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Breaking Ground: American Women
Landscape Pioneers

This lecture series tells the fascinating story of three landscape designers who transformed the wealth of the Gilded Age into timeless American landscapes and became leading figures in a profession dominated by men. Each talk will introduce one of these enterprising women's iconic landscapes and include a visit to see her contributions to the Garden's landscape.

Three Wednesdays: May 21, June 4, June 18, 10 a.m.—12 p.m.
Ross Hall
The New York Botanical Garden

Each lecture: Member $10/Non-Member $20
Series: Member $27/Non-Member $54


"The Dean of Women Landscape Architects" spent her youth on frontier outposts before her family moved East. After her marriage to Louis Shipman, she took up residence at the Cornish Art Colony (N.H.) and began creating Colonial Revival gardens. By 1920, Shipman had established a thriving practice in New York City. Among her 600 gardens, her notable projects are Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. Includes a visit to NYBG's Ladies' Border, designed by Shipman in the 1930s and re-designed by Lynden Miller in 2001.

Lynden B. Miller is a public garden designer in New York City who was trained as a painter and studied horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden before beginning her public career. Based on her belief that good public open spaces can change city life, she has designed many gardens and parks in all five boroughs since 1982 and is the author of Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape. At the garden, she is the designer of the Perennial Garden and the Ladies' Border.


The only female founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Farrand was born in New York City, and studied horticulture with Charles Sprague Sargent, director of the Arnold Arboretum. Through her social connections, she received major estate commissions and developed a reputation for an elegant style and rich architectural detail. While Farrand completed more than 110 gardens—including projects for the White House and The Morgan Library—her most notable surviving works are Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Maine; and the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at NYBG. Includes a visit to the Rockefeller Rose Garden.

Judith B. Tankard is a landscape historian specializing in British and American gardens. She is the author of eight books, including Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes and The Gardens of Ellen Biddle Shipman. She has taught at the Landscape Institute at Harvard University and was a board member of the Beatrix Farrand Society for 10 years. In 2013 she organized a seminar on the preservation of Farrand's gardens. in 2000 she was awarded a Gold Medal by the Massachusetts Horticultural society.


After graduating from MIT with a degree in landscape architecture in 1904, Coffin established a successful landscape design practice in New York City. Her clients included some of America's most distinguished families, including the Fricks, Vanderbilts, Huttons, and du Ponts. An astute businesswoman who insisted on the same fees as her male counterparts, she designed over 50 significant estate gardens in the Northeast and was recognized for her refined and elegant work, including the gardens of Winterthur. Includes a visit to NYBG's Benenson Ornamental Conifers, designed by Coffin in the 1940s.

Mac Griswold, journalist and cultural landscape historian, is the author of numerous articles and three prize-winning books of garden history. Her book about Shelter Island, The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island, was published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in July 2013. It will be available in paperback from Picador in April 2014. "Gardens and Landscapes never lie," she says, "they always tell you something about their makers and their times."


Women and the City: From a Landscape Perspective

Cities are the grand challenge of the 21st century, and for over 100 years, women have played a crucial, if under-celebrated, role in shaping and adapting our urban spaces. Award-winning author and landscape historian Thaisa Way, ASLA, leads a fascinating session with four experts in landscape scholarship and practice that examines the ways women have influenced how we look at – and live in – the modern city. Panelists are Mary Woods, Sonja Dümpelmann, Linda Jewell, and Susannah C. Drake.

Support provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


Additional support provide by The Kurt Berliner Foundation, E.H.A. Foundation, Inc., and Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc.