Samuel Untermyer was one of the most prominent Jews of his day in America. He was a prominent Zionist, and was President of the Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal). In addition, he was the national leader of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League from 1933-1938, and called for a worldwide boycott of Germany and the destruction of Hitler's regime.
His wife, Minnie Untermyer, was prominent in cultural circles in New York City. She was one of a small group that transformed the New York Philharmonic in 1909, and brought Gustav Mahler to conduct the orchestra. She was also President of the Poetry Society of America, and a patroness of poets and dancers in New York. Along with her husband, she supported women's suffrage and along with was able to offer her husband's legal skills and significant financial support to groups supporting women's right to vote.
Samuel Untermyer was also passionately interested in horticulture. He famously said that if he could do it over again, he would want to be the Parks Commissioner in New York City! Unlike most wealthy garden-owners, Untermyer was expertly knowledgeable about horticulture. The level of horticulture at the Untermyer Gardens was nationally famous, and some great gardeners got their training there.
His ambition for the garden was that it be not less than the "finest garden in the world."*
Articles Of Interest
* Letter, William Welles Bosworth to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Rockefeller Archive Center