Lucia, Nannie (Nan) and Virginia Hollerith were the daughters of inventor Herman Hollerith and his wife Lucia Beverly Talcott Hollerith. Other Hollerith children include Herman Hollerith, Jr. (1892-1982), Charles Hollerith (1893-1972), and Richard Hollerith (1900-1967).
Herman Hollerith's invention of the punch card tabulating machine, which played an integral role in the creation of the modern information processing industry, was implemented in the 1890 census to summarize census data. His business, the Tabulating Machine Company, would ultimately become International Business Machines (IBM). Upon selling his business in 1911, Herman Hollerith purchased a Georgetown residence known as Mackall Square, and added to the property a second home, which was known as the Hollerith House. The three Hollerith sisters spent the bulk of their lives in residence at this Georgetown home and at the family's Mathews County, Virginia property, known as Brighton, or Mobjack Farm.
Lucia Beverly Hollerith, the eldest of the six Hollerith children, was born in 1891. A visual artist, she studied at the Corcoran School of Art and taught floral arrangement at the National Cathedral School for Girls. Born in 1898, Nannie Talcott Hollerith, commonly addressed as Nan, appears to have been particularly engaged in the maintenance of the Hollerith family estate. Virginia Hollerith was born in 1902. She was the youngest of the Hollerith children, and published a biographical piece about her father in the journal of The History of Science Society and University of Chicago Press.
Mrs. Lucia Hollerith, mother of the Hollerith children, co-founded the Georgetown Garden Club in Washington, D.C., in 1924. The three sisters were active members throughout their lives, as well as active members of Christ Church in Georgetown, where they regularly contributed floral arrangements for the altar. These and other floral arrangements are documented in the collection, as are the Hollerith sisters' activities and tours with the Georgetown Garden Club.
The Hollerith Family Collection includes approximately 2,200 35mm slides dating from 1952 to 1980 that document the horticultural interests and travels of sisters Virginia and Nan Hollerith, members of the Georgetown Garden Club in Washington, D.C. The images primarily show private and public gardens, plantations, and historic sites in the mid-Atlantic and the southeast regions of the United States. Included in the collection are slides documenting the activities of the Georgetown Garden Club and various floral arrangements.
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Hollerith Family slide collection