The Cambridge Plant and Garden Club is so much more than just “ladies in white gloves arranging peonies.” The more than 130-year-old nonprofit organization is a community that both shares a love for gardening and advocates for conservation in the Cambridge area.
Their position carves out a distinct space in the world’s largest academic library system to focus exclusively on organizing, spotlighting, and acquiring materials in a field that has long been neglected.
In 2003, Rediger decided to collect and examine these cases to better understand what was behind these spontaneous recoveries. “Although I was able to fit most of those stories into the worldview that I’d been trained in as a physician, some of them I couldn’t,” he explains.
Cunha has served as a janitor for Widener, Lamont, and Pusey libraries for the past 16 years. He moved to America in 2002 and first saw Widener as a tourist when visiting Harvard with his family. When he walked in, he thought to himself, “This is the place I would like to work.” He identifies art and history in every aspect of his job, from the contents of recycling bins to the architectural elements of each library. Leaning forward and clasping his hands, Cunha begins, “My life is an artist’s life” — and, indeed, he is also an avid painter and visual artist.
The pandemic delayed the project, but also reaffirmed its value. Many students at CRLS live in public housing, and during the pandemic, Hardina often delivered gift cards for food and laundry to them. She said that students and their families were always excited to receive laundry gift cards — that’s when she knew a program like this would work.
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