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Joseph K. Mertzweiller Papers

Collection 231

Joseph K. Mertzweiller, (1920-1997).  Papers, 1950s - 1997

3 ft.

This collection contains the papers of Louisiana Iris enthusiast and former Exxon research scientist, Joseph Kern Mertzweiller (1920-1997). Mertzweiller was an important figure among iris growers for over forty years. Most of these documents in this collection are iris elated.

Mertzweiller was born in 1920 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received an engineering degree from Loyola University in 1941, and a Master’s degree from the University of Detroit in 1943. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. His was employed as a research scientist by the Exxon Corporation. He retired from Exxon in the 1980s.*

During the 1950s, Mertzweiller became interested in the Louisiana Iris as a result of his close association with two botanists who specialized in them, Dr. Claude Davis and Dr. Ira Nelson. In the 1950s Mertzweiller began conducting his own hybridizing experiments. He specialized in “tetraploid Louisianas.” Among the new varieties he hybridized were COLORIFIC, PRESIDENT HEDLEY, JUST HELENE, and CAJUN SUNRISE. Some records of his experiments are included in this collection.

Mertzweiller was also very active in a number of organizations devoted to the Louisiana Iris in particular and irises in general. Among these organizations were the Society for Louisiana Irises, the American Iris Society, the Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research, and the Louisiana Iris Society of America. This collection contains material related to these organizations. Mertzweiller was a very avid participant in iris shows for many years serving often as a judge. There is much material in the collection dealing with that activity.

Over the years, Mertzweiller developed innumerable friendships with others interested in irises. He engaged in extended correspondence with many of these individuals. The correspondence series contains over forty folders. Mertzweiller worked with Marie Caillet on a Louisiana iris book sponsored by the Society for Louisiana Irises. There is material on this collaborative effort in both the correspondence and the organization series. There are also many photographs of iris blooms, plants, and collectors dated from the 1950s onward.

This collection was donated by Tom W. Dillard, Secretary for the Society for Louisiana Irises. 

[Biographical information from obituary in the SLI Newsletter, # 168 (Summer, 1997), eds. Dennis Vercher and Farron Campbell.]

Series:

I. Articles 1-01 through 1-07
II. Correspondence 1-08 through 2-33
III. Biographical Material 2-34
IV. Organizations  
  A. Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI) 2-35 through 2-41
  B. American Iris Society 2-42 through 2-48
  C. Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research (LSHR) 2-49 through 2-57
  D. Louisiana Iris Society if America (LISA) 3-01 through 3-04
  E. Other Organizations 3-05 through 3-15
V. Joseph Mertzweiller's Hybridization Records 3-15 through 3-20
VI. Publications on Irises and Other Plants 3-21 through 3-22
VII. Miscellaneous 3-23 through 3-27
VIII. Photographs 3-28 through 3-32

Inventory:

I. Articles
    [Arranged alphabetically by title unless noted. Most are typescript although some are handwritten or published. Many are 1-5 pages. Subjects include hybridization techniques and results; tetraploid hybridizing; and history of Louisiana Iris cultivation. Many were probably written for the Bulletin of the Society of Louisiana Iris.]
   
1-01 Articles on Irises by Joseph K. Mertzweiller    (A-F)
1-02 Articles on Irises by Joseph K. Mertzweiller    (G-I)
    includes “A History of the Development of Louisiana Irises”, Joseph F. Garofib and JKM
1-03 Articles on Irises by Joseph K. Mertzweiller (L)
1-04 Articles on Irises by Joseph K. Mertzweiller (M-W)
    includes “Tetraploid Louisiana Irises - Report”: 1970 -
     
1-05 Articles on Irises by others   [alphabetical by author (A-R)]
1-06 Articles on Irises by others   [alphabetical by author (S-Z)]
     
1-07 Non-Iris Articles by JKM and Others [alphabetical by title (A-T)]
    includes article by Sam Norris and photocopies pages from books
     
II. Correspondence
    [Mainly contains correspondence between Joseph Mertzweiller and correspondent named on folder. Some letters are between the named correspondent and another party. Other letters may carry attachments concerning organizations, meetings, iris shows, etc. There is very little correspondence of Helene Mertzweiller.]
     
1-08 Arceneaux, Aline: 29 March 1984 - 6 January 1990
1-09 Arnold, Dr. Michael: 1994
     
1-10 Bledsoe, Bob: 24 July 1982 - 24 February, 1985; n.d.
1-11 Bridgman, Laurel: 30 August 1986 - 7 December 1989; n.d.
1-12 Bruner, Rick: 1996; n.d.
1-13 Buchanan, Ruby: 27 March 1984 - 5 February 1988
     
1-14 Caillet, Marie: 12 June 1975 [1982]- 24 December 1985
    includes letter from Eberhard Schuster, 12 Nov. 1984
1-15 Caillet, Marie: 1986
    much on Louisiana Iris book; letter from Eberhard Schuster, 12 February
1-16 Caillet, Marie: 1987
    much on Louisiana Iris book; letter from Texas Monthly Press, 14 October
1-17 Caillet, Marie: 1988
    comments on Louisiana Iris book; letter from Texas Monthly Press, 8 June
1-18 Caillet, Marie: 1989
    letter from Colin Rigby, 4 December
1-19 Caillet, Marie:1990
1-20 Caillet, Marie: 1991
1-21 Caillet, Marie: 1992
1-22 Caillet, Marie: 1993
1-23 Caillet, Marie: 1994
1-24 Caillet, Marie: 1995 - 1996
1-25 Caillet, Marie: no date
     
1-26 Campbell, Farron: 19 June 1989 - 22 August 1995
1-27 Clark, Barry: 4 March 1992 - 30 March 1995
1-28 Conger, Sidney: 1991
1-29 Courtney, Joan: 20 March 1984 - 18 April 1987   [3 items]
1-30 Craig, Nancy Jo: 1990   [2 items]
    Louisiana Nature Conservancy
1-31 Crick, Hilda: 6 November 1991; 24 October 1993   [2 items]
    American Iris Society
     
1-32 Deegan, Patricia: 17 July 1987 - 5 March 1988
1-33 Dixon, Paul M.: 2 September 1988 - 18 March 1994; n.d.   [ 4 items]
     
1-34 Ernest, Albert W.: 1988   [4 items]
     
1-35 Faggard, Albert and Marion: 5 October 1980 - 29 July 1989 [7 items]
1-36 Fraser, Susan: 3 August 1989 - 17 January 1991
    New York Botanical Garden
1-37 Fritchie, Charles: 15 December 1983 - 3 February 1985
     
1-38 Grosvenor, Graeme: 1994
     
1-39 Hager, Ben: 16 March 1984 - 25 February 1985
    also Robert H. Welshans
1-40 Henderson, Dr. Norlan C.: 12 July 1991 - 13 January 1995
1-41 Horinaka, Akira: 1985
1-42 Hulbert, Elaine: February, 1988; n.d.
    includes Marie Caillet to JKM, 19 July 1996
1-43 Hollingsworth, Bob: 30 July 1972 - 15 January 1991
     
1-44 Jones, Bennett: 20 December 1990 - 2 March 1993   [3 items]
     
1-45 Lebron-Leuteyn, Maria: 24 August 1989 - 18 December 1990    [3 items]
    New York Botanical Garden
1-46 Lineberger, Everette: 21 June 1991 - 4 April 1993, n.d.
    merger of Society of Louisiana Iris and Louisiana Iris Society of America
1-47 Lowe, Anne S.: 1990 January 25 - 16 February 1991    [3 items]
    also Jeane Stayer: merger of SLI and LISA
1-48 Lundberg, Valera: 15 May 1986 - 23 March 1990; n.d.     [4 items]
     
1-49 Mahan, Clarence: 11 February 1985 - 7 July 1991
1-50 Monninger, Mike: 1993
1-51 Morgan, Richard: 23 January 1985 - 7 December 1990     [3 items]
     
2-01 Nelson, Kay: 28 August 1990 - 23 May 1992     [3 items]
    American Iris Society
2-02 Norris, Samuel N.: 18 December 1984 - 7 October 1987
2-03 Norris, Samuel N.: 1988
2-04 Norris, Samuel N.: 1989
2-05 Norris, Samuel N.: 1990
2-06 Norris, Samuel N.: 1991
2-07 Norris, Samuel N.: 1992
2-08 Norris, Samuel N.: 1993
2-09 Norris, Samuel N.: 1994
2-10 Norris, Samuel N.: 1995
2-11 Norris, Samuel N.: 1996; n.d.
    2  last pages of letters from Norris to Mertzweiller
     
2-12 Ogilvie, Phil: 3 Sept. 1991 - 24 February 1995
2-13 Ostheimer, Rusty: 9 July 1984 - 17 June 1991
     
2-14 Raabe, Bob: 23 December 1981 - 1 May 1985
2-15 Ritchie, Jayne: 1988     [3 items]
2-16 Rowlan, Henry C.: 8 February 1989 - 7 October 1993
     
2-17 Shanks, Josephine: 31 March 1989 - 5 July 1991; n.d.
2-18 Smart, Jimmy: 1991    [6 items]
2-19 Spain, Glen H.: 1990    [2 items]
    Louisiana Iris Society of America [LISA]
2-20 Stephens, Ray: 3 September 1982 - 12 September 1983    [6 items]
2-21 Strawn, Kirk: 7 January 1985 - 6 February 1987; n.d.     [7 items]
     
2-22 Vaughn, Kevin: 16 October 1990 - 7 September 1994; n.d.
     
2-23 Waite, Ken: 9 April 1985 - 1 November 1994
    SLI - LISA matter
2-24 Wendel, Brian: 2 June 1995 - 13 December 1996
2-25 Wight, Barbara and John: 28 June 1985 - 4 March 1989    [7 items]
2-26 Wilhoit, Jerry and Melody: 18 January 1986 - 26 October 1994
    includes JKM biographical sketch
2-27 Wolford, Leon: 19 January 1983, 24 July 1986; n.d.
2-28 Wong, Vicki: 22 February 1989 - 2 July 1991
    includes photographs
2-29 Wood, John W.: 26 December 1984 - 3 October 1985
     
    [The following folders of correspondence have been organized alphabetically.  These items either had incomplete names or too few letters to merit separate folders.]
     
2-30 Correspondence (arranged alphabetically by the first name)
2-31 Correspondence (arranged alphabetically by last name)   (A-D)
    includes Lynn Deselle to W. E. Fletcher; Ken Durio; Perry Dyer
2-32 Correspondence (arranged alphabetically by last name) (F-L)
    includes W. E. Fletcher re: Ira Nelson Horticultural Center Endowment
2-33 Correspondence (arranged alphabetically by last name) (M-W)
    includes Jeane Stayer
     
III. Biographical Material
     
2-34 Articles on JKM and irises
    mainly from Baton Rouge Morning Advocate; some material on Helene Mertzweiller
  See also: 2-26, 2-45, 2-47 and 2-48, 3-11, and 3-26
     
IV. Organizations
  A. Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI)
2-35 SLI Board of Directors materials: 13 April 1996 - 11 April 1997
    Minutes, Agenda, Memorandum, etc.
2-36 Financial Records:  31 December 1984 - 30 November 1996    (very scattered)
    Some material on Louisiana Iris book edited by JKM and Marie Caillet
2-37 Official Correspondence: 1 September 1988 - 4 June 1996
    Letters sent to SLI Board or Committee Chairs (including JKM).  Some were written by individuals listed in Series II.   Includes material on SLI/LISA matter.
2-38 Publicity: brochures, handbooks, flyers, etc.: 1989 - 1996; n.d.
2-39 “Annual Show” Material: 1983 - 1993
    Contains “rules” for shows; also a 1990 registration list.
    See also: 2-45 and 3-26 for materials on judging
2-40 Committee Reports: 1990 - 1996; n.d.
    Education and Promotion Committee: October, 1993, n.d.
    Newsletter Committee: 1990, 1991, 1993
    Publication Committee: 1993, 1996, n.d.
         Special Publication: 1994
    Scientific Committee: n.d.  (3 items)
    Slide Loan Committee: 1990, 1991
2-41 Documents: 1987 - 1995, n.d.
    “Use of Species and Hybrid Names in SLI Publications,” 1 March 1985
    Agreement with Texas Gardener Press to publish SLI books, 1987
    Status of iris book, n.d.; book order forms; information on reviews of book
    List of publications on Louisiana irises
    Suggested changes in SLI constitution, n.d.
    List of cultivars available, n.d.
    Questionnaire, n.d.
    Information about Aline Arceneaux and work with SLI, n.d.
     
IV. Organizations
  B. American Iris Society (AIS)
2-42 Board of Directors Material: 1990 - 1993
    Minutes, agenda (scattered); 1992 petition regarding SLI and LISA
2-43 Official Correspondence   (very scattered)
2-44 Miscellaneous publications: 1983 - 1991
    includes by-laws, 18 March 1983; Newscast for Regions 4, April, 1986; calendars: 1987, 1991
2-45 Judging Material: 1987 - 1996, n.d.
    Materials for Region X judging school, 18 November 1987 [done by JKM]; award lists, 1990-1996; material specific to judging Louisiana irises
    See also: 3-26 for JKM AIS judging activity report
2-46 Miscellaneous Documents: 1989 - 1993, n.d.
    Material about Louisiana irises at 1989 and 1993 AIS show
    Proposed Constitution change, April, 1992
    Material on AIS sections
    Other iris groups (which might not be affiliated with AIS)
2-47 Applications and Certificates of Registration for AIS Iris Shows: 1974 - 1996
2-48 Awards from Iris Shows for JKM: 1970-1996
   
IV. Organizations
  C. Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research (LSHR)
2-49 Board Meeting Documents: 1983 - 1996   (scattered)
    minutes, agenda, itinerary, etc...
2-50 Financial Records: 1985 - 1996    (very incomplete)
2-51 Member and “Prospective” Member Lists:  1983 - 1996    (incomplete)
2-52 Publication:  “Plant Releases 1959-1982", 1983
2-53 Unpublished, “Plant Releases, 1976-1987"
2-54 Publication:  “Plant Releases 1959-1994", 1994
2-55 Newsletter: “The Compost Pile”, November, 1976 - December, 1989   (incomplete)
2-56 Newsletter: “The Compost Pile”,  March, 1990 - 1996    (incomplete)
2-57 Miscellaneous Documents: 1983 - 1993, n.d.
   
IV. Organizations
  D. Louisiana Iris Society of America (LISA)
    [LISA existed from c.1978 thru 1992 as a section of AIS.  In 1992 it was dissolved and SLI became the section of the AIS for Louisiana irises.]
3-01 “Bulletins” [newsletters]: 1978-1982
3-02 newsletters: 1983-1987
3-03 newsletters: 1989-1992
3-04 Miscellaneous: 1978 - 1992, n.d.
    Bylaws, 1978
    Membership List, 1990
    Minutes of Meeting, 1992
    LISA Dissolution Proposal (by Joseph Mertzweiller), 1992
    Officer List, 1992
    "President’s Message”, n.d.    [2]
     
IV. Organizations
  E. Other Organizations
3-05 American Plant Life Society:  1984-1989, n.d.
    newsletters   (very scattered); registration form
3-06 Crosby Arboretum:  1993-1994
    newsletters; notice for a 1994 seminar on Louisiana Iris (conducted by JKM)
    See also: 3-25 for maps
3-07 Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve: 1983 - 1996
    newsletters   (very scattered)
3-08 Exxon: 1993 - 1997, n.d.
    newsletters; general correspondence; Exxon Research Retiree Club Officers and Board of Directors Ballot
3-09 Hodges Gardens: 1989; 1990     (2 items)
    newsletters: March, 1989 article: “Louisiana Irises and Marie Caillet”
3-10 New York Botanical Garden:  1931; 1991, n.d.
    publications, correspondence
    photocopied pages from Journal, John K. Small, “ Altitudinal Distribution of Eastern Iris.”  March, 1931: 56-66
3-11 Sooner State Iris Society: 1986 - 1996
    Material on JKM’s seminar “Hybridizing Louisiana Irises”, 7th Annual Pollen Daubers’ Seminar, February 27-28, 1987
3-12 Documents from Other Organizations
    Cooper’s Garden: catalog, 1986
    Fancy Plants Farms: catalog of caladium bulbs, n.d.
    The Garden Club of Illinois:  Schedule of Events, 1986   Garden Study Courses history
    Louisiana Cooperative Extension, “Herbaceous Perennials for Louisiana Landscapes,” n.d.
    Louisiana Secretary of State: “Louisiana Facts”, n.d. [Louisiana Iris listed as state plant]
    Memphis Botanic Garden:  brochure, n.d.
    Shepard Iris Garden: catalog, 1986
3-13 Newsletters and Bulletins from Other Organizations
    Newsletters: Louisiana Nature Conservancy, 1990 (2)
                      Louisiana Project Wildflowers, v. 1, # 1 (Fall, 1987)
    Periodical: Garden Cuttings. v/ 2. # 5 (February, 1993)
    Informational packet: Lynch Botanical Garden, n.d.
   
3-14 Other Documents from Other Organizations   [Alphabetical by Organization]
    membership lists, general correspondence, articles, etc...
       Amaryllis Society of Baton Rouge: membership list, 1971-1972
       National Wildflower Research Center
       Nature Conservancy
     
V. Hybridizing Irises and Other Plants
    [This series is comprised of a vast array of scientific data on hybridizing irises and other plants.  Some botanical samples are included.  Categorization was difficult, however, and some of the material may be misfiled.  Folders have been arranged chronologically as much as possible.]
     
3-15 1950s
    mostly charts; some notes
3-16 1966-1971
    charts; notes
3-17 n.d.
    charts; notes
3-18 n.d.
    charts; notes; graphs
3-19 Botanical Samples:  1968, n.d.
3-20 Results of Some Experiments:  1960s, n.d.
    charts and graphs (some weren’t plotted until the 1990s)
     
VI. Publications on Irises and Other Plants
    (mainly photocopies of articles and excerpts from books)
     
3-21 Alphabetical by title:  A-L
3-22 Alphabetical by title:  M-V, no title
     
VII. Miscellaneous
    This series contains other Mertzweiller iris related material.
3-23 Drawings of iris blooms, artist unknown - maybe Marie Caillet
    arranged alphabetically by name
3-24 Iris Dealer Lists:  1982-1992, n.d.
    mainly dealers of Louisiana Iris
3-25 Maps
    mainly locations of meetings
3-26 Material on Judging Iris  (parent org. not specified): 1986, n.d.
    includes tests; handouts prepared for JKM workshops
     
3-27 Various Iris Abstracts and Guidelines
    most of this material seems to be handouts prepared by JKM
     
VIII. Photographs
3-28 Color photos of irises, n.d.
3-29 Iris in bloom
3-30 Iris in bloom
3-31 Iris in bloom
3-32 Named persons and places