Violetta Delafield - Beautification, Conservation, & Healthy Living

Violetta Delafield

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Beautification, Conservation, & Healthy Living

Despite a lifetime of summers and holidays spent in the gardens and woodlands or at the ocean, Violetta began to suffer from emphysema in the 1940s.

Her illness must have been compounded by distress when her son Richard died during World War II—the third of her children to predecease her.

After Violetta died in 1949, her husband John Ross Delafield donated her collection of tender greenhouse plants to the New York Botanical Gardens. Many of these were succulents and orchids; Violetta's brother Alain, with whom she was very close, was an expert and author on succulent plants.

Her impact is still felt in the gardens at Montgomery Place—one of the few gardens created during the country place era in the Hudson Valley that can still be seen today.

Letter from John Ross Delafield to Henry de la Montagne about a donation of plants, October 18, 1949. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

Brigadier General John Ross Delafield. Gelatin silver print, 1914-1918. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

Violetta Delafield, by A. V. Bradley. Gelatin silver print, c. 1910. Bard College, Montgomery Place Collection.

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