Ellen Perkins was born in Athens Pennsylvania on July 7, 1854 and upon her death in 1940, bequeathed her botanical herbariums to the Tioga Point Museum, of which she was a member of the Board of Directors.
She was the ninth of twelve children of Edward H Perkins, grew up in Athens and may have attended Wells College in Aurora, New York. Her first herbarium, created in 1872, is comprised of Flora collected around the Aurora area when she was 18. Her second and much larger herbarium was created between 1890 and 1907. Her work, collecting, classifying and preserving the flowers of Pennsylvania and New York, is arranged according to Carolus Linnaeus' system of binomial nomenclature.
Botany and creating herbariums was a common pass-time during this era, but Miss Perkins' work truly entwines beauty in the science and art of botany.
George N. Tidd (b. 1874, Barclay Mountain, Bradford County, PA) was a successful executive in Manhattan as well as a collector of rare books when he met Jessie Murray, the second director of the museum, and daughter of Louise Welles Murray.
"You are doing a fine thing for the community in the work you were looking after. I hope they appreciate it. I would hardly think that there were such interesting things so near at home. I have often watched them excavating in Egypt and Italy and always thought it was such interesting work. One could lose themselves as many do in the past and I think it's such a relief to get a way from the present especially in these times. I would like you to see my library sometime for I have many books which I believe would interest you. 15th-century Bibles and books of this character which I purchased abroad."
[George Tidd to Jessie Murray, 1934]
His library was donated to the Tioga Point Museum upon his death in 1954. The volumes include many rare and first editions of the writings of the early American Republic, including letters from George Washington, William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and others. A significant number of historical volumes about the British monarchy and 18th-century French history and culture are also included.
Because of the fragility of these volumes, they are rarely on display, however, we are planning to start scanning them so they will be available for research in the coming year.
The Tioga Point Museum was founded in 1895 by Louise Welles Murray, archaeologist and historian, to give a permanent home to the wealth of history, archaeology, and the art and artifacts of world cultures here in Athens, Pennsylvania. Often described as " A museum of a museum", this one hundred and twenty year old institution houses a unique and exciting "collection of collections" of local people who traveled the world and gifted our community with eclectic and beautiful examples of Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Polynesian, Micronesian, European and Middle Eastern art, objects and books.
Examples from each collection are available in the Gallery