Coincidental Meetings Between Creative People Shaped Lowthorpe Students

It’s incredible how coincidental meetings between creative people like Fletcher Steele, Henry B. Hoover, and Mabel Choate resulted in memorable landscapes and influenced Lowthorpe students. Fletcher Steele This man was associated with Lowthorpe in multiple capacities from 1915-45.  As befitting a Harvard-trained landscape architect, he worked briefly for the Olmsted office.  He then established his…

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Mrs. Low’s Scrapbook Highlights Farmerette Preparation at Lowthorpe

I’m intrigued by three yellowed clippings pasted on adjoining pages in Mrs. Low’s scrapbook that highlight farmerette preparation.  Dating from 1917, we see “Women to Study Farming Methods – Special Course to be Offered at Lowthorpe This Summer,” “Trained Women Needed on Farms – Mrs. Thayer Believes Emergency Will be Met in New England,” and…

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Jekyll Influence Evident at Lowthorpe and in Work of Graduate Landscape Architects

The influence of Gertrude Jekyll, the opinionated but highly-respected doyenne of British garden design from the 1890s through the 1930s, is evident at Lowthorpe and in the work of its graduate landscape architects.  The Lowthorpe library contained eight of Jekyll’s books.  They are now housed at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which eventually…

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Americans Emulate British Horticultural Colleges for Women

The American fascination with British garden styles and trends extended to the early years of the Lowthorpe School. There is an unsubstantiated rumor that Judith Eleanor Motley Low, the founder of the Lowthorpe School, attended a women’s horticultural college in England. She may have visited at least one such school, perhaps inspiring her to create…

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Glass lantern slides key tool for student recruiting

Mrs. Cyrus Winslow Merrell (Nellie Dryden Merrell) was the President of Lowthorpe School for several years in the mid-1920s.  She was also a Garden Club of America member from Connecticut and wrote articles about the school for the GCA’s Bulletin.  Clubwomen at the time usually referred to themselves using their husbands’ names.  That organization organized…

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Glass lantern slides used extensively in Lowthorpe classrooms

Glass lantern slides were used extensively in Lowthorpe classrooms. Students learned plant identification, design principles, and basic garden history during slide lectures.  How bright and colorful the glass lantern slides must have seemed!  Some were labeled with the name of an estate or garden owner, while others were completely unlabeled. A glass lantern slide is…

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Glass Lantern Slides Bring Lowthorpe Gardens to Life

The use of glass lantern slides as visual aids was very important in Lowthorpe classrooms, especially in garden design and history courses.  Technology at the time allowed the slide to be dropped into a wooden and metal “magic lantern” projector aimed at a screen.  The slides were realistic hand-tinted glass pieces and have an ethereal…

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Strong Lowthorpe Presence in House Beautiful magazine, June 1927

It’s so much fun to comb through the garden magazines of yesteryear.  The advertisements alone are priceless!  We can learn about an era simply by paging through an issue. The June 1927 House Beautiful caught my eye because it’s packed with writing by Lowthorpe School graduates and faculty.  The Colonial Revival style was “it” for…

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Lowthorpe Featured in March 1916 House Beautiful Magazine

Lead photograph in the article, House Beautiful, March 1916. A long feature article on Lowthorpe School appeared in the March 1916 issue of House Beautiful.  Black and white photographs of the school and its students were included.  Modern readers get a glimpse of the hands-on classes at work in the greenhouse and the perennial border. …

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