Rose of Sharon: Today’s featured digital object
Friday, November 11th, 2011
Posted by Kevin Miller
The image to the right may appear at first glance otherworldly—abstract in its beauty; vibrant, yet still. It is, in actuality, a flower plucked by George Pepperdine from the banks of the Sea of Galilee in Palestine on March 26, 1928. Dried and pressed, the flower, labeled “Rose of Sherron”, appears here (digitally magnified) in a scrapbook of photos, postcards, and keepsakes assembled by Pepperdine following an around the world trip that he took by ship with his mother in spring of 1928. This scrapbook, along with numerous photographs, writings, newspaper clippings, collectables, and home movies, is now digitized and available in the new online George Pepperdine Collection.
George Pepperdine had a hobby of collecting, drying, and pressing flowers and other plants that held some beauty or special meaning. The same scrapbook contains botanical keepsakes from Cana, Jopa, Nazareth, Jericho, and the River Jordan. A simple leaf from an oleander shrub is revealed to have grown at the entrance to “Jesus’ tomb” at the foot of Mount Calvary.
Visiting the Biblical locations of Palestine clearly made a strong impression on Pepperdine, a deeply Christian man. As the ship sailed on across the Indian Ocean, he wrote to friends: “The most interesting of all is to reflect upon the birth-place of Christianity, its humble beginning among such common-place people, in such common-place surroundings. It recalls to mind the Saviour’s parable, The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which is indeed the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
We invite you to leaf through this unique scrapbook and zoom in as close as you like to view the pressed leaves and flowers, rare postcards, and souvenir photographs. Taken as a whole, the scrapbook provides a snapshot of our world in the late 1920s. Even more, it reveals an important glimpse of George Pepperdine, the man, nearly a decade before founding the university that bears his name.