Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence : a Friendship in Letters

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A legendary editor atThe New Yorkerduring its first thirty-four years, Katharine S. White was also a great garden enthusiast. In March 1958 she began publishing her popular column, "Onward and Upward in the Garden." Her first column elicited loads of fan mail, but one letter in particular caught her attention. From Elizabeth Lawrence, a noted southern garden writer, it was filled with suggestions and encouragement. When Katharine wrote back her appreciation, she reported on her Maine garden and discussed the plants and books that interested her. Thus began a correspondence that would last for almost twenty years, until Katharine's death in 1977.

Two Gardenersis a collection of these luminous letters, edited and introduced by Emily Herring Wilson. The letters bring to life the unique epistolary friendship between two intelligent women, the "formidable" Mrs. White and the "shy" Miss Lawrence, both avid gardeners and readers, both at a stage of life when to make a new friend was rare indeed: when they first wrote to one another, Katharine was sixty-two, Elizabeth, fifty-four.

More than 150 letters went back and forth during the course of their correspondence, though Katharine and Elizabeth would meet face-to-face only once. Whether talking about gardens or books, friends or family, each held a special place in the other's life.

Illustrated with photographs of both Katharine White and Elizabeth Lawrence, their families, gardens, and houses, this book is a special treat for gardeners, literature lovers, and anyone who delights in reading about women's friendships.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

Two Gardeners is a delightful book about a friendship that just clicked from the very beginning. Emily Herring Wilson has compiled & edited the letters of Katharine White and Elizabeth Lawrence's ... Read full review

TWO GARDENERS: A Friendship in Letters

User Review  - Kirkus

Letters between the famous New Yorker editor and a distinguished southern garden-writer chronicle their friendship, as well as the joys and travails of gardening.The correspondence begins in May 1958 ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Emily Herring Wilson is a writer, lecturer, and novice gardener living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The author ofHope and Dignity: Older Black Women of the Southand coauthor ofNorth Carolina Women: Making History,she has taught at Wake Forest University, Salem College, and Cornell University and is a MacDowell Colony Fellow.

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