Acomb (no publisher, no date, inscribed)
(Geraldine is the sister of Peter J. Goutiere who wrote "Himalayan Rogue"


(CNAC December 1, 1942 - June 1947)
(Captain - April 1943)
(Hump Flights - 680)

Pete Goutiere and Bert Coulson Returning from a hunting trip near Dinjan

(Anybody know the guy behind Pete?)
(Photo Courtesy of Jim Dalby)

Captain Peter Goutiere

January 1970 - Tuscon, Arizona

Jules Watson and Pete Goutiere standing by a TWA B-747
Pete was getting checked out in this plane.
(Photo Courtesy of Pete Goutiere)

Himalayan Rouge

Peter J. Goutiere

2013-07-07 Note from Jeanne & Ted Turner

(Gerry Acomb also entered the portrait into a show at the National Arts Club on Grammercy Park South – NYC)

J –

Sorry for the condition of article – or lack of date. Must've been Courier News +/1 1967


The mother in this picture is Jed's cousin
Lois Susan Carter McCartney
Ann Loizeaux Carter (her mother)
Lived 1215 Putnam Av. - Loizeaux Homestead - Plainfield
Husband Geo Bush II Sec'y HUD
Dark Hair – Molly McCartney Preston
Light Hair – Sarah McCartney Beattie
Owns flower shop – Duxbury, MA

EDITOR'S NOTE: Based on information on the back of the newspaper article indicating that October 28th was a Saturday, the year is most likely 1967. The next year that October 28th falls on a Saturday is 1972.

2013-07-07 Photo of Painting from Ted & Jeanne Turner

2013-07-07 Pamphlet from Jeanne & Ted Turner

Front Page:

Paintings by Geraldine Acomb
Sculpture by Anne Louise Davis
October 23rd thru Nov. 18th
Swain's Second Floor Gallery

2013-07-07 Pamphlet from Jeanne & Ted Turner

Inside two pages:

GERALDINE DE M. G. ACOMB, one of New Jersey's finest traditional painters, was born in India of British parents and spent her childhood there and in England.

Mrs. Acomb came to Boston in 1928 and studied under Philip Hale at the Boston Museum School; later with Wayman Adams, well known National Academiecian and portrait painter; and with Eliot Clark, landscape painter and president of the National Academy of Design.

As a portrait painter, Mrs. Acomb has the gift of capturing with adroit insight the character of her subject, a quality rare among modern painters. Along with this ability she has nother that is of equal importance – paint quality and texture. Deft handling of the brush, strong composition, tasteful color, mark her paintings as those of an accomplished portraitist. She is also a fine watercolorist and has included some examples in this exhibition.

Mrs. Acomb has exhibited at the National Arts Club, the Butler Gallery, the Montclair Art Museum, Springfield Academy and the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club.

Mrs. Acomb has resided in Plainfield since 1932

ANNE LOUIS DAVIS has lived all her life in Plainfield. She has sculpted sporadically for the past nine or ten years, and has studied in Philip Orlando's Classes. She says of herself:

"I had a quiet, conservative-even antiseptic-upbringing, so I can't tell you how my sculpture evolves from this background other than from an inner need to express myself. The one rule I have set is that whatever I do must be peaceful and relaxing – if there is humor this is a bonus. I will go to great ends to create a peaceful environment in my home and this philosophy governs everything I live with. Wood I love most for its great warmth. Stone I like for its strength. The "Studies in Motion" have developed from a need to talk in a way that is light, gay, that has a flexibility wood and stone don't have. Everything must be seen from any angle (composition), and I must want to live with it.

"When it comes to classicism in sculpture, the Greeks said all there was to say 2500 years ago, and I think no one has bested them for equisite scale and treatment. The Roman copyists have appalled me, and I am not and cannot be a Michaelangelo or Leonardo. So I occupy my own miniscule corner in this angry, confused era. I don't want to leave torture as my mark. I do what I do, for better or worse, and let it stand at that, and always try to make the next piece better."

2013-07-07 Pamphlet from Jeanne & Ted Turner

Back Side:

317 West Front Street
Plainfield, New Jersey

Gallery Hours:
Daily – 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Thursday 'til 9:00 P.M.

2013-07-07 Newspaper article from Jeanne & Ted Turner

Caption under photograph:
TWO TRADITIONS – Geraldine Acomb, left, painter and Anne Louise Davis, sculptress, present their work at Swain's Art Gallery, W. Front Street. The painter's work is "Mrs. McCartney and Children." The sculpture is "The Disciples." (Chaal photo.)

Painters, Sculptors Exhibit Their Work
An exhibit of traditional painting, watercolors and pencil sketches contrasted with sculpture in a starkly modern vein by two Plainfield artists opened Monday in Swain's Art Gallery, 317 W. Front St.

Geraldine Acomb provides both watercolors of Maine harbor scenes and portraits of a number of Plainfield personalities.

Her work is complemented by that of modern sculptress Anne Louise Davis. Miss Davis' work includes a group of steel mesh figures entitled "studies in motion" as well as several wood sculptures.

One group of three steel screen figures represents three positions of a discus thrower as if shown in sequence by a fast camera.

Another sculpture worked from a piece of wood from a cherry tree "felled by a heavy thunderstorm in 1962" is called "Disciples." The sculptress, who admits to some difficulty in deciding titles for her work, said the title "search of faith" also had been suggested. When someone suggested the figures represented disciples carrying their fallen leader, she said, "That's it."

The modern sculptural setting provides a foil for the more traditional work of Mrs. Acomb. Her paintings such as a vase full of peonies and other work done of friends and their children glow with the warmth and light of their subjects.

Despite the different poles of creative approach, the exhibit achieves a certain unity in the way it has been arranged by Swain's.

The exhibit remains open to the public through Nov. 18.

2013-07-07 Newspaper article from Jeanne & Ted Turner

Back of the article

1967 Acomb & Davis Art Exhibit at Swain's Gallery

2013-07-08 More Acomb Paintings around town

In response to the email regarding the recently discovered 1967 Art Exhibit:

There is an Acomb portrait of Barbara [Sandford] at 1275 Denmark Road. Also, Wardlaw-Hartridge has one in the Oakwood Room of the last Hartridge head Betsy Cayer, which was commissioned by the board when Henry Foster was on the board.

Pat Turner Kavanaugh

Betsy Cayer

July 9, 2013

Upon learning about the McCartney portrait, friend of the Plainfield Garden Club, Pat Turner Kavanaugh, sent us three more from Wardlaw Hartridge.

Wardlaw-Hartridge has one in the Oakwood Room of the last Hartridge head Betsy Cayer, which was commissioned by the board when Henry Foster was on the board . Pat Turner Kavanaugh

Miss Hartridge

The Misses Scribner and Newton's School for Girls was founded in 1884 in Plainfield near the Wardlaw School. The school name was changed to The Hartridge School when, in 1903, Miss Hartridge became the school's owner.

(This portrait was sent along with Betsy Cayer as it also hangs in the Oakwood Room at Wardlaw Hartridge. It is not confirmed that the artist was Mrs. Acomb.)

Miss Sleeper

Harriet Sleeper was born in 1902 in Northampton. After graduating from Smith College in 1923, she began a teaching career which culminated in the principalship of the Hartridge School in Plainfield, New Jersey, a position she held from 1951 until her retirement in 1968. During the winters after her retirement she lived in Montpelier with Lucille Kelly, a former Hartridge faculty member and volunteered at the Vermont Historical Society. She maintained a summer home on former Camp Marbury property and died in Vergennes on October 3, 1975.

(This portrait was sent along with Betsy Cayer as it also hangs in the Oakwood Room at Wardlaw Hartridge. It is not confirmed that the artist was Mrs. Acomb.)

Barbara Tracy Sandford

by Geraldine Acomb
This portrait hangs in Barbara's home

1973-1974 PGC Directory


1974-1975 Directory

October 30, 2013 Furman Family Sends in Memorabilia

October 30, 2013

Sandy Furman sent her last two garden club photos and for the first time, we have a nice photo of Shirley Clark Barnhart '48.

October 29, 2013

Sandy Furman has sent in four more photos from her mother's momentos and they are worth taking a peek. She included a 1970 photo with three other PGC members: Dodie Roome; Betty Fitzpatrick; and Sally's mom, Dot Genung! UPDATE: Sally has just written to say that is not her mother . . . can anyone identify the lady in the white dress? Click here.

Also hilarious are two photos of Mrs. Furman dressed up for that crazy period-costume 1962 bake sale at the Drake house.

October 28, 2013

Another family contacts the PGC! Mrs. Furman's daughter has just stumbled across the website and was thrilled to see her mother's virtual scrapbook and has added to it – including a great photograph! See: Mrs. Gerald S. (Victoria Houck) Furman '62.

Mrs. Furman is particularly important to the PGC as it was she who wrote the incredible 50th Anniversary History in 1965. Betty Hackman had shared her copy and it is this document that began the research project into the 250-plus former members of the Club.

When informed of this huge contribution, Mrs. Furman's daughter was not surprised for it seems Mrs. Furman was a well known published author. She is most famous for penning a book on sleep-away camp titled Five in a Tent. It remains a childhood favorite for many.

So it is no wonder that the 50th Anniversary History is so well done – it was written by a published free lancer (Mrs. Furman) and illustrated by the well known artist and PGC member, Mrs. Acomb.

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1984-1985 History of the Plainfield Garden Club by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold

The first fifty years (1915-1965) of the Plainfield Garden Club have been chronicled by Mrs. Thomas Van Boskerck and Mrs. Gerald Furman who have written so beautifully of its establishment and development, its initiatives and accomplishments. To continue with the next twenty years, the following will briefly touch upon the programs and problems, successes and semi-successes of our diverse interests in a time of increasing challenge and complexity.

Club History by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold

1984-1985 History of the Plainfield Garden Club by Anne Marie v. G. Seybold


As requested by GCA, we became involved in the endangered species postcard project. Our selection was clematis verticillaris. Mrs. Fred Acomb executed a botanically correct painting of the clematis from which the postcard was made. Mrs. Peter Loizeaux was in charge of the project and has been postcard "saleslady" ever since.


Most memorable are programs presented by our own talented members. Mrs. Fred Acomb showed us some of her watercolors of Himalayan wild flowers and told us of her trips to their locale. The book of her paintings will be published shortly.

Help needed to save endangered plants by Patricia Turner, Courier-News Staff Writer

This article (missing its top portion) was found in Barbara Tracy Sandford's memorabilia with other papers dating from 1989.

Caption: Artist Geraldine Acomb shows the painting of the endangered purple clematis she did for the Plainfield Garden Club

Most of us know about animals and birds that face extinction. There are well organized campaigns to save the whales or bring back peregrine falcons.

In fact, since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, 587 animals have been listed on the official federal register.

Less publicized are the many plants that have become rare and are in danger of disappearing, particularly in areas like those in Central Jersey being transformed from open fields and woodlands to housing developments and industrial parks.

Few plants have made the federal list, but the Garden Clubs of American and local affiliates intend to change all this. Most of the 184 clubs nationwide have adopted rare or endangered plants and produced postcards to draw attention to the effort.

Elisabeth Loizeaux, head of the postcard project of the Plainfield Garden Club, said the main point is to "raise public awareness that there are endangered plants." In addition, she said, each club will work to have its adopted plant placed on the federal list.

Money raised from the sale of the postcards will be used to continue garden club community service. The Plainfield Garden Club, for instance, created a mini-park on Park Avenue near Fourth Street, cares for the Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Brook Park and sends a teen-ager or teacher to an Audubon camp each year.

Whenever possible, local garden clubs will also work to re-establish the adopted plants. Loizeaux has ordered two of the plants Plainfield chose – the purple clematis (Clematis verticillaris D. C.), which grows on slopes and in rocky woods – from a nursery in Massachusetts. She had searched all over the United States and Canada to find them.

Loizeaux said the plant is reported to be growing in Hunderdon, Passaic and Sussex counties and has been classified as an endangered species by the Department of Botany of Rutgers University.

"An endangered species," she said, "is one whose survival in New Jersey is in jeopardy. This peril may result from destruction of habitat, change in habitat, over-exploitation by man, predation, adverse inter-species competition and disease. An endangered species must receive protection or its extinction probably will follow."

Once a club has chosen a flower and checked to make certain no other club has selected the same one, the question becomes finding someone to produce the illustration for the postcard.

As luck would have it, a professional artist who has specialized in drawing and painting wildflowers, Geraldine deM. G. Acomb, is a member of the local group and was willing to do the work.

Luck was also with the club because Acomb has seen the purple clematis growing. Otherwise, she would have had to work only from pictures in books because the painting had to be finished before the plant will bloom again in early June.

Postcards made from Acomb's oil painting are available at five for $1 from the Plainfield Garden Club, 14 Unami Lane, Scotch Plains 07076. In clude a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope.

By sending $3 and a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to the Garden Club of America, 598 Madison Ave., New York 10022, you will receive 12 wildflower cards, one from each region of the country.

To receive five copies of the card chosen by the Somerset Hills Garden Club, send $2 and an envelope to Mrs. Kevin Shanley, P. O. Box 287, Bernardsville 07924.

For that card, Molly Adams, who worked as a garden photographer, worked with three other members of the Somerset Hills group to find a yellow fringeless orchid (Habernaria integer).

"Three or four of us went scouting around," Adams recalled. "It's a terrible thing to find one in bloom."

Finallya, a wildflower experted alerted Adams that she could find a plant on a private property in the South Jersey Pinelands.

"I had to do some fast talking," she said, but the results are dramatic – bright mustard yellow against a green background.

The Morristown Garden Club selected a Leathery Grape Fern, which is a rare and protected species from Morris County. The club hopes to establish the plant at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in the county and has already sold 6,000 cards.

Others will be on sale in packs of 20 for $3 Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tunnis-Elick House on the main street of New Vernon.

Anyone interested in wildflowers in New Jersey can use the basic book "Rare and Endangered Vascular Plant Species in New Jersey," which is available from the book store at the State Museum in Trenton. it costs $1 plus 25 cents postage; call (609) 292-5362.

One of the authors, Dr. David E. Fairbanks, chairman of the department of botany at Rutgers University, said a new edition is expected to be available soon. More information about that is available from Dr. V.E. Vivian at the Conservation and Environmental Studies Center, 120-13 Whitesbog Road, Browns Mills 0815; telephone (609) 893-9151.

Help needed to save endangered plants by Patricia Turner, Courier-News Staff Writer

Photo of portrait taken 1971

6 slides that were archived at Plainfield Library were converted into digital images on March 22, 2013. The slides had been labeled as Christmas @ JP Stevens, Jr.

This portrait was one of the 6 slides and PGC members believe it is a painting of JP Stevens, Jr.'s mother, founding member Mrs. J. P. Stevens.

Learn more: Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P.") (Edna Ten Broeck) '15

November 30, 2015 Email from Rick Detwiller

Hello PGC,

I don't know where the Stevens' portrait might be, but attached is the portrait of my mother Catherine Campbell Detwiller by Gerry Acomb that I promised to send back in 2012. Apparently you already have the photo of her with the portrait taken when she was 96. She is now living in Westwood, MA, going on 100 and just celebrated Thanksgiving with us all at our brother Chip's house in Groton MA.


Rick D.

Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

Griswold, Mrs. Merton Lyman (Mary Victoria "Vic" Stevens), Jr. '44

Mrs. Acomb also did portraits for the Griswold family