Collection Facts

Extent: 
202 items
Dates of Original: 
1935-1963

Historical Context

Mary Flagler Cary (1901–1967) was the daughter of Harry Harkness Flagler, and granddaughter of Henry Morrison Flagler, one of the founders of Standard Oil. She married Melbert Cary in 1923, and they lived in New York City and Millbrook, NY. Melbert Cary died in 1941, and after his death Mary continued to divide her time between New York City and Millbrook. Mary built a collection of trees on her large estate in Millbrook, and using her Polaroid camera, documented her landscaping efforts and tree plantings. Upon her death in 1967, Mary left her 2,000 acre Millbrook estate to a charitable organization “engaged in the conservation, maintenance, and preservation of natural resources”. In 1971, the Mary Flagler Charitable Trust accepted a proposal from the New York Botanical Garden to establish an arboretum devoted to research and educational activities. The arboretum is now part of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Scope of Collection

Selected Polaroid images of landscaping, tree plantings, employees and buildings around Mary Flagler Cary's Millbrook estate as well as her family's estate, Edgewood. Most photographs were taken by Mary between 1935 and 1963. Several photos are undated, and there are many unidentified workers in the landscaping photos. This collection also includes the original photo album covers, and descriptive notes that accompanied some photos.