Friends and family of Julia Hawkins and members of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum joined us this weekend to celebrate her 106th birthday. Guests viewed original watercolors by botanical artist Margaret Stones. Hawkins and her late husband, Murray (former chair of the LSU Department of Petroleum Engineering), befriended Stones in the 1970s. The Hawkins duo botanized often with the artist, climbing, paddling, and hiking throughout the state and its many waterways collecting specimens for the Native Flora of Louisiana project. Two of the original watercolors created for the collection are on display in the current exhibition, “Flora & Fauna at 50: The E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection.”
Hawkins, always seen sporting a fresh flower in her hair, was recently involved in the fundraising for and publication of the folio edition of Native Flora of Louisiana (LSU Press, 2018). The title is available through LSU Press and features full-color reproductions of the entire collection of original watercolors along with detailed descriptions of each plant. For decades, Hawkins has advocated for the conservation of Louisiana’s native plants and has been a staunch supporter of the Native Flora of Louisiana Collection. She hopes that the book will eventually reside in special collections libraries around the country so that a national audience can appreciate both the natural bounty of our state and the beauty of the work of artist Margaret Stones.
It’s Been Wondrous!: A Centenarian’s Memoir by Julia Hawkins is among the holdings of LSU Libraries Special Collections.