John G. Borin Papers (PP)

Archives, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
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Bronx, New York 10458-5126
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This finding aid was produced in English.

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Collectors: Borin, John G. (1905-1993).
Title: John G. Borin Papers (PP)
Dates: 1908-1992
Abstract: Scrapbooks, photographs, and personal memoribilia. Also includes botanical postcards, notes, and personal reference items related to general horticulture.
Quantity: six boxes; 3 linear feet.
Call Phrase: John G. Borin (PP)

Biography of John G. Borin

John G. Borin (1905-1993) was born and raised in Center Moriches, Long Island, New York. He began working for the New York Botanical Garden in 1923 as an apprentice gardener generating plant labels in the propagating conservatory. In 1932, Borin was one of the first students to be admitted to The School of Professional Horticulture at the Garden. He left the NYBG in May of 1943 to enter the United States Navy where he served as a "radar man" in the Pacific, earning a total of 11 Bronze Stars. He returned to the NYBG in 1946 and was promoted to the position of Foreman Gardener in charge of the Propagating Greenhouse Range. Finally, he was appointed to the position of Forman of Gardeners in charge of the Main Conservatory Range in December of 1959, a position he maintained until his retirement in March of 1972.

As evidenced in his collection, Borin spent a considerable amount of time traveling to many countries throughout the world from the South Pacific to Northern Africa and numerous places in between. He was married to Margaret in January of 1932. It is unclear, but she may have passed away sometime after 1957. It also appears that Borin remarried in May of 1961 to his second wife Louise.

Scope and Content

Collection contains scrapbooks filled with family photographs, postcards from varying locations around the world, newspaper and seed catalog clippings. Additionally, there are 2 hand-made botanical "reference" books, personal plant lists, unpublished papers about caring for plants in general, and a map of the World's Fair 1964-65. The collection consists of primarily personal memorabilia covering the span of his employment at the NYBG from 1923-1972.


The Collection is organized into five series:
Series 1: Photo Albums/Scrapbooks. 1920-1983. arranged chronologically.
Series 2: Plant Lists/Notebooks. 1934, 1935, and undated.
Series 3: Botanical Postcards. ca. 1915-1950.
Series 4: New York Botanical Garden. 1937-1967 and undated. arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series 5: New York World's Fair. 1939, 1964-1965.


Access restrictions

This collection is open for research with permission from Mertz Library staff.


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be submitted in writing to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Broin, John G. (1905-1993)
Horticulture--United States.
Plant--Training--United States.
Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
New York Botanical Garden.
Document Types
Postcards, picture. aat.
Scrapbooks. aat.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John G. Borin (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the New York Botanical Garden in 1992.

Processing Information

Processed December 2004 by Kathleene Konkle under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-50678-04.

Container List


Series 1. Photo Albums/Scrapbooks.

Scope and Content:

This series consists largely of personal, family photographs and postcards documenting vacation stops around the world. In three books (BOX 1, December 20-August 14, 1940; January 1936-May 1943; July 16, 1943-September 1952) there are photographs of the New York Botanical Garden grounds and employees. The book January 1936-May 1943 (BOX 2) contain photos of the New York World's Fair, 1940 and 1965.

Box Title Date
1 Scrapbook December 20, 1920- August 14, 1940
1 Scrapbook Jaunary 1936-May 1943
1 Scrapbook July 16, 1943-September 1952
1 Scrapbook December 25, 1952- August 1962
2 Scrapbook April 1963-October 1965
2 Scrapbook 1965-1967
2 Scrapbook May 1967-March 1970
2 Scrapbook December 1970-1975
3 Scrapbook November 1975-April 1980
3 Scrapbook October 1980-December 1983

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Series 2. Plant Lists/Notebooks.

Scope and Content:

Consists of plant lists, growth instructions, and monthly planting activites. It is unknown if these lists are directly related to plantings at NYBG. Most items are undated. There are 2 books that appear to be reference works created by Borin. These items are notebooks that consist of botanical images removed and pasted from journals and seed catalogs. One is arranged alphabetically while the other appears to have no particular arrangement.

Folder Title Date
4.1 Plant List 1935
4.2 Binder-plant pictures undated
4.3 Map-A Pictorial Map of Europe 1934
4.4 Notebook undated
4.5 Notebook undated
4.6 Scrapbook undated

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Series 3. Botanical Postcards.

Scope and Content:

68 of the cards in this series measure 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. They are botanical subjects, presumed to be of the "white border" variety of postcard, produced in the United States between 1915 and 1930. They are color enhanced, black and white photographic copies. The remaining 13 cards have no postal information on them and appear to be tourist cards of the Swiss Alps, probably produced after 1930.

* several of the postcards were removed from a scrapbook for preservation purposes.

Folder Title
5.1 Postcards-Botanical
5.2 Postcards-Botanical
5.3 Postcards-Botanical
5.4 Postcards-Botanical
5.5 Postcards-Botanical
5.6 Postcards-Botanical
5.7 Postcards-Alps
5.8 Postcards-Still Life

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Series 4. New York Botanical Garden.

Scope and Content:

All items in this series relate to Borin's employment with the New York Botanical Garden from 1923-1972. There are copies of 10 papers that Borin wrote while he was a student in the School of Professional Horticulture around 1937. Most items in this series are of a personal nature, including newspaper articles, "thank you" letters from students, and employment correspondence.

Folder Title Date
6.1 Correspondence-Employment undated
6.2 Gardener's Annual Forum Photographs 1937, 1938, 1940
6.3 Journals and Seed Catalogs (3) undated
6.4 Newspaper Clippings/NYBG newsletter 1972
6.5 NYBG Keeper Badge undated
6.6 Planting Schedule undated
6.7 School of Professional Horticulture-Graded Papers undated
6.8 Spray Compatibility Chart 1958
6.9 Student Letters, East Hills School 1967

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Series 5. New York World's Fair.

Scope and Content:

This series contains a map of the 1964/1965 World's Fair and the magazine THINK which hightlights the 1939/1940 World's fair, both held in New York.

Folder Title Date
6.10 Map-New York World's Fair 1964/1965
6.11 Think Magazine, Vol. IX No.12, World's Fair Edition 1939

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