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This brochure describes a Department of Rare Books & Special Collections exhibit of collection materials about camellias. The collection was formed by Mrs. Sheffield Phelps (Claudia Lea). The Phelps Memorial Collection of Garden Books was donated to the University by Miss Phelps in 1959 on her mother’s death, with additional donations in the 1970s after the dispersal of the Phelps home. The exhibition tells the story of how camellias were brought in the early 1700s from the Far East to Europe, and then to America, how they were identified and named, and how the major varieties were developed by 19th-century specialist growers. In addition to items from the Phelps Collection itself, the display features books from several of the library's other outstanding natural history collections--the Richard Wingate Lloyd Collection, the Alfred Chapin Rogers Collection, the Ethelind Pope Brown Collection, and the library of the original South Carolina College.


This catalog accompanied the April-June 1999 USC University Libraries exhibit, The Culture of Camelias.