American Rose Quarterly (1930)

Further Information in the Case of William R. Smith

WHILE the correspondence published in the current American Rose Annual definitely established the correctness of the name William R. Smith for the rose which is also sold under the names Charles Dingee and Jeannette Heller, members will be interested in the following letter from Mr. Myer Heller, of New Castle, Ind., telling how the rose came to bear the name Jeannette Heller. At the time of this transaction, Mr. Heller was the proprietor of a rose business in New Castle, Ind., with which he is no longer connected, and his renaming of the variety seems to have been in accord with contemporary practice. It seems that he believed that he was securing the entire stock of the rose and had a right to name it whatever he chose. As was explained in the letter from Mr. Hill, published in the Annual, numerous plants had been released to growers in the East, which neither Mr. Hill nor Mr. Heller knew about. Mr. Heller's letter follows:

New Castle, Ind., March 3, 1930.

Gentlemen: I wish to explain my position as to the naming the rose Jeannette Heller, an editorial concerning which I have just read in the 1930 Annual.

My first knowledge of this rose was a plant given me by Mr. Hill for trial. He said that it would not make a forcing rose, but possibly would be good as a garden rose.

When I found its merits, I consulted him, and he said it was a Shellem seedling, and that he believed he could buy all the stock, and would sell it to me, naming a price at which he thought he could get it. I agreed to take it provided I could name it, as .... we wanted a rose we could name after my little daughter. We believed we could work out some very strong advertising matter, as the rose seemed to have merit and the child was attractive.

I never received anything but a few old stumps of plants, and, as afterward developed, did not get an exclusive name. In fact, I have been unjustly criticized, and put in a very bad light. I am sorry that you did not consult me before publishing the editorial in the Annual.

I am not, nor have I been for many years, connected in a business way with any rose-growing establishment, my only work in roses now being at the head of a five-acre municipal garden which is starting here this spring.

I repeat, I bought, as I thought, all the stock of this rose of Mr. Hill, and believe he was honest in thinking he could sell it all to me, but he did not get it, which I did not know until after the name was advertised and established.

Very truly,

We are sorry that Mr. Heller's feelings were hurt by the article in the Annual, but assure him that there was no intention to bring judgment upon him or anyone else for their actions in the matter. The whole object of the article was to establish, once and for all, the original, and therefore correct, name of the rose, William R. Smith. The continued use of the names Jeannette Heller and Charles Dingee is regrettable, but not worth worrying about since the unimportance of the variety scarcely justifies the controversy which it has aroused.