Henry Hoover and student confer about a design on cover of the last Lowthorpe catalog

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…

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…

June Border at Munstead Wood

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…

Sunken garden with perennials and low boxwood hedges

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…

Selkirk Clark design for fieldstone stairs and planting beds

“Studying landscape architecture under ideal conditions”

A combination of hands-on horticulture and rigorous work at the drafting board were indeed the ideal conditions for studying landscape architecture.  Agnes Selkirk Clark ‘18 was so pleased with her Lowthorpe education that she was an enthusiastic spokeswoman for the institution for decades.   Her quote was repeated in the school catalogs, excerpted from an article…

Elsa Rehmann in 1908 upon graduation from Barnard

Elsa Rehmann Profiled Native Plant Communities 100 Years Ago

Elsa Rehmann, Class of 1911, was one of the first known Lowthorpe graduates.  At this time careers for educated women were a new concept, rather than marriage and motherhood. Yet Rehmann was able to successfully make a career by combining designing, writing, and teaching.  Meeting Edith Roberts at Vassar and observing her cutting-edge teaching landscape…

Elizabeth Leonard graduation photo Cornell 1911

A Pioneering Woman Landscape Architect’s Career

While browsing old issues of The Cornell Countryman, I discovered what is probably Lowthorpe faculty member Elizabeth Leonard Strang’s first published article.  The Cornell College of Agriculture’s monthly magazine included it in December 1909.  She graduated from the new four-year Outdoor Art Program in February 1910 and became a pioneering woman landscape architect. Entitled “Landscape…