Library News

Author of The Mummy! Also Produced Classic Botanical Manuals

A book recently added to the Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Collection in Special Collections at UT Dallas' Eugene McDermott Librarywas donated by the Louise B. Belsterling Foundation of the Dallas Garden Club and the Richard Finlay family in memory of Charlotte Finlay.

Mrs. Finlay, 73, was an avid gardener. She died in October and had served as president of the Belsterling Foundation, the Dallas Garden Club, the Junior League Garden Club, and the Founders Garden Club among others.

Published in 1840 in England, the book honoring Mrs. Finlay is The Ladies' Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals by Jane C. Loudon (1807-1858). Features in the book include 48 lithographed plates colored by hand and produced by Day & Haghe, who in 1838 were appointed "Lithographers to the Queen" (which in this case would be Queen Victoria who ascended to the British throne June 20, 1837). One of the 48 plates in the book is shown above.

Louden, considered to be an early enthusiast of what is now known as science fiction, is said to have been influenced by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). Her most famous work is The Mummy! published anonymously in 1827. The story is about an Egyptian mummy who comes back to life in the 22nd century and includes a Mummy's curse.

Her interest in gardening was influenced by her husband, John C. Loudon, whose field was agriculture and gardening. She felt there was a need for entry-level reference manuals and wrote several of them no doubt with the help of her husband and by attending lectures of John Lindley. They were considered the leading British horticulturists of their day.

In her introduction to the book, Louden wrote, "The love of flowers is calculated to improve our best feelings, and subdue our bad ones; and we can hardly contemplate the beauty and richness of a flower-garden withou feeling our hearts dilate with gratitude to that Almighty Being who has made all these lovely blossoms, and given them to us for our use." Born in Nacogdoches, Tex., Charlotte Finlay was a sixth-generation Texan and a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She was also a contributing member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is survived by her immediate family: husband, Richard R. Finlay; daughter, Laura Finlay Smith; and twin sons, Richard C. Finlay and Charles A. Finlay.

Longtime HAC Volunteer Will Be Missed

Longtime History of Aviation Collection (HAC) volunteer Ken Rice died of a heart attack on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at the age of 87. He had resided in Plano, TX and is survived by his wife Jane, son Kevin and daughter Rosemary.

Ken had been associated with the HAC since it started at UT Dallas in 1983. Researchers seeking information about the German air force during World War I would contact Rice for accurate information. The requests would come from all over the world. His research focus for many years was the famous A.E. Ferko collection that was obtained from the Ferko estate in 1997. Ferko was known internationally as an authority on every phase of World War I combat aviation, especially the German aces and outstanding fliers.

Rice was also well-versed on World War II aviation. He admitted he was most interested in the older aircraft. Paul Oelkrug, Coordinator of Special Collection, recalls that Ken was one of the first people he met when he first came to the HAC in 2002. "Ken was a great guy and easy to get to know. He made me feel at home with the HAC volunteers and staff. Ken had a great sense of humor and always had a big smile on his face. I as well as the rest of the Special Collections staff and volunteers will miss him."

Kenneth John Rice was born Aug. 4, 1925 in Chicago IL. He took his first flight in a Ford Trimotor in 1929 and was a solid model maker during his formative years.

He served during World War II and, although initially trained as a field artillery radio operator, his entire class was transferred to the combat infantry of the 36th Division in Europe. After the war he attended the University of Illinois and graduated from Central Technical School in Kansas City, MO majoring in engineering. He spent 31 years as a technician at station WHIO-TV, Dayton's first TV station, then the next 20 years marketing and selling television broadcast equipment such as lenses, prisms and cameras. He went into selling radio equipment, basically everything you would need in setting up a radio station including transmitters.

Not satisfied with building aircraft models, Rice began flying in the early 1960s by soloing a Cessna 150. He then mostly flew Citabrias for more than 700 hours in light single-engine aircraft.