Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection

The Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection

The oldest and rarest books held by the McDermott Library are found in this Collection, which is named for Louise B. Belsterling whose personal library formed the basis of the collection. The volumes broadly cover botany, horticulture, and garden design from around the world, written in over one dozen languages, and spanning six centuries.

Though volumes from the Belsterling Collection do not circulate, they are available for research and use in the Special Collections reading room. Patrons should consider extra time for retrieval, as the volumes are stored outside of the Special Collections Division and could be unavailable. To ensure availability, please make an appointment with the Curator, Madeline Hoff.


Louise Babcock Belsterling

Louise Babcock was born on November 23, 1876 in New York to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mathew Babcock. In 1902, Ms. Babcock moved to Dallas and began teaching French language at St. Mary’s. She and Edward Belsterling met at a friend’s home, and were married shortly thereafter.

Mrs. Belsterling was fortunate to have time to pursue her love for gardening and botany. She published her Planting Manual for Dallas Gardens for the first time in 1941 and was an active member of The Dallas Garden Club of The Dallas Woman’s Club. In addition to that, Mrs. Belsterling created an extensive private library of rare books covering horticulture and botany. She passed away on April 6, 1970 in Dallas at the age of 93.


Louise B. Belsterling Foundation of the Dallas Garden Club

The Dallas Garden Club was named a co-beneficiary of Mrs. Belsterling’s estate with Texas Research Foundation. As part of the bequest, the Texas Research Foundation received Mrs. Belsterling’s personal library of rare books until their dissolution in 1971.

On June 9, 1971, the Dallas Garden Club established the Louise B. Belsterling Foundation and assumed the Texas Research Foundation’s Belsterling gifts. The Foundation decided to transfer ownership of the Belsterling library to the UT Board of Regents, resulting in UT Dallas founding the Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Library at the Eugene McDermott Library, where the collection has been housed since 1972.

The Louise B. Belsterling Foundation generously donates funds to the McDermott Library to preserve and add new volumes to the Collection, as well as grants scholarships for research in horticulture at the graduate level.


Browse digitized Belsterling Collection material through the catalog or on Treasures @ UT Dallas

For more information, contact the Curator of the Belsterling Collection and Rare Books, Madeline Hoff

Page Last Updated: April 10, 2021