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Joan Severa, 1925–2015

Mar 16th, 2015

MADISON-Joan L. Severa, age 89, passed away on March 5, 2015, at Oakwood West in Madison, Wisconsin, with family and friends by her side.

She was born on August 7, 1925, in Spring Green, to Gertrude and Johnny Baker. Joan was a master gardener and after retirement she authored How to Create a Perennial Garden. She volunteered at Olbrich Gardens for many many years and was on the Olbrich Garden Tour. Joan shared her knowledge of gardening with enthusiasm and great knowledge and could be seen quite often digging in her yard dividing up plants to share with neighbors and fellow gardeners.

Her career started at the State Historical Society in 1958, and by 1979 she had worked her way up to Curator of Costume and Textiles, which included Decorative Arts. During her tenure, Joan published many articles on historic costume for living history centers and created the Patterns of History. Among her many achievements is her book, Dressed for the Photographer 1840-1900. The book won the CSA Millia Davenport Award in 1996, and prizes from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the Victorian Society in America, Wisconsin Library Association and the Golden Pen Writing Award from the United States Institute for Theater Technicians. She followed up with another book, My Likeness Taken.

Read the rest of her obituary here.

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