Treasures @ UT Dallas

Special Collections Department

Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 6 PM
Second Saturday of the month:
9 AM - 1 PM or by appointment

For More Information contact us at:
Phone: 972-883-2570
Email: [email protected]
Eugene McDermott Library,
Special Collections
800 West Campbell Road,
Richardson, TX 75083-0643

The Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection

The Special Collections Department at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is the home of the Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection. This assortment of rare botanical and horticultural books is named for Louise B. Belsterling, whose personal library formed the nucleus of this collection. The oldest book in the McDermott Library, a 1499 volume titled, Herbarium Latinum by Arnaldus de Villanova stems from this collection.

Louise Babcock Belsterling was born on November 23, 1876 in New York to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mathew Babcock. In 1902, Louise Babcock moved to Dallas from La Grange, Texas where the family had settled. After having lived in France for several years with an aunt and uncle, Louise Babcock returned back to America accepting a teaching position for French language at St. Mary’s in Dallas. At a friend’s house, she met Edward Belsterling whom she married shortly thereafter.

The couple did not have any children which gave Louise the time to pursue her love for gardening and botany. She taught gardening for many years and published her Planting Manual for Dallas Gardens for the first time in 1941. Belsterling was an active member of The Dallas Garden Club of The Dallas Woman’s Club and was considered to be a highly regarded authority for Dallas local gardening. In addition to that, Louise Belsterling created an extensive private library of rare books covering horticulture and botany. Mrs. Louise Belsterling passed away on April 6, 1970 in Dallas, Texas at the age of 93.

Each year the Louise B. Belsterling Foundation of the Dallas Garden Club generously donates funds to add to the growing number of books in the library. Created on June 9, 1971, the organization receives gifts bequeathed by will of the late Mrs. Belsterling. The Texas Research Foundation transferred its inheritance from Mrs. Belsterling to the Foundation.

The income is used not only to grant scholarships for research in horticulture at the graduate level, but also to donate to the Belsterling Library. One of these acquisitions is a copy of Flora Londinensis, which is an exceptionally clean first edition that is virtually free from transfers. Printed in 1777, it features more than 400 hand-colored engraved plates. No more than 300 were produced, and the McDermott volume is one of the few surviving complete copies. It also marks the library's one-millionth acquisition to its holdings.

Though the Belsterling Collection does not circulate, it is available for research. Patrons should consider extra time for retrieval, since the books are stored outside of the Special Collections area or could be unavailable, due to special events.