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Lilla Irvin Leach papers

Identifier: Ax 756

Scope and Contents note

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.


  • 1892-1971 1930-1963
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1963


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and 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 and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

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.


2 linear feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



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.

Arrangement note

Collection is arranged into the following series:

Series I: Outgoing CorrespondenceSeries II: Incoming CorrespondenceSeries III: Letters to EditorsSeries IV: Literary ManuscriptsSeries V: Literary Manuscripts and Writing by OthersSeries VI: Tearsheets and ClippingsSeries VII: NotebooksSeries VIII: NotesSeries IX: Travel DiariesSeries X: MiscellaneousSeries XI: Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Lilla Irvin Leach in 1962.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Jennifer Maciejeski.

Guide to the Lilla Irvin Leach Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Maciejeski
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA