The first of its kind in the United States, the Dutchess County Botanical Garden, a field botanical laboratory, was financed for seven years by income from the Elizabeth Drinker Storer Memorial Fund, the gift of Gertrude Mead Abbey '70, a classmate of Elizabeth Drinker Storer '70, who taught at Vassar between 1878 and 1881 and who died in 1913.

Professor Edith A. Roberts directed the work. Miss Roberts was a member of the department of plant science from 1919 until 1948 and its chairman for many years.