Any researchers visiting the History of Medicine Room this time of year know to schedule extra hours, to compensate for the time lost while gazing out the window at our our own private magnolia tree:
Sure, it's beginning to block the view of the rest of campus, but who needs the rest of the world when you've got blooms?
We often wonder about our magnolia, its placement, its lineage, its (possibly) checkered past. Why? Because there's a whole folder of photographs in the Historical Image Collection (PDF) called "Magnolia Tree (Moving)". Upon inspection, it seems that not all of these images deal with the same time period, or perhaps even the same tree. The only dated photo is one showing a leafless magnolia being moved into place somewhere outside the Old Library Building (our home) in 1949:
Other images show magnolias in various states of leafiness, from sadly sparse to lusciously full (that's Wren Gaines, superintendent, observing the operation):
Was one tree moved multiple times? Were several specimens installed, only to die thereafter? We have photos of the tree(s) on trucks, moving across campus and down city streets.
A mystery. Anyone wishing to come up and do some eyes-on research him/herself is more than welcome--except not on Monday, April 13, 2009, when Historical Collections & Archives will be closed for staff absences to a) an all-day meeting on the one hand, and b) much needed vacation on the other. As always, we'll return calls and emails when we get back.
Happy holidays to all!