Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal | Cincinnati History Library and Archives

Hauck Botanical Exhibit

Building the Collection

Cornelius and Harriet Hauck
Cornelius and Harriet Hauck

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After his marriage in 1924, Cornelius Hauck and his bride, Harriet Wesche, moved into a renovated farmhouse located on one acre of land just south of the family home on Oak Street.

Their goal was to create a woodland retreat within the city.

The Hauck book collection began when the newlyweds acquired books about botany, horticulture, and landscape architecture in order to landscape their property. Their goal was to create a woodland retreat within the city. Soon, Mr. Hauck became an avid gardener interested in determining which trees and shrubs could flourish in an urban environment, and saving trees indigenous to this area from destruction.

They named their property "Sooty Acres" in reference to its location within the city where the air was murky from the black powder generated by the burning of soft coal. Today, Sooty Acres, is an eight-acre Cincinnati park.

Sooty Acres
Sooty Acres

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In 1965, Mr. Hauck described how the book collection began. "The story of the collection started for us when a group of newly marrieds decided to beautify their recently acquired home grounds, and to take Professor M.E. Bottomley's botany course at the University [of Cincinnati]. The thought being that we could go to Court Street or Findlay Market to more reasonably purchase the right kind of 'greenery,' starting with trees because they take the longest time to grow, then shrubs and flowers. Being asked to read various [botany] books, we would go to our bookstore friends. And so a collection was started. Then we became members of the book dealers' 'favorite sucker' list. And the collection grew and grew" (Hauck 1965).

Map of Sooty Acres
Map of Sooty Acres

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Today, Sooty Acres, is an eight-acre Cincinnati park.

Cornelius Hauck's collecting interests widened to include beautifully illustrated books, especially herbals and florals.


Hauck, Cornelius J. Speech to the McDowell Society, April 1, 1965.

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