The Danforth Butterfly Garden was dedicated on October 10, 1996, in memory of Elizabeth "Ibby" Gray Danforth. The garden was designed by June Hutson, the outdoor project coordinator at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The main contributor towards the garden was the Women's Club at Washington University, who were invloved in all parts of the development process, from original designs to physical planting.
The garden was created for three purposes: give honor to "Ibby" Danforth, have a quiet relaxing place on campus, and provide food for butterflies. The garden provides food plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies.
Elizabeth Danforth was the University's first lady from 1971 to 1995 when her husband, William H. Danforth, served as chancellor. During that time, Elizabeth Danforth exhibited a generous commitment to students. In addition to the Butterfly Garden, Danforth House, and a Women's Society scholarship. There is also the William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholars Program, which makes scholarships available for students in each of the University's schools, was established in their honor in 1995.