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January 26, 1998

Roses are 'read' in latest library exhibit

Illustration by Maureen Carey

By Barbara McKenna

Spring has come early to the McHenry and Science Libraries, which are abloom with roses right now. The "roses" are from books that were recently donated to the University Library, and will be on display in both libraries through March 6 in the exhibit, "Roses of Yesterday and Today."

The books come from two collections that, in an interesting coincidence, were donated within a few weeks of each other last year by donors living on the same remote country road near Watsonville. The exhibit reflects both local philanthropy and a remarkable local industry that has enriched gardens all over the world.

The two benefactors and rose lovers are Patricia Semmler Wiley and the late Elizabeth Jarboe. Wiley is an eminent rosarian and recently retired owner of Roses of Yesterday and Today (RYT), an internationally known rose nursery on Browns Valley Road. Jarboe was another Browns Valley resident who gathered an extensive collections of horticultural books, including the rose collection received by the library.

The gifts were especially welcome as a complement to the Ruth Franklin Engel Horticulture Collection, a library subject endowment devoted to gardening books and journals, that was launched last year with the purchase of three fine rose books.

Along with the donated rose book collections and a complete set of rose catalogs from four decades of RYT, the displays include other printed materials on roses, including photographs, paintings, and other images, a selection of the hundreds of literary works inspired by the rose, and rose quotes and other cultural celebrations.

The exhibits are open to the public during library hours. A public reception will be held on Friday, January 30, at 4 p.m. Patricia Wiley be a featured speaker at the reception, presenting a short talk on her career and her collection. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. For more information, call (408) 459-4000.

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