|Repository:||Georgia Historical Society|
|Creator:||Ray, Mary Helen.|
|Title:||Mary Helen Ray papers|
|Extent:||18.0 cubic feet (19 boxes)|
Mary Helen Ray is the daughter of a farmer and was an avid gardener from an early age and has been involved in many community service organizations and projects. Her interests include local and national garden clubs, regional land-use development, historic preservation, and environmental issues. After moving to Savannah, Georgia in 1959 she joined the "Keep Savannah Beautiful" and "Keep Georgia Beautiful" campaigns and became a member of the board of directors for the Garden Club of Georgia. By 1966, Ray was active in garden clubs at the state and national levels, working to promote tree preservation and planting. She is a charter member of the Savannah Tree Foundation, helped create the Fragrant Garden for the Blind in Savannah's Forsyth Park, served on Savannah's Park and Tree Commission for more than thirty years, and was chairman of that commission from 1978-1995.
Mary Helen Ray's concern for protecting historic trees extends beyond Savannah: she is a charter member of the Georgia Urban Forest Council and was instrumental in establishing Georgia's Historic and Landmark Tree Program. She has assisted the Georgia Urban Forest Council in protecting significant trees from damage and removal due to state and federal highway construction. She co-authored the book, A Guide to Significant and Historic Gardens of America, and led a campaign funded by American Forests and the National Council of State Garden Clubs in a survey of famous and historic trees of America. She was the recipient of numerous local, state, and national awards; she has been recognized for bringing the benefits of environmental education, historic preservation, and urban forestry to Savannah and to Georgia; and for her lifelong dedication to promoting tree preservation and planting. Her work has inspired many other communities to adopt similar urban forestry policies.
This collection contains the correspondence, clippings, newsletters, lists, minutes, agendas, books, magazines, artifacts, programs, and other various materials of Mary Helen Ray from 1963 to 2000. These papers document her involvement in various gardening, conservation, historic preservation, and urban forestry projects and affiliations throughout Savannah, Georgia and the greater state of Georgia. These papers detail the work she did as chairman of the Savannah Park and Tree Commission, Garden Club of Georgia, National Council of State Garden Clubs, and other local garden clubs. Also included are the details of Ray's work to restore the Trustee's Garden in Savannah, the development of the garden of the LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation in Liberty County, Georgia, and the beautification of Savannah.
This collection is arranged into 19 boxes:
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The collection is open for research.