Video highlights Ernesta Ballard’s role with Flower Show

Posted: March 08, 2013

Ernesta Drinker Ballard, executive director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society from 1963 to 1981, opened the once invitation-only Philadelphia Flower Show to the public.

To highlight the contributions of Ballard, who died in 2005 at 85, documentary filmmaker Sam Katz released a short video online Thursday night to coincide with this year's flower show, which will conclude on Sunday.

The video, which runs three minutes and 37 seconds, features appearances by Ballard's daughter Alice, former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, and Lynn Yeakel, who famously ran for U.S. Senate against incumbent Arlen Specter in 1992.

Katz, a three-time candidate for Philadelphia mayor, said the video was produced and edited by Alaina Logan.

The New York Times obituary for Ballard declared that she "transformed [the Philadelphia Flower Show] from a horticultural beauty show into a spectacular international educational event."

Ballard also was a leading feminist in Philadelphia, starting the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women, and cofounded Women's Way, a fund-raising group.

She actively campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment. In the video, it is recounted how Ballard traveled to Utah to campaign Mormons door to door for their support of the constitutional amendment.

The video can be viewed at

Other videos about Philadelphia's history can be viewed at Katz's website:

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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