This guide points to primary and secondary resources housed in Wilson Library that are related to the life and career of William Chambers Coker and the establishment of the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
The material was originally pulled together for an undergraduate class at UNC-Chapel Hill, English 266: Science & Literature, Section 1
October 20, 1952: Professor John N. Couch of the Botany Department sends Chancellor House the final draft of the proposal for the Botanical Garden, in which he expresses hope that W.C. Coker will give land along the Meeting-of-the-Waters Branch to the University. This is the land that would later become the Coker Pinetum. ["A Proposal to Establish a Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill", Box 3. Botanical Garden Records]
May 18, 1953: Couch expresses hope of "a considerable addition" of land from Coker in a letter to John Sprunt Hill. [Department of Botany Records]
June 27, 1953: Coker passes away. [Powell, William S. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. CBo D55p. North Carolina Collection, Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]
Early 1960s: An undated brochure inluding a map of the Botanical Garden conatins an early reference to the land along Meeting-of-the-Waters Creek as "Coker Pinetum". This brochure can be dated between 1960, when Ritchie Bell was appointed Acting Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and 1966, when the Garden was first opened to the public. [Department of Botany Records]