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J. Awdry Armstrong Collection
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The J. Awdry Armstrong collection contains three series: Corporate, professional, and personal. The corporate series consist of financial statements, correspondence, product lists, and various other documents relating to the business of Armstrong Nurseries during Mr. Armstrong’s tenure as president. The professional series focuses primarily on Mr. Armstrong’s involvement in All-America Rose Selections, from its inception in 1939 through 1974. The personal series contains minutes and financial statements for Congregational Homes, the parent company of Mt. San Antonio Gardens, a retirement community in Pomona where Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong lived after his retirement from Armstrong Nurseries, in which Mr. Armstrong served on the board. Also included in this series are estate records for Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong and his parents, John S. Armstrong and Charlotte Armstrong, as well as income tax returns for Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong.
Background
J. Awdry Armstrong was born in Ontario on January 24, 1899 to John S. Armstrong, founder of Armstrong Nurseries, and Charlotte Armstrong. One of six children, Awdry, as he was known, was the only son of the Armstrong’s to survive past the age of 26. Awdry attended Chaffey High School, graduating in 1917, then attended UC Berkeley and was a member of the Alpha Zeta agricultural fraternity. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1922, Awdry went to work for Armstrong Nurseries, becoming General Manager in 1928 and Executive Vice President in 1932 when Armstrong Nurseries incorporated, and he established the research department at Armstrong Nurseries that same year. He became president of the company in 1957 after his father stepped down. Awdry was one of the founding members of the All-America Rose Selections and served as its first president, from 1940 to 1945. He was actively involved in scoring and selecting annual rose selections for the organization for many years. He was also on the board of directors for the American Association of Nurserymen and served as its president in 1947-48, as well as for the California Association of Nurserymen, in which he served as president in 1929-30 and again in 1933-34. He was the executive chairman of the California International Flower Show from 1956 to 1958 and was chairman of the agricultural committee for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce from 1959 through 1962. He was active in the Ontario Host Lions Club, served on the board of San Antonio Community Hospital, and served on the Ontario City Library board of trustees, and was active in many other local organizations. Awdry recorded an oral history with the library in 1978. The recording and transcript of the interview can be found here: http://ontariocitylibrary-montage.auto-graphics.com/#/item-details/entities_422 Awdry married Ruth Harrison in 1923 and the couple had three children, John Jr., David, and Janetha. John A. Armstrong, Jr. took over as president of Armstrong Nurseries after Awdry’s retirement in 1967. David served for many years as the head of the research department of Armstrong Nurseries, but left to pursue his dream of becoming a physician in 1968. The family lived for many years at 307 West Sixth Street in Ontario, and Awdry and Ruth moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens after Awdry retired from the business. He served on the board of directors for Mt. San Antonio Gardens for several years. Ruth Harrison Armstrong died in 1987 and J. Awdry Armstrong died in 1989 at the age of 90.
Extent
5 containers. 7.5 linear feet.
Restrictions
Consult library.
Availability
Collection is open for research during the operating hours of the Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History Room, or by appointment.