|Creator:||Walker, Alma Toevs, 1911-1989|
|Title:||Alma Walker papers|
|Quantity:||22.0 Linear feet (17 cartons, 3 document boxes, 1 oversized box)|
|Abstract:||Notebooks reflecting Walker's participation in Georgia organizations, especially Georgia Conservancy and Northeast Georgia Area Planning and Development Commission, and her more general interests including Athens, Ga., University of Georgia, and women's issues; together with brochures, books, and other loose material.|
Botanist, environmental activist, and civic leader, of Athens, Ga.; b. Alma Toevs; married Lester C. Walker.
With the death of Alma Toevs Walker on October 20, 1989, the city of Athens and the state of Georgia lost a loyal friend. Remembered primarily for her contributions to Georgian civic organizations, Alma Toevs Walker was born in Minnesota in 1911, the oldest of five children. As a young child, Alma moved several times with her family, eventually settling at the age of four in Idaho where her father ran a bank and was an active participant in city organizations. Ultimately, Alma seemed to have adopted her father's determination and sense of social responsibility. After graduating from high school, instead of accepting a money gift from her parents to attend college, Alma worked as a cashier in her father's bank, later enrolling in 1932 at the University of Idaho with her own savings. After two years she transferred to Iowa State University, working two jobs to support her desire for learning.
In 1940 Alma Toevs Walker received a bachelor of science degree from Iowa State in home economics. She then returned to Idaho to teach, meeting Lester Walker, an art professor, at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. On September 7, 1941, Alma and Lester married. Shortly after the marriage, Lester entered the army in World War II. In Lester's absence, Alma worked on her master's degree in textiles and clothing at Texas State College for Women. After the War, Alma and Lester moved to Columbus, Ohio so Lester could begin a Ph.D. program in art history. In Ohio Alma worked as a home economics graduate assistant and studied bacteriology. After two years Lester accepted a teaching position in Des Moines, Iowa. Meanwhile Alma began a doctorate program in plant physiology at Iowa State University. Finally, in 1951 Lester completed his Ph.D. and joined the University of Georgia's art department. Alma remained in Iowa to finish her own Ph.D. program before moving to Athens to be with her husband in 1952.
At the University of Georgia Alma Toevs Walker was immediately confronted with an anti-nepotism rule that prevented her from joining the faculty. She did, however, maintain laboratory space on campus and obtained grants to continue her studies in botany. She conducted research on lichens that lead to the publication of an important and popular article in the May 1968 issue of the American Journal of Botany. By the turn of the decade, however, Alma became more frustrated with the limits placed upon her in her area of study by the University of Georgia and, to the fortune of Athens and Georgia, began devoting herself almost entirely to community service. She became active in several Athens organizations including the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Athens Recording for the Blind, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. On the state level, Alma was involved in the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation, the Georgia Heritage Trust, and the Georgia Conservancy. Overall, before her death from Lou Gehrig's Disease in 1989, Alma Toevs Walker was an important public personality whose persistence and loyalty greatly contributed to the success of Athenian and Georgian organizations.
Other Biographical References:
McCarthy, Rebecca. "So Much that Needs to be Done."
Athens Magazine April 1990: 39-47.
The collection of Alma Toevs Walker was acquired by the University of Georgia's Hargrett Library on April 9, 1990. The material was contributed by Mrs. Walker's husband, Lester Walker, and arrived at the Hargrett Library partially ordered. The collection consists primarily of numerous notebooks which Walker herself compiled. At first the notebooks appear to be scrapbooks. However, upon second glance one discovers that they reflect much more than scrapbooks as they contain meticulous records of Walker's personal interests and organizational activity.
The Alma Toevs Walker Collection consists of 13 Hollinger boxes and demonstrates mainly Walker's action in community and state organizations after her arrival in Georgia in 1952. The notebooks have been placed in boxes 1-12 alphabetically according to notebook titles. An especially large amount of information exists for the Georgia Conservancy and the Northeast Georgia Planning and Development Commission. Box 13 contains various books and brochures that arrived with the collection but were not attached to specific notebooks. A photograph of Alma and Lester Walker which was found in the collection is now located in the Georgia Photo File. Also, further information pertaining to Alma Toevs Walker can be found in Bartram Trail Society Papers, Ms 2044, and in The Lester Walker Collection, Ms 2595
This addendum to the Alma Toevs Walker Collection was added in June of 1991. Like the earlier part of this collection, the bulk of the added materials is notebooks compiled by Ms. Walker on various subjects and organizations.
Boxes 14 through 17 contain these notebooks, which detail Ms. Walker's interest in the environment, community service, biology and general science.
Boxes 18 through 20 contain several publications relating to lichenology, ecology and electron microscopy, which Ms. Walker worked on between 1966 and 1969 at the University.
Much of the material will be of special interest to students of ecology, biology and regional environmental concerns.