Lilla Irvin Leach (1886-1980) was a field botanist who specialized in Oregon flora from 1915-1945. She discovered more than a dozen species and two new genera,
Kalmiopsis leachiana and
Bensoniella oregana. Lilla and her husband John Leach purchased a tract of land in southeast Portland where they developed a botanical garden named Sleepy Hollow. The collection includes correspondence, notes, notebooks, articles, and a few photographs.
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
Lilla Irvin Leach was a field botanist who specialized in Oregon flora from 1915 to 1945. During those years she discovered more than a dozen species and two new genera,
Kalmiopsis leachiana, which dates back to the tertiary period, and
Bensoniella oregana. In 1931, she and her husband, John Leach, purchased a tract of land in southeast Portland, which they developed over the years into a botanical garden, Sleepy Hollow.
Lilla Irvin Leach was born in Barlow, Oregon, on March 13, 1886. Her mother was a member of Dr. Keil's Aurora Colony, and the University of Oregon Libraries has two manuscript songbooks written by her. After attending Tualatin Academy and the University of Oregon, from which she received her bachelor of arts degree in 1908, Lilla Leach taught in the botany department at Eugene High School, which she established. Following her marriage to John Leach in 1913, she concentrated on field trips and the expansion of their botanical garden. The Garden Club of America honored her as the first recipient of the Eloise Payne Luquer Medal in 1950 for distinguished achievement in botany, and she was voted Portland Citizen of the Week in September 1945 for her war work and conservation work. From 1945 until 1948, she was director of Save the Myrtle Wood, Inc. Lilla Leach died in 1980.
John R. Leach was born in Weston, Oregon, on March 26, 1882. He received a degree in pharmacy from Oregon Agricultural College (Oregon State University) in 1906, and from 1920 until his retirement in 1946, he owned the Phoenix Pharmacy in Portland. He was founder and first president of Southeast Portland Chamber of Commerce and active in the Y.M.C.A., Boy Scouts, and many other community projects. He died in 1972.
The collection includes outgoing and incoming correspondence, letters to editors, literary manuscripts and writing by Lilla and John Leach as well as some by others, tearsheets and clippings regarding botany, notebooks, notes by John and Lilla, travel diaries from several trips, and some photographs. Most of the content reflects her career as a botanist.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open to the public.
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Restrictions on Use :
Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
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Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Lilla Irvin Leach Papers, Ax 756, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Collection is arranged into the following series:
Series I: Outgoing Correspondence
Series II: Incoming Correspondence
Series III: Letters to Editors
Series IV: Literary Manuscripts
Series V: Literary Manuscripts and Writing by Others