337 Claudia Cohen Hall
Betty Smocovitis, University of Florida
"Say it with Flowers": Elizabeth Britton, Roses, and the Floral Politics of America, 1893-1929
This paper focuses on Elizabeth Britton, the spiritual and organizational force behind the New York Botanical Garden, her career as moss expert, and her brief but little-known campaign to establish the rose as the national flower of the United States in the 1920s. The paper explores her rationale for the rose in the context of one of the most little known, yet highly contentious debates to choose an appropriate national floral emblem. Known broadly as the "national flower movement," and the "national flower question," it pitted nativists, agriculturalists and conservationists across the country against each other, as they sought a unifying national emblem that would be distinctly--and uniquely--"American."