Alma Walker papers

Alma Walker papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Walker, Alma Toevs, 1911-1989
Title: Alma Walker papers
Dates: 1970-1989
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.
Coll. Number: ms2696

Biographical/Historical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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.

Index Terms

Athens (Ga.)
Civic leaders--Georgia.
Conservation of natural resources--Georgia.
Conservation of natural resources--Societies, etc.
Georgia Conservancy.
Georgia--History--Societies, etc.
Nature conservation--Georgia--Societies, etc.
Northeast Georgia Area Planning and Development Commission..
Regional planning--Citizen participation.
Regional planning--Georgia.
Universities and colleges--Georgia--Athens
Universities and colleges--Georgia.
Women botanists--Georgia.
Women civic leaders--Georgia.
Women environmentalists--Georgia.
Women's rights--United States.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Athens Area News (1 item)
2Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation (3 items)
3Athens Council on Human Relations (1 item)
4Bartram Trail Society (1 item)
5Clarke County Communication Relations Division (1 item)
6Conservation Foundation Newsletter (2 items)
7Cumberland Island (1 item)
8Environmental Defense Fund (1 item)
21Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art (5 items)
2Friends of the University of Georgia
3Botanical Garden/Friends of the State
4Botanical Garden of Georgia (3 items)
31Friends of the University of Georgia
2Botanical Garden/Friends of the State
3Botanical Garden of Georgia (7 items)
4Georgia Botanical Society (2 items)
Georgia Conservancy
35Georgia Conservancy (2 items)
41-5Georgia Conservancy (5 items)
51-7Georgia Conservancy (7 items)
6Georgia Conservancy-Committees
1Energy Policy (2 items)
2Executive (1 item)
3Forest and Woodlands (3 items)
4Land Use Planning (2 items)
Georgia Conservancy-General Information
5Board Manual (1 item)
6By-Laws (1 item)
7Member Files (1 item)
8Miscellaneous (1 item)
71Georgia Conservancy Annual Conferences (4 items)
2Georgia Conservancy Newsletter (1 item)
3Georgia Conservancy Newsletter/Magazine (1 item)
4Georgia Heritage Trust (2 items)
5Georgia Heritage Trust Newsletter (1 item)
6Georgia Horticultural Society (1 item)
81Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation (2 items)
2Georgia Waterline Letter (1 item)
3Historic Oglethorpe County (3 items)
4Faust Farm (1 item)
5Smithonia (1 item)
6Hyla-Newsletter of Sandy Creek Nature Center (1 item)
7Kiplinger Washington Letter (1 item)
1Northeast Georgia Planning and Development Commission (NEGAPDC) (1 item)
2NEGAPDC-Natural and Historic Resources Advisory Committee-Committee Handbook (1 item)
3NEGAPDC-Natural and Historic Resources Advisory Committee (5 items)
101NEGAPDC-Natural and Historic Resources Advisory Committee (2 items)
2NEGAPDC Older Voice (1 item)
3NEGAPDC Update (1 item)
4Oglethorpe County-Misc. (1 item)
5Piedmont Heritage Council (2 items)
6Preservation News (1 item)
7The Rankin File (1 item)
8Sigma Delta Epsilon (3 items)
9Society of Sigma XI (2 items)
111Taxonomy (2 items)
2Travel Notebooks (7 items)
3Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (3 items)
4University of Georgia Alumni Society (1 item)
121University of Georgia-Misc. Newspaper, Clippings (4 items)
2Wilderness Society (2 items)
3Women's Issues-Newspaper Clippings (2 items)
13Various Books
Botany (6 items)
Environmental (10 items)
Forestry (9 items)
General Georgia Information (1 item)
Miscellaneous (1 item)
Notebooks: AAAS/AIBS Newsletters
Notebooks: Athens Council of Human Relations
Notebooks: Boyle's Island
Notebooks: Coastal Topics
Notebooks: Energy Potential
Notebooks: Environment, Georgia
Notebooks: Environment, U.S.
15Notebooks: Environment, U.S.
Notebooks: Environment, U.S.
Notebooks: Georgia Conservancy, Athens Area Chapter
Notebooks: Georgia Conservancy, Athens Area Chapter
Notebooks: Georgia Conservancy, Athens Area Chapter
Notebooks: Georgia Waterline
16Notebooks: Lands
Notebooks: Lands
Notebooks: Mercury; DDT-Mirex
Notebooks: miscellaneous, science
Notebooks: miscellaneous, science
Notebooks: Northeast Ga. Nature Center
17Notebooks: Pollution; Atlanta
Notebooks: Russell Dam and Lake
Notebooks: Southeast Region
Notebooks: UGA Botanical Gardens
Notebooks: UGA Botanical Gardens
Notebooks: UGA Botanical Gardens
Notebooks: UGA Botanical Gardens
Notebooks: UGA Botanical Gardens
18Atlanta Botanical Garden-electron photo-micrographs
1Atlanta Botanical Garden
2Book orders
3Cornicularia normoerica
4Cornicularia normoerica-chemistry
5Cornicularia normoerica-U.S. National Museum specimens
6Daily planner, 1967-1969
7Dover Publications
8Electron microscopy
9Electron microscopy-reprints & notes
10Electron photomicrographs
19International Lichenological Newsletter-printed material
1International Lichenological Newsletter
2Library of Science
Oglethorpe Co.; Survey of Farmsteads
Printed Material
4Printed material/publications
5Printed material/publications
6Printed material/publications
1Reprints: cornicularia
2Reprints: chemical
3Reprints: cytological stains
4Reprints: fungus-alga ultrastructure
5Reprints: Thin-layer chromatography
6Solar homes
7South America-correspondence
8South America-travel
9Spectrophotometric data
OS Box
21Certificates, photographs, and plaques. Framed picture of Watson Mill covered bridge. 1985 Community Cultrual Award medal from the University of Georgia.