Thursday, October 17, 2013

In memory of our Friend, Frances Tenenbaum

The Friends of the Cambridge Public Library and the Cambridge community recently lost a dear friend. Frances Tenenbaum, an award-winning garden writer and one of the original founders of the Friends’ Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour, died in late September at the age of 94.

Frances first became involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library when she was recruited at a used book sale to join the Friends Board. 

Former Friends Board President Susan Twarog recalled, “It was one of the best things to happen to the Friends! Almost as soon as she joined the Board, she raised the idea of a garden tour fundraiser.”

It was January 2000, and with Susan as her co-chair, Frances was persistent and committed to making the garden tour happen that spring. It was an amazing success and the Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour has since become the Friends’ signature fundraising event to benefit the Cambridge Public Library. As a respected garden writer and long-time Houghton Mifflin editor, Frances lent not only her expertise and credibility to support of the library community, but also her enthusiasm and wit!

“I loved working with Frances,” Susan remembered. “Those five or six years were great fun. Frances was at least 35 years older than me, but I never felt that -- she was so vibrant, intelligent and funny.”

Frances and Susan co-authored The Secret Gardens of Cambridge book, which offers a bit of history about the beginning of the biennial event and features striking photos of some of the secret gardens that have been revealed as part of the tour.

Frances was an active community member in both Cambridge and Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard, where she was also a seasonal resident. Read more about Frances’s amazing life here in the Vineyard Gazette.

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