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Johnstown resident follows ancestor’s ‘Trail of the Wild Flowers’
August 1, 2011 - Bill Ackerbauer
JOHNSTOWN — Botany, history and genealogy come together in compelling fashion in a book published this year by local editor, photographer and researcher Sandy Nellis Lane.
“The Trail of the Wild Flowers, Part I: Vermont and Great Britain,” is a hardcover volume that pairs writing and illustrations by Lucy Ladd Stratton, Lane’s great-great aunt, who was born in Dalton, N.H., in 1834. Stratton combined her diaries and letters to create a memoir focusing on her love of wildflowers, which she collected and painted in the United States and Europe.
Upon her death, her 1,500 watercolor and gouache wildflower paintings were given to the Library of Congress.
Over the course of about 10 years, Lane photographed many of her great-great aunt’s paintings and put them together with the woman’s prose to produce the first of what will be a two-volume work.
“From Vermont woodlands with fairy grottos to the land of ancient cathedrals, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austin, Lucy Ladd Stratton began her ‘Trail of the Wild Flowers,’ painting intricate watercolors of her prized acquisitions,” Lane said in a news release about the book, which details Stratton’s work from 1882-84. In the book, Lane acknowledges the contributions of other descendants of Lucy Ladd Stratton, including Palmer Rouse of Pennsylvania and Howard and David Wolf of Michigan.
Lane grew up on the historic Nellis farm near Herkimer, and after earning a bachelor of science degree in horticulture at Cornell University, she spent time teaching biology and being a seamstress. Later, she worked for 15 years as a senior administrative analyst for the New York State Thruway Authority in Albany.
Now retired, she lives in Johnstown, with her husband, Walt Lane. She also is a local history advocate and a board member of the Palatine Settlement Society, which maintains the 1747 Nellis Tavern in St. Johnsville.
Lane will give a presentation and sign copies of “The Trail of the Wildflowers” from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday at Gansevoort House Books, an independent bookstore at Canal Place, 25 W. Mill St., Little Falls.
The book is now available for purchase there, and some of the paintings are on display. For more information about ordering the book or about the event, call (315) 823-0240 or email email@example.com.
The book also is available at Mysteries on Main Street in Johnstown.
In October, Lane will speak at a local meeting of the American Association of University Women, and she will do a book-signing at a Dec. 3 event at Fort Johnson.
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