Skip to main content

Marie Aull Papers

Identifier: MS-501

Scope and Contents

The Marie Aull Papers document the life of a significant Daytonian involved extensively in gardening, education, travel, and the Dayton community. Through these records, researchers may gain insight into gardening, on a national and local level, world travel during the late 20th century, and the history of a noteworthy local property.

Series I, Travel, is divided into eight subseries. Marie had most of her travel material sorted by individual trip. The trips were then placed in chronological order.

Subseries IA, 1920s-1940s, documents travel that Marie took with her husband, John. These trips often include itineraries, ship passenger lists, brochures, and postcards.

Subseries IB, 1950s, documents travel that Marie took after John’s death in 1955. These trips often include itineraries, receipts, correspondence, travel journals, postcards, and brochures.

Subseries IC, 1960s, Subseries ID, 1970s, and Subseries IE, 1980s-1990s, documents travel that Marie took with her sister, other friends, and alone. Some trips were through various organizations: Audubon Society, Cincinnati Nature Center, American Horticultural Society, Garden Club of America, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and more. These trips often include itineraries, receipts, correspondence, travel journals, postcards, and brochures.

Subseries IF, Postcards and Prints, contains postcards and prints from the various trips Marie took. Almost all are undated and they were found all together. There are postcards that can be found within the individual trips’ subseries. Those postcards were not separated.

Subseries IG, Undated Trips, also documents excursions Marie took. The materials in this subseries however have no decipherable creation date. This subseries includes important material like travel journals.

Subseries IH, Research, planning, and possible trips, contains mostly travel brochures and pamphlets. There are not itineraries or receipts to prove that Marie went on any of these trips. Rather than assume or force order the material was placed in this subseries.

Series II, Garden, is divided into six subseries. Marie’s garden, house, and property are often all referred to as Aullwood even though different lands are held by different organizations.

Subseries IIA, Aullwood, contains garden material from before John’s death and anything generically labelled Aullwood. Material includes plant lists and orders and garden analyses.

Subseries IIB, Audubon, contains material from the Aullwood Audubon Center and farm. This subseries is small, but it does include pamphlets, annual reports, newsletters, and Greenvalley Award applications. Subseries IIC, MetroParks, contains material from the Aullwood Garden MetroParks. This subseries is small, but it does include pamphlets, reports, and garden legacy documentation.

Subseries IID, History and Aullwood Book, documents the history of Marie and John’s garden and property. This subseries is small, but has a lot of valuable information. Some material was put together by the author of A Place called Aullwood, Allan L. Horvath (box 27 file1). Material in subseries includes deeds, legal paperwork, interviews, and correspondence.

Subseries IIE, Publicity and Conservation, contains mostly newspaper clippings and magazine articles about Marie and her garden. The conservation part of this subseries is very small. It mostly contains meeting minutes and newsletters from the Nature Conservancy and a few other organizations. Marie won awards for her work in conservation, but this collection does not have the extensive documentation of this work.

Subseries IIF, General Garden, contains mostly booklets and magazines on gardening techniques and tips.

Series III, Correspondence, contains four main types of correspondence: significant people, birthday, Christmas, and general. Birthday, Christmas, and general correspondence are organized in alphabetically order when possible.

Series IV, Photos, documents Aullwood, Marie, and John. Photos were originally in envelopes with the decade written on them. Even though it’s not clear who supplied those dates, the processor retained the same dating scheme.

Series V, Personal, is divided into seven subseries.

Subseries VA, Childhood, family, and John, contains material from Marie’s childhood and from John and his family.

Subseries VB, Hobbies, documents Marie’s various hobbies including, but not limited to: music, birds, cards, crafts, and cooking.

Subseries VC, Poems, short stories, and essays, contains material that Marie displayed on a bulletin board. The location of this bulletin board is unknown.

Subseries VD, Calendars, contains mostly engagements calendars from the 1990s. There are a few older calendars that Marie used to record birthdays and special dates.

Subseries VE, Charities, is a very small subseries. It documents some of the charities that Marie was involved with.

Subseries VF, Clubs, documents Marie’s time volunteering with and belonging to several organizations. The most significant clubs were College Women’s club, Little Garden club, Garden Club of Dayton, and Friday Afternoon Club. Meeting programs and correspondence are the most common material. Marie wrote papers for the Friday Afternoon club that she more than likely presented at a meeting.

Subseries VG, Awards, documents the various awards Marie received in her lifetime. Most of the awards are garden related, but she received awards for philanthropy, conservation, and travel writing as well.


  • Creation: 1817-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920-2002


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Marie Sturwold was born on January 8, 1897 in Cincinnati, OH. With multiple generations of gardeners surrounding Marie, her love of gardening came at an early age. Her passion and knowledge was strengthened and expanded when she attended the University of Cincinnati where she studied botany, as well as biology and bird study. Her life as a gardener was forever changed when she met John Aull in 1922. John owned Aull Brothers Paper and Box Company; one of the first large successful companies in Dayton. John also owned extensive property North of Dayton. This property would one day become Aullwood Garden and Aullwood Audubon Center. When Marie and John met on an Alaskan vacation they had an immediate connection and found they had many shared interests, including travel, nature, plants, and conservation. Despite a 30 year age gap, the couple courted for a year before marrying on June 26, 1923.

John used the Aullwood lands mainly as a weekend retreat. After their marriage, Marie fell in love with the property so much that it was just a few months before the couple was living there year round. Marie became a prominent member of Dayton society joining many clubs: Friday Afternoon Club, Dayton Garden Club, Garden Club of America, National Audubon Society, and more. Marie and John spent the next 30 years together building their Aullwood house, planting, gardening, fighting for conservation and managing the rest of their extensive lands. When John died in 1955, Marie began exploring options for the future of their property. She selected the National Audubon Society as the beneficiaries for most of the Aullwood lands. Its goal was to turn Aullwood into an educational center. The society convinced her to donate the land while she was still living in order for her to help in the management and development of the center. She agreed and in 1957 the Aullwood Audubon Center was officially dedicated. Marie did not stop with the protection of her own lands. In December 1964, Marie donated $50,000 to assist the Dayton park district in purchasing its first land. This was before the first public levy that would later allow for the establishment of the Montgomery County Park District. In 1977, Marie donated her house and 30-acre garden to the Montgomery County Park District, which would one day become Five Rivers MetroPark. She continued to live there until her death August 30, 2002. She was 105 years old.


22 linear feet

Language of Materials



Marie Sturwold was born on January 8, 1897 in Cincinnati, OH. She started gardening as a child, but her passion for gardening fully took form when she married John Aull in 1923. They lived in a property north of Dayton that would one day become Aullwood Garden MetroPark and Aullwood Audubon Center. Marie is known for her work in gardening, education, and conservation, but this collection also contains her extensive travel record and personal hobbies. Material in this collection includes travel brochures, travel itineraries, travel journals, plant lists, garden analyses, historical documents, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, correspondence, photos, calendars, club material, and awards.


The Marie Aull Papers are arranged into five series and twenty-two subseries:

Series I: Travel

Subseries IA: 1920s-1940s Subseries IB: 1950s Subseries IC: 1960s Subseries ID: 1970s Subseries IE: 1980s-1990s Subseries IF: Postcards and Prints Subseries IG: Undated Trips Subseries IH: Research and Planning Series II: Garden

Subseries IIA: Aullwood Subseries IIB: Audubon Subseries IIC: Metro Parks Subseries IID: History and Aullwood Book Subseries IIE: Publicity and Conservation Subseries IIF: General Garden Series III: Correspondence

Series IV: Photos

Series V: Personal

Subseries VA: Childhood, family, and John Subseries VB: Hobbies Subseries VC: Poems, short stories, and essays Subseries VD: Calendars Subseries VE: Charities Subseries VF: Clubs Subseries VG: Awards

Custodial History

The collection remained in Marie Aull’s possession until her death in 2002. The collection and the house where it was stored passed to Five Rivers Metro Parks after Marie’s death. The collection remained there until it was donated to Wright State University Special Colelctions and Archives in 2012. This collection is covered by the deed of gift for MS-45: Five Rivers MetroParks Records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Five River Metro Parks in December 2012.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

MS-288 Garden Club of Dayton

MS-290 Friday Afternoon Club (Dayton, Ohio)

MS-463 Delphinium Garden Club of Dayton Records

Five Rivers Metro Parks

Separated Materials

Several files were removed due to size. They are located in oversized A-114 folders 4-18. Separation forms were placed into this collection showing where the material would have been intellectually.

Processing Information

Processed by: Sarah Staples, December 2015

Guide to the Marie Aull Papers (MS-501)
Sarah Staples
2015 December
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA