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The education of Jane Silverstein Ries at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, Groton, Massachusetts, 1928-1932

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Title:
The education of Jane Silverstein Ries at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, Groton, Massachusetts, 1928-1932
Creator:
Thomas, Jennifer Lynn
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Language:
English
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xvi, 149 leaves : ; 28 cm

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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 138-149).
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jennifer Lynn Thomas.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
606828836 ( OCLC )
ocn606828836
Classification:
LD1193.A735 2009m T46 ( lcc )

Full Text
THE EDUCATION OF JANE SILVERSTEIN RIES AT THE
/ /
W
LOWTHORPE SCHOOL OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
FOR WOMEN, GROTON, MASSACHUSETTS, 1928-1932
by
Jennifer Lynn Thomas
B.A., University of Oregon, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
College of Architecture and Planning
2009


by Jennifer Lynn Thomas
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Landscape Architecture
degree by
Jennifer Lynn Thomas
has been approved
by
Ann E. Komara
Date


Thomas, Jennifer Lynn (M.L.A., College of Architecture and Planning)
The Education of Jane Silverstein Ries at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape
Architecture for Women, Groton, MA, 1928-1932
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Ann E. Komara
ABSTRACT
The Boston area was an important professional and educational milieu for
landscape architecture during the 1920s and 1930s. Many students who sought
professional training flocked to Massachusetts for their schooling. Within the Boston
area, women had two key institutional optionsthe Lowthorpe School of Landscape
Architecture for Women in Groton, Massachusetts and the Cambridge School of
Domestic Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Cambridge. Both schools were
firmly connected to the exclusively male Harvard University graduate program in
landscape architecture through shared instructors and similar design pedagogy, yet
each school had distinct programs. The Lowthorpe School emphasized horticultural
knowledge in its landscape architecture curriculum while the Cambridge School
focused on rigorous architecturally oriented training in its program.
In 1928, Denver native Jane Silverstein Ries began her landscape architecture
education at the Lowthorpe School. After graduating in 1932, she launched a private
practice that spanned more than 50 years in the Denver area. After her death in 2005,
her papers were bequeathed to the Denver Public Library. Included in the collection
were numerous Lowthorpe assignments. By examining key assignments Ries
completed in their broader Boston area educational milieu, important pedagogical
connections emerge between the Lowthorpe School, other contemporary landscape
architecture education programs and existing professional practices. In turn, their
influence on Jane Silverstein Ries perceptions regarding design and horticulture is
also evident. Exploring select Ries assignments like horticulture class exams, specific
drawings, her Landscape Exchange Problem submissions and senior thesis in the
broader context of institutional and individual instructor ideologies provides
historiographic insight into the importance of Lowthorpe as a landscape architecture
design school. Pedagogical relationships between the three schools of the Lowthorpe
School, the Cambridge School and Harvard University are revealed. These
relationships benefitted Ries and other Lowthorpe students enormously by providing
an education that was similar yet distinct from the other two schools and many
enduring professional connections to important practitioners. The horticultural and


design lessons learned at Lowthorpe shaped Ries's practice. This paper argues that
Lowthorpe and Ries asserted significant influences in their respective spheres.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Ann E. Komara


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to Jane Silverstein Ries, Judith Eleanor Motley (a.k.a. Mrs.
Edward Gilchirst Low), to all the women who attended the Lowthorpe School from
1902-1945, to all the instructors who taught there, and to all of the former employees
of Jane Silverstein Ries. They inspired and surprised me throughout the process.
This is their history.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I want to thank my thesis chair, Associate Professor Ann E. Komara, and my
other committee members, Assistant Professor Joem Langhorst and Assistant
Professor Dr. Thai'sa Way (University of Washington, Seattle) for their guidance,
encouragement, insight, inspiration and patience during this project. I would also like
to thank Associate Professor Dr. Austin Allen for the many conversations of
encouragement as I struggled through this process.
Much of my research and work would not have been possible without the
financial support and recognition from the following organizations: the Jane
Silverstein Ries Foundation Student Scholarship (2007); the Department of
Landscape Architecture, University of Colorado Denver; the Garden Club of
Americas Scholarship and Internship in Garden History and Design (2007); and the
Brandes Foundation Scholarship for Graduate Students in Landscape Architecture
(2008).
I would like to extend a special thanks to the Garden Club of America and the
Archives of American Gardens (AAG) at the Smithsonian Institution for my
internship in Washington D.C. during the summer of 2007. It was an incredible
experience. The four hours of independent research a week allotted enabled me to
root out resources from the Smithsonian Institutions Botany and Horticulture Library
(especially from the complete collection of the Garden Club of Americas Bulletins)
and the Library of Congress. It was especially fun to discover the four Lowthorpe
glass lantern slides in the AAG collection and correct their attribution. Working with
Beth Page, Paula Healy and especially Joyce Connolly was a privilege.
I also need to acknowledge Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
Daniel W. Krall, Director of Graduate Studies in Landscape Architecture at Cornell
University. Who knew that one little assignment in his 2002 seminar Women
Professionals in Early Landscape Architecture would lead me down this path of
obsession regarding Jane Silverstein Ries and the Lowthorpe School! Thanks Dan, I
think (wink, wink).
There is a multitude of other people and institutions that were gracious with
helping me obtain useful information regarding Lowthorpe and Jane Silverstein Ries.
Librarian Susanne Olson at the Groton Public Library was relentless in helping me
search for genealogical information on Judith Eleanor Motley and Laura Dawson.
Sister Yvette Laderantaye, Principal of the Country Day School of the Holy Union in
Groton, and Sister Rita Beaudoin, archivist for the Holy Union, were generous in
correspondence and gracious with giving me access and a tour of the former
Lowthorpe School buildings and grounds. Seeing the inside of the Prescott House
and the former Dormitory was such a treat. Sister Rita Beaudoin shared archival
materials and sent periodic emails of encouragement. Thank you.
Groton based Preservation Consultant Sanford Johnson deserves special
recognition as well. He completed the Building and Area Surveys for the Prescott
House and the Lowthorpe grounds for the Massachusetts Historical Commission. He


has been especially helpful and inspirational to my work. He asked many detailed,
tough questions that truly helped clarify facts regarding my understanding of
Lowthorpe history and the landscape grounds. He was also very generous in sharing
information he discovered in his research. I would not have the breadth of knowledge
regarding the Lowthorpe campus without this ongoing exchange. Thank you
Sanford! I also want to thank Bobbie Spiegelman and the Groton Historical Society
for including my poster The Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for
Women. Groton. MA. 1901-1945: An Overlooked Cultural Landscape in Need of
Awareness and Preservation in a 2009 GHS exhibition. I am thrilled to be sharing my
work with people interested in this research.
Related to the above-mentioned poster, I need to thank Dr. Thomas J. Noel
and Dr. Christopher Koziol for letting me follow my passion about the Lowthorpe
grounds in their historic preservation classes, even though it was not a Colorado
project. That freedom enabled me to understand the history to a depth unattainable
by other means.
The Rhode Island School of Design Archives has been an invaluable resource
in this project. Archivist Andrew Martinez was especially helpful. The entire staff is
so enthusiastic about sharing their collection; their enthusiasm is infectious. I would
like to thank them for putting me in contact with others who are also conducting
Lowthorpe research, most notably Professor Emeritus Baruch Kirschenbaum (RISD,
Art History). Professor Kirschenbaum has worked tirelessly with the glass lantern
slide collection at the RISD Archives. I have enjoyed our ongoing correspondence. I
want to thank both he and architectural historian Elizabeth Grossman for their
generosity in inviting me to stay with them during my visit to Providence in October
2008. It was such a pleasure to visit, see the exhibit Professor Kirschenbaum curated,
and listen to his lecture regarding the glass lantern slide collection. Thank you both!
Many people in Denver have helped me ferret out details related to Jane
Silverstein Riess work and life story. The Denver Public Library and Senior
Librarian/Archivist Ellen Zazzarino have been especially helpful. I would also like to
acknowledge archivist Abby Haverstock. Working with both of these women and
Cathe Mitchell in selecting pieces for the exhibit Jane Silverstein Ries 0909-2005):
Retrospective of a Colorado Landscape Architect (February 6 May 20, 2009) was so
much fun. It was an honor and privilege to be included.
Cathe Mitchell went well above and beyond generous with sharing
information about Jane Silverstein Ries. We have had many, many conversations and
she has been incredible about sharing her collection of JSR ephemera. Lending me
her JSR Binder saved me countless hours of research and made the biographical
portion of this thesis much stronger. She also gave me editorial comments on the
biography section, for which I am deeply grateful. Thank you Cathe.
Ellen Anderman generously granted me an interview and tour of Riess
seminal and largely extant Anderman Residence design. During this meeting she
relating facts and stories with wit, humor and allegro-like rapidness. I wish my tape
recorder had not broken! She also lent me four original drawings. It is so
encouraging to see a Ries design preserved in situ. Thank you Ms. Anderman.


I need to thank several friends for putting up with my insanity during this
multi-year (never-ending?) thesis project. Rori Knudtson (MFA, MArch) has been
nothing but supportive and encouraging in conversations about our struggles with
writing, research and the creative process. I am grateful she included my experience
about my mothers passing in her MArch thesis project, the 2007 film/installation
Collective Mourning, which examines how we relate to and perceive surroundings
spatially during the grieving process. Electra Fowler (MArch, MUD) you have been
a source of inspiration and amusement in that kaleidoscope-like personality and mind
of yours! You also helped me reconnect to what was important in life when I started
veering off course. Kristy Wasserbach Bruce (MLA) was my thesis cohort and
partner in crime. I cannot imagine this process without your parallel journey,
struggles and triumph with your thesis Bridging Phytoremediation Technology and
Cultural Design in the Landscape to Create Healthier Communities in India.
I extend gratitude to my father, Richard Thomas and my stepmother, Evelyn
Thomas, for taking me on (what I thought at the time was) long, boring road trips
during my childhood. Are we there yet? Gaaaawd... It is only through an adult lens
that I am realizing their profound impact on my perceptions of the American
landscape, especially in the west.
Lastly, I would like to thank University of Colorado Associate Professor of
Architecture, Dr. Taisto H. Makela for calling me an archive rat humorously during
one of my early presentations. It is a moniker I fully embrace.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures........................................................... xi
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.................................................... 1
2. BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF JANE SILVERSTEIN RIES........................23
3. JULIA JANE SILVERSTEIN AND THE LOWTHORPE
SCHOOL OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE FOR
WOMEN, 1928-1932............................................... 55
School News: Lowthorpe and Cambridge
Need to Expand.............................................. 55
Student Trajectory in Certificate Program:
A Brief Explanation......................................... 62
Influential Lowthorpe Instructors: Foundational Figures
In Landscape Architecture Education......................... 66
Laura Dawson (1891-1930): A Family and
Educational Connection Between Arnold
Arboretum and Lowthorpe.............................. 72
Elsa Rehmann: Instilling Ecology and Native
Plant Use Ideologies................................. 76
Elizabeth Leonard Strang (1886-1948):
Woman Practitioner as Role Model..................... 79
Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee (1893-1991):
Smaller Scale Residential Focus...................... 82
Stanley Hart White (1871-1979):
Instructor, Education Leader, Co-Creator
of Landscape Exchange Problems....................... 87
x


Senior Thesis: Fictional Gringamore Castle, Denver, Co.101
4. CONCLUSION...............................................135
5. BIBLIOGRAPHY.............................................138
xi


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Cambridge School campus at 53 Church Street in Cambridge, MA.
Source: December 1928 Cambridge School Alumnae Bulletin (as
illustrated in Mary Pope Furrs ML A thesis, Figure 22)............22
1.2 Lowthorpe School campus plan, from the 1942-44 school
catalogue. Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
Records, 1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence..........................................................22
2.1 Eva and Julia Jane Silverstein, ca. 1910, JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library............ 46
2.2 Page 46 of the 1933 American Society of Landscape Architects
Illustrations of Work of Members book, featuring design by
McCrary, Culley & Carhart...........................................46
2.3 Ries (L), Janet Wheelock (C), and Julia Andrews (R) in the
office at Ries home, 737 Franklin Street, Denver ca. 1950s.
Photographer: Seymour Wheelock. Courtesy of the private
papers of Cathe Mitchell. Also in the JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library..............47
2.4 Plan and section for the General Electric Demonstration House,
1936. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library.......................................... 47
2.5 Harry Jr. (a.k.a. Pete) and Jane Silverstein, 1940s. Source:
JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library..................................................... 48
2.6 Jane drafting in USCG uniform. Courtesy of the private papers
of Cathe Mitchell. Also in the JSR Papers, WH1785, Western
History Collection, The Denver Public Library...................... 48
2.7 Henry and Jane Ries, 1953. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.............. 49
xii


2.8 Page 1 of Janes 1994 resume. Courtesy of Cathe Mitchell........ 50
2.9 Page 2 of Janes 1994 resume. Courtesy of Cathe Mitchell........ 51
2.10 Detail of Anderman residence, revised planting plan, 1960s.
Courtesy of Ellen Anderman..................................... 52
2.11 View west from eat-in-kitchen area of the Anderman Residence.
Photograph by Jenn Thomas, December 2007....................... 52
2.12 Plan for the General Electric Demonstration House, 1980s.
Drawn by Cathe Mitchell. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library........... 53
2.13 Jane and Lobo in her back garden, 1992. Source: Page 27
of Chotzinoff article in Westword, Vol. 15, No. 46,
July 15-21, 1992................................................ 54
3.1 Women on the front steps of the Prescott House at Lowthorpe,
ca. 1929. Julia Jane Silverstein is on the bottom step, furthest
right. Maybe Bobby the sheepdog in foreground? Source:
JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library................................................. 108
3.2 Lowthorpe School campus plan, from the 1942-44 school
catalogue. Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
Records, 1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence..................................................... 109
3.3 Photograph from the 1937 Lowthorpe school catalogue, page 3.
Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence..................................................... 110
3.4 Photograph from the 1943 Lowthorpe school catalogue. Source:
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence..................................................... 110
3.5 Photograph from the 1937 Lowthorpe school catalogue. Source:
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence..................................................... 110
xiii


Ill
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
118
Copy of Julia Jane Silversteins Lowthorpe Diploma, signed by
J. Eleanor Low and Frederick Kingsbury. Source: JSR Papers,
WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public
Library........................................................
Central pages from the 1928-1929 Lowthorpe school catalogue.
Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence.....................................................
Copy of graphite drawing of Enframement on trace, dated
Nov. 6, 1931. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History
Collection, The Denver Public Library..........................
Page from the 1927-1928 Lowthorpe school catalogue. Source:
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence.....................................................
Page from the 1927-1928 Lowthorpe school catalogue. Source:
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence.....................................................
Instructor Spreadsheet, created by Jennifer Lynn Thomas........
Photograph of ink, watercolor and graphite drawing A Terraced
Hillside on watercolor paper, no date. Source: JSR Papers,
WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public
Library........................................................
Photograph from the 1937-1938 Lowthorpe school catalogue.
Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records,
1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives,
Providence.....................................................
Photograph of women working on the Lowthorpe grounds. Julia
Jane Silverstein on far right. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library..........
Photograph of Elsa Rehman(n) '08, ca. 1907. From
The Mortarboard, 1908, p. 151. Courtesy of the Barnard
College Archives...............................................
xiv


3.16 Photograph of Lowthorpe perennial border, view towards the
Prescott House. Source: Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee, Little
Lessons in Landscape Design (No. 4). Horticulture: New
England Edition. No volume or issue numbers
(June 1, 1939): 264............................................... 119
3.17 Copy of watercolor, ink and graphite Landscape Exchange
drawing A Formal Public Garden on watercolor paper, no date.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library......................................... 120
3.18 Copy of ink, watercolor and graphite Landscape Exchange drawing
Details dun Chateau a Versailles on watercolor paper. Source:
JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library.................................................... 121
3.19 Photograph of ink, watercolor and graphite Landscape Exchange
drawing Plan General dun Chateau a Versailles on watercolor
paper. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History
Collection, The Denver Public Library............................. 122
3.20 A church portico: Corinthian order, Alfred J. Panepinto, 1928.
Arch. 4a, Professor Walter Bogner. Source: Anthony Alofsin,
The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture,
and City Planning at Harvard. Illustration 3.16, page 63..........123
3.21. Photograph of ink, watercolor and graphite Landscape Exchange
drawing A Summer Colony on watercolor paper. Source: JSR
Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library.................................................. 124
3.22 Photograph of ink, watercolor and graphite Landscape Exchange
drawing A Summer Colony on watercolor paper. Source: JSR
Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library.................................................. 125
3.23 Copy of ink, watercolor and charcoal Landscape Exchange
drawing Design for A Motor Inn on watercolor paper.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library....................................... 126
xv


3.24 Copy of ink, watercolor and charcoal Landscape Exchange
drawing Sketches for A Motor Inn on watercolor paper.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library....................................... 127
3.25 Photograph of Master Plan, ink, graphite and watercolor on
watercolor paper, Senior Thesis, Gringamore Castle.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library....................................... 128
3.26 Detail of Master Plan, Senior Thesis, Gringamore Castle.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection,
The Denver Public Library....................................... 129
3.27 Copy of Senior Thesis, Gringamore Castle-Architectural Details,
ink drawing on linen. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western
History Collection, The Denver Public Library................... 130
3.28 Copy of Senior Thesis, Gringamore Castle-Construction Details, ink
drawing on linen. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History
Collection, The Denver Public Library........................... 131
3.29 Copy of Senior Thesis, Gringamore Castle-Planting Plan, ink
drawing on linen. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History
Collection, The Denver Public Library........................... 132
3.30 Garden Details by A. D. Taylor. Source: Landscape Architecture.
Vol. XX, No. 3, April 1930, page 225............................ 133
3.31 Details of Construction by A. D. Taylor. Source: Landscape
Architecture, Vol. XX, No. 3, April 1930, page 222.............. 134
xvi


1. INTRODUCTION
...Societies have generated their own rules, culturally
determined, for making boundaries on the ground, and have divided
the social into spheres, levels and territories with invisible fences
and platforms to be scaled by abstract ladders and crossed by
intangible bridges with as much trepidation or exultation as on a
plank over a raging torrent...
...space reflects social organization, but of course, once
space has been bounded and shaped it is no longer merely a
neutral background: it exerts its own influence...
Shirley Ardener, The Partition of Space1
Understanding the history of how landscape architecture professionals define
themselves is fraught with ever-shifting boundaries and social constructs. A
complicated rhetorical amalgam flows through the profession as it asserts, competes
and redefines itself. Add to that mix the prevalent attitude towards women, their
perceived proper place in society and the professioncouple that with an attempt to
disassociate perceptions of effeminacies related to landscapeand you have a
burgeoning discipline struggling to assert itself via the nomenclature
professionalism. Amidst that struggle, a relatively new career niche availed itself to
women seeking a profession at the end of the 19th century, provided they pursued it in
a manner fitting their societal position. In the late 1920s Denver native Julia Jane
Silverstein decided to attend the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for
Women in Groton, Massachusetts. This paper asserts that both she and the school
exerted [their] own influence on landscape architecture in ways that, to date, have
remained largely under acknowledged in academic writings. By examining some key
1 Shirley Ardener, The Partition of Space, Gender Space Architecture: An Interdisciplinary
Introduction, eds. Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner and lain Borden (London and New York: Routledge,
2000)113.
1


assignments Ries completed at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
important connections emerge between the school, the contemporaneous professional
and educational Boston area landscape architecture milieu and their influence on Jane
Silverstein Ries perceptions regarding design and horticulture in her subsequent
career.
Upon her death in 2005, the extensive papers of landscape architect Jane
Silverstein Ries (1909-2005) were bequeathed to the Western History Collection of
the Denver Public Library. A plethora of Riess class notes and assignments resided
within the archives from her time at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture
for Women; October 1928 through May of 1932. First attempts at drafting
assignments, scraps of trace, sheets with grading calculations, preliminary plant lists
comingle with subsequent versions of plan and elevation drawings, construction
documents, grading plans and beautifully executed pen and ink drawings rendered in
watercolor. This collection holds valuable information that could illuminate a
previously unexplored subject: how a Lowthorpe student was taught and how she
had progressed while in the program.2 This was an exciting possibility because to
date, there has been almost no scholarly work written on Jane Silverstein Ries and
only one masters thesis written about the history of Lowthorpe.3 As my research
2 Jane Alison Knights 1986 Cornell University MLA thesis An Examination of the History of the
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women. Groton. Massachusetts. 1901-1945. is the
only scholarly attempt thus far at a complete history of the school. Knight discusses the history and
pedagogy of the school and utilizes student drawings from school catalogues to illustrate student work.
Additional illustrations are from alumni that responded to surveys she sent out to Lowthorpe graduates.
3 Ries practiced landscape architecture in her Denver based firm for more than 50 years and was
hugely influential in the region, yet a detailed examination of her work has yet to be written. The only
substantive piece on Ries is Don and Carolyn Etters biography on the Cultural Landscape
Foundations website, which will be featured in the upcoming book Pioneers of American Landscape
2


progressed, another important path of inquiry emergeda heretofore under-
acknowledged academic fluidity that existed between three Boston area landscape
architecture programsthe graduate school at Harvard University, the Cambridge
School of Domestic Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and the Lowthorpe
School.
Lowthorpe students like Ries benefited from this triad of interchange.
Looking at some of her assignments from these years can provide landscape
architectural historians and educators a glimpse into this pivotal time in the
profession. By examining aspects of the pedagogical structure, the roster of school
instructors and a select number of Riess responses to class assignments, the
historiography of landscape architecture education for women gains a solid insight
into a previously underrepresented topic. Although this thesis is not an exhaustive
examination of Riess Lowthorpe education or its pedagogy, it nevertheless provides
a valuable glimpse into the foundational tools she drew upon in order to create her
successful practice. She took the skills learned not as dogma but as reference for an
approach that she transformed into her own unique Jane style that became a locally
recognizable design element across the Front Range.
If you were a woman in the 1920s looking for professional landscape
architectural training in the Boston area, Harvard was not an option because it did not
admit women until 1942; Cambridge and Lowthorpe were.4 While the latter schools
Design Volume II. edited by Charles Bumbaum and Stephanie Foell. See the website
http://www.tclf.org/pioneers/profiles/ries/index.htm
4 Harvard did not admit women until 1942, the same year the Cambridge School officially closed.
Anthony Alofsin wrote in his book, The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture. Landscape
Architecture and City Planning at Harvard that, .. .This move towards accepting women was not,
however, a progressive statement but an expedience to balance the budget. With the continuation of
3


catered to the exclusive education of women and instilled similar design ideologies of
the profession as the male students received at Harvard, the two womens schools
also had distinct differences, perhaps due in part to their facilitys locations.
Cambridge, a school unofficially but firmly associated with Harvard, taught both
architecture and landscape architecture in proximity to Harvard in Cambridge;
Lowthorpe focused on landscape architecture and horticulture in the small nearby
town of Groton. In 1928, the Cambridge Schools campus was located at 52 Church
Street in an urban setting; Lowthorpes epicenter was in the historic Prescott house,
supported by several outbuildings that were nestled on approximately 17 acres with
several formal gardens.5 (See Figures 1.1 and 1.2) The Cambridge School was a
graduate program, preferring to admit women who already had undergraduate
degrees. Lowthorpe admitted a wide range of women with varying education levels
and interests.6
According to Jane Alison Knight, author Dorothy May Andersonwho has
written the most about the Cambridge School historydiscusses how students at
Cambridge were concerned that ...the schools approach was too strongly
architectural and there were various suggestions that the two schools should be
the economic restraints of the war and reductions in enrollment, Harvard...made arrangements to
absorb Cambridge School and open its own doors to women in 1942with the intention that they be
accepted only during the emergency... 176. See the same page for Harvards subsequent decision to
permanently admit women to the Graduate School of Design that same year.
5 Way notes that, ...Lowthorpe collaborated with the Cambridge School from 1925-1927 to allow
students to take advantage of both campuses. From Women as Force in Landscape Architecture.
1893-1942. diss., Cornell University, 2005, 169.
6 For example, on page 3, the 1928 Lowthorpe Summer Session catalogue states, ...The summer
courses are planned to satisfy the needs of three groups: amateurs who wish to develop their gardens
and home ground more adequately; prospective students who desire to test their inclination and ability
to undertake professional training; and lastly, students who may thus shorten the period required for
the completion of their course. Lowthorpe Collection, RISD Archives.
4


combined.7 The two schools collaborated for a brief time just before Ries attended
Lowthorpe. In the 1925-26 school year, the two schools ...jointly sponsored a seven
week summer school which was held at Groton.. ,.8 A year later .. .the two schools
jointly sponsored a three-week travel and study course to England, France and Italy
conducted by Mr. Frost and Mr. Sears from the Cambridge School.9 This
collaboration was short lived and by 1928, when Ries entered Lowthorpe, the official
Cambridge/Lowthorpe collaboration was over, although Lowthorpe continued to
conduct their summer school classes in order to take advantage of horticultural
teachings of that season.10 Subsequently, in 1928 Lowthorpe collaborated with
Simmons College to offer their students not only a certificate in landscape
architecture but an option to acquire a bachelor or master degree. This collaboration
lasted until 1934.
Ries, however, opted to follow the certificate program, which required
completing ten quarters for a diploma starting in the Fall 1928 through the Spring
1932. This certificate was sufficient to qualify Ries and other Lowthorpe graduates
for practice. Some well known Lowthorpe trained landscape architects include:
7 Knight, page 68. See also Cambridge-Lowthorpe Collaboration in Dorothy May Anderson,
Women. Design, and the Cambridge School (West Lafayette, Indiana: PDA Publishers Inc.) 39-40.
May writes, ...It was argued that Cambridge landscape students might benefit from the plant-oriented
training at Lowthorpe and that the Lowthorpe students might benefit just as much from the more
intensive architectural training at Cambridge..., page 39. Knight also uses this quote in Chapter 10
Collaboration, Curriculum and Faculty 1925-1934, 130.
8 Idem.
9 Idem.
10 For further brief discussions about summer sessions, see Knight The Lowthorpe Summer School,
73 and Visiting Instructors and Practitioners, Summer School and the Curriculum, 137-140. The
latter section briefly mentions several visiting instructors, most of whom are on the Table of Instructors
(Figure 3.11) of this paper.
5


Gertrude Deimel Kuh (17), Elizabeth Lord (29), Edith Schryver (23) and Riess
friend Edith Harrison Henderson (34) who practiced and wrote about professionally
related subjects for decades in Atlanta, Georgia.11 12 At the time, an official degree was
not required for professional practice so long as training was sufficient, through either
educational programs or apprenticeships.
Several questions arose during the broader research process: Who were some
of the instructors teaching at Lowthorpe during the years Ries attended? What other
activities and/or schools were they involved with and how did they influence the
profession and/or teaching practices? The list of permanent and visiting faculty was
large, but this paper will focus on a few key figureslike two that Ries commented
on in later interviewsElizabeth Greenleaf Pattee and Stanley White. Others, though
not specifically mentioned by Ries, played a crucial role in the formation of landscape
architectural education either exclusively at Lowthorpe (i.e. Laura Dawson) or at
Lowthorpe, Cambridge, Harvard and other schools (i.e. Elsa Rehmann, Elizabeth
Leonard Strang, Robert Swan Sturtevant and Henry Atherton Frost). Their
importance in the field of landscape architecture education coupled with their
Lowthorpe involvement deserves discussion. By looking at some of the writings and
school appointments of select instructors, it becomes clear that many taught similar
12
courses at a combination of Boston area schools.
11 Way, 168. Way comments that ...Lowthorpe graduates actively participated in the professional
community and were recognized by colleagues for their excellent program. In 1924 Lowthorpe was
listed as one of the colleges alongside the Cambridge School recognized by the ASLA Committee on
Education as having technical courses sufficiently broad and thorough to admit their graduates as
junior members of the society.
12During this time, if Lowthorpe students wanted an official college degree, either a bachelor of
science or a masters degree, collaboration with the womens school Simmons College in Boston
existed to attain such degrees. See pages 10-11 of the 1928-1929 Lowthorpe School catalogue for
6


Finding precedent for this approach of historical analysistaking one
students schoolwork as a representation of a specific time in a schools historywas
challenging. Biographies of prominent landscape architects generally discuss their
career oeuvre, mention the school attended and perhaps the prestigious instructors
who taught them as well as any postgraduate mentors that initially hired or influenced
them. This typically comprises a few brief paragraphs before launching into the
impressive breadth of their influential or innovative style present in the later career.
This makes sensemost people want to know about the design work of practitioners,
not necessarily their education. It is rare that any monograph actually shows
illustrations of a landscape architects student work, perhaps in part because of
availability. Who saves student work once a career is established? For those
historians interested in the evolution of landscape architecture education, this can be a
significant challenge.
Specific school histories provide useful information but can vary widely as to
whether or not student work is discussed or illustrated. For example, the most
complete text on Lowthorpe, Jane Alison Knights 1986 Cornell University MLA
thesis An Examination of the History of the Lowthorpe School of Landscape
Architecture for Women, Groton, Massachusetts. 1901-1945 admirably tackles the
subject. While there are several illustrations of student work in the thesis, there are
no student drawing illustrations from 1928-1932the years Ries attended
further information. Ries chose to pursue the certificate program only, so I am largely omitting a
Lowthorpe/Simmons College collaboration discussion from this thesis. See Chapter 10 of Knights
thesis Collaboration, Curriculum and Faculty: 1925-1934, pages 130-143 for a more complete
description of this alliance. Robert Swan Sturtevant was the director at Lowthorpe and at the School
of Landscape Architecture at Simmons College during this time. A further exploration of the Simmons
College program certainly deserves attention but for the purposes of this paper, it was largely a
peripheral topic.
7


Lowthorpe. Knight discusses curriculum and faculty during those years in Chapter
10 but the illustrations in the chapter (all photographs) are from a 1940 Lowthorpe
catalogue. Ms. Knight gleans information from articles and archive material and
much of her information is derived from surveys completed by alumnae and
interviews of a few Lowthorpe graduates. It is highly informative and useful,
especially since many of the respondents and interviewees are no longer living. Yet
because portions of her thesis are so reliant on those who responded to her inquiries
especially related to illustrated student workthose graduates who were at her
disposal limit the scope.
Jane Silverstein Ries was one of the survey respondents. She wrote Ms.
Knight a letter dated 30 April 1986 and included the completed survey and an article
about herself from the January/February 1982 issue of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles.
Ries was extremely excited about the thesis project, stating:
I was most delighted to receive your letter dated April 7th, about
my beloved Lowthorpe.. .It is great that someone is finally getting
to Lowthorpe history. We have tried to do something about this
before and fell by the wayside.. .Would love to get as much news
about your splendid project as soon as you have things to show
and tell.13 14
She goes on to mention her collection of drawings from 54 years of practice, but does
not specifically mention that she has numerous drawings from Lowthorpe. Knights
thesis has 91 illustrations total, 15 of which are student projects. They date from
13 Knight, Chapter 10, Collaboration, Curriculum and Faculty: 1925-1934, 130-143.
14 Personal archives of Cornell University Professor Dan Krall, Ithaca, New York. The underlining of
the word Lowthorpe in the response is reproduced here as Ries wrote it in her letter.
8


1935, 1939 and 1940. Therefore, Riess archived schoolwork is significant as it can
provide an historical link to the slightly earlier period of 1928-1932 at Lowthorpe.
Liz Decks Interpreting Classic Signature Elements for Garden Design:
Rediscovering Pacific Northwest Landscape Architects Lord & Schrvver. Salem.
Oregon (2005 MLA thesis at the University of Oregon) briefly outlines the
educational experience of two Lowthorpe graduates. In Chapter 2, Design
Influences in the Formative Years she discusses the Lowthorpe education of
Elizabeth Lord (29) and Edith Schryver (23). It appears her information for this
portion is based primarily on the archival materials of Lord and Schryver housed at
the University of Oregon library archives and Dorothy May Andersons book on the
Cambridge School, Women, Design and the Cambridge School.15 Illustrations
include Lowthorpe catalogue photographs, photographs from private collections,
notes from Edith Schryvers plants class, and three completed assignments.16 One
illustration is a Color Theory assignment by Elizabeth Lord, ca. 1926, Special
Collection 98/45 (page 19). The next is captioned Senior planting design project at
Lowthorpe School by Edith Schryver, Special Collection 98/44 (page 19). Deck
wrote:
...The gardens at Lowthorpe were influenced by British writers and
15 Liz Deck Interpreting Classic Signature Elements for Garden Design: Rediscovering Pacific
Northwest Landscape Architects Lord & Schrvver. Salem. Oregon. Masters Thesis, University of
Oregon, 2005, 31. In the footnotes on page 31, Deck mentions her sources as the archives, a private
collection and the Anderson book.
16 Deck asserts that the plant combinations lists are specifically related to the Lowthorpe School
Grounds, 20-21. It is not clear to me that they are. They could just be class notes about preferred plant
combinations not related to Lowthorpe campus plantings. I wrote Deck to clarify and she responded,
...The lists were found in the extensive class notes. I believe they actually used the plants seasonally
on the school grounds, and it is evident they used the plants lists in their planting plans (for classes and
clients). Liz Deck, e-mail to the author, 29 Sept. 2008.
9


garden designers Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson. Gertrude
Jekyll was also a watercolor artist and designed her gardens using color
theory and her own gardening experience for choosing her plant palette.
At Lowthorpe it was the hands-on experiences in the school garden and
the watercolor classes that helped establish a color palette and an exten-
sive plant list with combinations of color and texture.17
This assertion is certainly partially true, although I do not think Jekyll and Robinson
were the only influence.18 At the Rhode Island School of Design Archives, there are
three library accessions notebooks from Lowthorpe. Numerous Jekyll books are
listed but there are also books by Gifford Pinchot and Charles Sprague Sargent,
Martha Brookes Hutchensons The Spirit of the Garden. (1923), and multiple copies
of Henry Vincent Hubbard and Theodora Kimballs seminal textbook An
Introduction to the Study of Landscape Design (first published in 1917), amongst
many, many others.19 One could argue that like most schools, Lowthorpe was
utilizing a constellation of texts, many of which illustrated European based garden
traditions, to draw inspiration from and influence for their teaching methods.20
17 Deck, 18-19. I had also asked Deck about this assertion about Jekyll in my email. She responded,
...The influence of Gertude Jekyll and William Robinson was a deduction on my part. The media at
the time was adamant about G. J.s colorful and seasonal plant designs. Both designers were so
popular/influential in England. Lowthorpe students/instructors participating in travel abroad programs,
especially in England, would be influenced.
18 For a more complete discussion of the evolutionary influence of European
gardening/horticulture/botany literature on early women designers (19th century), see Chapter Two:
Amateur Gardeners to Professional Landscape Architects in Thai'sa Ways 2005 Cornell University
dissertation Women as Force in Landscape Architecture. 1893-1942. 100-194. She discusses Jekyll
on pages 107-108, plus a multitude of other authors, women and men, who promoted gardening as a
worthwhile activity for women, a cultural activity that eventually evolved later into pursuing
professional training.
19 These titles were observed in the 1933-1939 library accession book that was on display in October of
2008 during the RISD Archives exhibit Lowthorpe Rediscovered, curated by R1SD Art History
Professor Emeritus Baruch Kirschenbaum. A complete listing of the remaining Lowthorpe library
collection housed at the RISD Archives can be accessed at: http://librarv.risd.edu/. Enter Lowthorpe
Collection in the search field and approximately 470 items should pop up.
20 There are also a significant number of Lowthorpe glass lantern lecture slides housed in the RISD
Archives. There are several New England and specifically Massachusetts gardens featured (many
10


The last assignment Deck illustrated was entitled Watercolor and plan by
Edith Schryver while attending Lowthorpe School, Special Coll. 98 (page 22).
Schryvers title on the piece is Design for City Back-Yard Garden which shows a
presentation plan, construction plan, and three elevation drawings above the plans.
This board layout combination was typical schoolwork for the time, a format style
that continued while Ries was at Lowthorpe a few years later.
Both the Cambridge School and Harvard Universitys landscape architecture
programs, unlike Lowthorpe, have had the benefit of published books and articles
celebrating their schools histories. Dorothy May Andersons 1980 book Women.
Design and the Cambridge School is the most widely referenced source for the
history of the Cambridge School. Part memoir, part school history, the book weaves
together personal memories from the author and fellow alumnae, archival materials
like letters, school catalogues and photographs to convey the story of the school. It
focuses more on the people and the school and less on the student work given that
there are no assignments illustrated. Illustrations of student work are also absent in
two other articles Anderson wrote about Cambridge.21 22 Yet without Andersons
written work, the Cambridge School might be suffering a similar academic obscurity
22
as Lowthorpe.
designed by women like Agnes Selkirk Clark, Ellen Shipman and Jekyll), plus several photographs of
the Lowthorpe grounds. English and Italian garden slides heavily populate the collection, perhaps
remnants of the history courses. Several slides also had labels that state M.I.T. Arch. Dept.
21 See The Cambridge School: An Extraordinary Professional Education. Architecture: A Place For
Women. Ed. Ellen Perry Berkeley and assoc, ed. Matilda McQuaid. Washington and London:
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. 87-98, and Womens Breakthrough via the Cambridge School.
Landscape Architecture. (March 1978): 145-148.
22 There is also a 1995 University of Virginia MLA thesis on the Cambridge School by Mary Pope
Furr entitled The purpose... is to train women: The Academic Program of the Cambridge School of
Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 1915-1942. See bibliography.
11


A fair amount has been written about the evolution of landscape architecture
education at Harvard University over the years. The school has produced many
stellar practitioners and educators and many consider its program the pinnacle of
graduate level education in landscape architecture. Two authors in particular were
the main Harvard history sources for this paperMelanie Simo and Anthony Alofsin.
Simos book The Coalescing of Different Forces and Ideas: A History of Landscape
Architecture at Harvard, 1900-1999 serves as a concise chronological evolution of
instructors, chairmen, guiding ideologies, and well known graduates of the Harvard
program. It is a veritable whos who of the 20th century landscape architecture at
Harvard, with a particularly helpful directory of graduates towards the back of the
book. Several photographic portraits of founders and education innovators, plus a
few photographs of famous practitioners projects, subtly grace the pages of the main
text. It lacks, however, any illustrations of student work, even when discussing
pedagogical issues, a point that Anthony Alofsin makes in his review of the book:
...[Massing from this comprehensive treatment is the student work
itself, which is neither analyzed nor illustrated. Presenting the re-
lationships among programs, curricula, and student work could have
shown another kind of success and failure, along with the problematic
relationships among ambition and results, theory and practice. Forty
percent of the book is devoted to a directory of alumni. Though the
directory creates a historical record, the space could have been better
used for an integrated discussion of student projects, and the alumni
directory put on a web site.23 24
231 derived most of the Harvard degree dates for the relevant Lowthorpe instructors from Simos
directory.
24 Anthony Alofsin, Review of The Coalescing of Different Forces and Ideas: A History of Landscape
Architecture at Harvard. 1900-1999. by Melanie Simo, The Journal of the Society of Architectural
Historians 60:1 (March 2001): 104.
12


It is no surprise that Alofsin articulated this critique because his subsequent
book The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture. Landscape Architecture and City
Planning at Harvard skillfully utilizes illustrations of student work to discuss the
schools history. Like Simo, he elaborates on the ebb and flow of the conflicted
collaboration between the three disciplines at Harvardarchitecture, landscape
architecture and city planning and organizes it chronologically. Yet, as the books
title implies, notions of modernism vie for attention and struggle to be articulated in
design curriculum. The student work shown is particularly valuable here because it
serves as the contemporary comparative equivalent for assignments done at
Lowthorpe. One might argue that the student work of these three schools reflect the
national educational standard of the fledgling profession. While this paper excludes
examining other schools student work outside of the Boston area in order to limit the
scope, perhaps a future detailed examination of the landscape exchange problems
could address a fuller understanding of educational focus present on a national level
at each landscape architecture school.
This thesis also excludes a lengthy contextual discussion of the challenges
faced by women entering the profession of landscape architecture during this time.
In reviewing articles and interviews about Ries and having conversations with former
Ries employees, it becomes clear that this was an issue largely dismissed by Ries.
Even if she came up against gender related restrictions during her career, she brushed
such notions aside, preferring to discuss her work and issues related to land
stewardship in the Front Range region. Work was her passion and mission. Forging
13


ahead undaunted, she was involved in local, regional and national organizations and
issues that focused on professional challenges facing landscape architecture.
With this caveat stated, some of the significant scholarship that addresses the
historic avenues and challenges related to women in the profession and their
landscape architectural education must be highlighted. A review of the tangentially
relevant fall 1994 edition of Landscape Journal (Vol. 13, No. 2), which focuses on
various perspectives about women in the profession of landscape architecture, has
been omitted here for the sake of brevity and in favor of writings more concisely
pertinent to this paper. Thai'sa Ways 2005 Cornell University dissertation Women as
Force in Landscape Architecture. 1893-1942 was an invaluable resource. It
contextualizes the professions formative historic milieu to a depth unattainable in the
briefer forum of this thesis and deftly outlines the professional heritage in which Ries
was immersed as she embarked on her training. Chapter Two: Amateur Gardeners
to Professional Landscape Architects is particularly helpful as it discusses,
...women turning] a domestic diversion into a profession, ...[defining] a golden
age of women in the field... reached in the 1920s and 30s.25 Way also discusses
how the profession and schools were in a period of transition where the Beaux Arts
tradition and the Country Place Era were slowly giving way to the ideologies of
Modernism, although architecture engaged Modernism more easily than landscape
architecture initially did.
Donna Palmers 1976 North Carolina State University MLA thesis An
Overview of the Trends. Eras, and Values of Landscape Architecture in America
23 Way, 31. Here she is quoting Catherine R. Brown and Celia Newton Maddoxs article, Women and
the Land: A Suitable Profession, Landscape Architecture. 72, no. 3 (May, 1982): 65.
14


from 1910 to the Present with an Emphasis on the Contributions of Women to the
Profession discusses the professions evolution as reflected in the development of
Landscape Architecture magazine though the decades. Chapter III, Period of
Growing Pains focuses on the 1920s and 30s, describing the initial 1920s fascination
with recreation parks and the debates raging about professional and educational
definitions for landscape architecture. She highlights the American Garden Club
movement and its influence. This chapter also highlights several contemporary
practicing women like Elizabeth Leonard Strang (p. 33), Mary P. Cunningham (p.34),
Martha Brookes Hutchenson (p. 34) and Lowthorpes two-year director after the
departure of Robert Swan Sturtevant, Anne Baker (p. 37-38.).26 In the appendix,
Palmer included ten transcripts of interviews she conducted in 1976 with influential
women practitioners. These interviewees wereEdith Henderson, Darwina Neal,
Carol Johnson, Jane Silverstein Ries, Margaret Winters, Dorothea Harrison,
Geraldine Knight Scott, Miriam Rutz, Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee, and Dorothy May
Anderson.27
One cannot discuss contemporaneous issues related to women seeking
professional training during this era without referencing the 1928 publication Women
in Architecture and Landscape Architecture by Henry Atherton Frost and William
26 Donna Palmer, An Overview of the Trends. Eras, and Values of Landscape Architecture in America
from 1910 to the Present with an Emphasis on the Contributions of Women to the Profession. Masters
Thesis, North Carolina State University, 1976, 37-38. Palmer is quoting about the two year tenure
(dates not specified) from Ms. Bakers obituary in ASLA Notes, Landscape Architecture. 40.1
(October 1949): 34. John A. Parker took over as director after Baker, until Lowthorpe closed in 1945.
Jane Alison Knight also states in her thesis that .The Directorship was taken over by Miss Anne
Baker at the beginning of the fall term in 1932..., 77.
27 The four highlighted names are important figures to this paper and their interviews will be discussed
at various points throughout.
15


28
Richard Sears. Arguments abounded in the American Society of Landscape
Architects and the professional schools as to whether or not women were well suited
for such a rigorous profession. This document reflects some of the major
conflicting attitudes within the profession at that time by explaining that women were
well suited to practice landscape architecture because of their understanding of its
application to the domestic realm. Yet Frost and Sears also imply that women should
largely stick to that genre, which was the prevalent opinion and challenge women
faced as they entered the profession during this time. The booklet also belabors the
definition of the profession of landscape architecture in general, for the uninitiated, by
stating, ...a proper understanding is less apparent but the appreciation of its service
is increasing in an encouraging manner. Landscape architecture was gaining
visibility and the need of its services was becoming more apparent, but the role of
women within the profession continued to be an ongoing debate.
Yet what is most striking in reading the Frost and Sears document in the
context of Jane Silverstein Riess career is not the sometimes-inflammatory rhetoric
utilized to describe the capabilities and challenges faced by women in the profession
as perceived by these two menbut rather that her education and career arcs
followed closely the overall suggestions outlined by the two men: .. .If.. .a student
has had a good preparatory school training, a college course, three years or more of
professional study and either one trip abroad of fair duration, or several shorter trips, 28 29
28 Henry Atherton Frost and William Richard Sears. Women in Architecture and Landscape
Architecture. (Northampton, Mass.: Smith College, 1928).
29 Ibid, 14-16. Clarification of the professions scope is offered by quoting the Official Register of
Harvard Universitys School of Landscape Architecture [Vol. XXIV, No. 27, June 8, 1927].
16


she is ready for office practice.30 They claim every young professional, regardless
of gender, must apprentice in a larger firm before opening their own office. Although
Ries chose to pursue a diploma certificate at Lowthorpe in lieu of an accredited
undergraduate degree, she traveled extensively throughout her career, worked at the
office of family friend (and Harvard graduate) Irwin McCrary when she first returned
to Denver and then opened her own practice one which initially focused on small
residential (a.k.a. domestic) designs.31
Linking womens training to a more domestic sphere, i.e. estate and smaller
residential design, seemed to make women practitioners more palatable to the male
dominated profession. Even though there were two female founding members of the
ASLABeatrix Jones Farrand and Elizabeth Bullardand women were
increasingly participating professionally in larger education, design, planning and
urban projects, strong sentiments persisted in some that woman practitioners were
marginally relevant at best and should they choose to pursue this career, they should
30 Ibid, 21.
31 See Jane Silverstein Ries, Interview with Joanne Barbarick Sender, ASLA, at the National ASLA
Conference in Indianapolis, IN. Spirited Surprises. Prod., Ed., Narr. John Robert Russell, Professor
Emeritus, Ball State University. Videocassette. Muncie: Ball State University Instructional Media
Services, 1983. She mentions several countries visited, the most recent (then) being gardens in China.
A more complete discussion of the role McCrary played in Riess career is discussed in the brief
biography section of this thesis.
It is also interesting to note that Frost and Sears wax romantically about the professional
benefits of gypsy like wandering travel, yet there is no mention of the means with which women were
supposed to travel. It was not proper for women to travel alone in the late 1920s. Lowthorpe, the
Cambridge School and others offered guided summer travel opportunities for young women at the
time. In 1927 Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver became friends on a European garden tour sponsored
by Lowthorpe and the Cambridge School. See Deck, The 1927 European Trip, 24-26. For other
school sponsored tours, see School News sections of Landscape Architecture magazines from 1928-
1932.
The coveted American Academy in Rome Prize was not open to women. It was.. .required
that they be men, under the age of 30, and unmarried. See Way, footnote 447, page 187. In 1932 the
Garden Club of Americaa womens organizationsponsored a fellowship competition in landscape
architecture for the American Academy in Rome. Again only men were eligible for this competition.
See School News, Landscape Architecture 22.4 (July 1932): 331.
17


stick to more domestic projects. Arguments at Harvard, as well as within the
ASLA, and other schools focused on the need to firmly assert landscape architecture
as a fine art, similar to architecture, and move away from the associations with the
disciplines of ornamental horticulture and botany. For some, but certainly not all
men, women seeking an education in this field seemed to throw a thorn into the side
of those wishing to assert dogmatic parameters for the profession as it related to
gender. Women were overly facile scapegoats for some, in retrospecttheir
perceived professional inferiority was contributing to the partial ruination of
professional rigor, allegedly.
In order to analyze the complicated dynamic that was influencing this milieu,
this paper employs a post structuralist interpretation based on Michel Foucaults
essay, The Order of Discourse as the methodological lens to supplement the
primary and secondary source archival research from the Denver Public Library and
the Rhode Island School of Design.32 33 Editor Robert Young wrote in the introduction
to Untying the Text: A Post-Structuralist Reader that, .. .for Foucault [the essay]
meant a move towards the analysis of the relation between knowledge and power, at
the level of social practices within the functioning of specific discursive/institutional
apparatuses.34 Lowthorpes limited presence in landscape architecture
32
See Ann E. Komara, The Glass Wall: Gendering the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Studies in the Decorative Arts 8.1 (2000): 22-30. Komara discusses the historic terminology debates
in the profession and the linking of women and domesticity with less than professional nomenclature.
See also Chapters 1 and 2 of Ways dissertation for an in-depth discussion of some of these issues.
33 Michel Foucault, The Order of Discourse, Untying the Text: A Post-Structuralist Reader ed.
Robert Young (Boston, London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981) 48-78.
34 Robert Young, introduction, Untying the Text: A Post-Structuralist Reader ed. Robert Young
(Boston, London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981) 10.
18


historiography needs to be examined through a much broader lens than mere gender
related challenges of the day; it is also about hierarchical structural codes of
institutional power that have been perpetuated by and influences on some of the
biographic and historiographic narratives.
...This will to truth, like the other systems of exclusion, rests on an
institutional support: it is both reinforced and renewed by whole strata
of practices, such as pedagogy, of course; and the system of books,
publishing, libraries; learned societies in the past and laboratories now.
But it is also renewed, no doubt more profoundly, by the way in which
knowledge is put to work, valorized, distributed, and in a sense attributed,
in a society... 5
In other words, the landscape architecture program at Harvard was the
epicenter of the evolving Boston area educational and professional milieu. Harvard
excluded women from admission but several of their instructors chose to circumvent
this rule by teaching at the womens schools of Cambridge, Lowthorpe and Simmons
College.35 36 The womens schools provided a high caliber education that was separate
yet similar to the sanctioned institution of primacy Harvard. It is not easy to deduce
how similarly or differently the men versus women students were taught. When one
compares student work submitted to the Landscape Exchange problems, however, it
appears that students, regardless of gender, were responding in similar ways to design
and illustration problems. This implies is a hierarchical structural influence rather
than just gendered cultural conditions. Foucaults metaphorical cartographic eye
brings clarity to the murkiness present in the covert machinations that veil the
complicated institutional dynamics. ...Discourses must be treated as discontinuous
35 Foucault, 55.
36 This will be discussed in detail in the subsequent section on instructors below.
19


practices, which cross each other, are sometimes juxtaposed with one another, but can
just as well exclude or be unaware of each other.37 More landscape architecture
history scholarship is needed to decipher the extent to which the three institutions fit
into the larger professional context that informed, augmented and concealed their
interrelatedness. Inclusion and exclusion was neither wholly conscious nor a result of
professional and institutional derisive intent; rather, it was and is historic
circumstances that continue to be perpetuated.
Even if Lowthorpe has been largely overlooked as an important institution in
many landscape architectural history discourses, having this interrelated exchange
amongst the three schools in fact augmented the educational cachet of Lowthorpe and
the Cambridge School via Harvards association. The scale of acknowledgement
needs to be shifted from one of perpetual marginalization to one of inclusion and
recognition in order for Lowthorpes importance and influence to take its place in the
educational triad present in this regional history of landscape architecture education.
To be sure, this thesis is not an exhaustive biography of Ries, nor is it a
complete examination of Lowthorpe pedagogy or the subtle institutional discourses
that influenced the triad of interrelatedness amongst the three schools. Rather it is an
exploration of a specific time, 1928-1932, in both Jane Silverstein Ries and
Lowthorpes existences. Ries interacted with significant instructors and witnessed a
specific historical context while at Lowthorpe which influenced and informed her
subsequent design career. Chapter Two: Brief Biography of this paper provides a
broad overview of the life and career of Jane Silverstein Ries. Chapter Three: Julia
37 Foucault, 67.
20


Jane Silverstein and the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women,
1928-1932 reflects the bulk of this paper, detailing some specific school events, like
the facility expansions at Cambridge and Lowthorpe. It also explains the certificate
program Ries followed, highlights several key instructors, landscape exchange
problems and her senior thesis.
This paper explores how Lowthorpe integrated the dominant pedagogy of the
time with their unique campus environment to provide an education for women that
distinguished what they offered as being equal yet different from the other two
branches of Bostons landscape education triad. It examines how onethe school
imprinted influence on the otherRiesand the context in which they dwelled that
subsequently propelled her into a design career that spanned more than 50 years.
21


Figure 1.1: Cambridge School campus at 53 Church Street in Cambridge, MA.
Source: December 1928 Cambridge School Alumnae Bulletin (as
illustrated in Mary Pope Furrs MLA thesis, Figure 22).

JCU ifco'-i-o'
LOWTttOCPE StnOOL
or undsiipc mrmmuLL
ceoriN Hiiitcnuttii}
Figure 1.2: Lowthorpe School campus plan, from the 1942-44 school catalogue.
Source: Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Records, 1877-1954,
Rhode Island School of Design Archives. Providence.
22


2. BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF JANE SIFVERSTEIN RIES
Even before Julia Jane Silverstein attended the Lowthorpe School of
Landscape Architecture for Women, she was witness to interesting trends that were
both influencing her hometown and defining her future profession. Denver city
planners and politicians embraced the City Beautiful Movement as a way to convert
Colorados capitol city from relatively unsophisticated western town to a
cosmopolitan place of celebration. When Eva Wilson Sickman Silverstein was
pregnant with her first child, she and husband Harry S. Silverstein moved into the 700
block of Franklin Street, approximately half a block south of Cheesman Park in
Denver.38 Julia Jane Silverstein was bom in Denver on March 10, 1909.39 40 During her
childhood, Julia Jane was able to observe many of these changes first hand and they
made a lasting impression. (Figure 2.1) She would later recall Denvers
transformation during these critical years in the citys evolution.
...Mrs. Silverstein Ries praises Mayor Speer and the men who had the
foresight to plan for the future and create an urban oasis on the western
edge of what was once known as the Great American Desert (the Great
Plains.) She is most grateful for the tree-lined boulevards and the many
public parks. Currently she works to protect and expand these valuable
resources.
38 Robin Chotzinoff, My, How Youve Grown: Lifes Still a Garden Party for Jane Silverstein Ries,
Westword. Vol. 15, No. 46, July 1992: 26.
39 Ibid, 2-3. See also Tillie Fong, Appellate Judge Harry S. Silverstein Jr. (Obituary) Rocky
Mountain News. 3 Dec. 1992, 151.
40 Lauri Macmillian Johnson and Sarah Delaloye, Tribute to the Life and Work of Jane Silverstein
Ries. Denver, CO: Center for Built Environment Studies, School of Architecture and Planning at the
University of Colorado at Denver, 1988, 3.
23


At the turn of the 20th century, Denver experienced profound modifications to
the citys planning and aesthetics. Under the guidance of Mayor Robert W. Speer
(1904-1912, and 1916-1918) Denver was transformed from a prairie-mining town
into a model city reflecting the ideologies of the City Beautiful Movement.41 Speer
imported leading designers and planners of the day, including George Kessler,
Edward H. Bennett, Charles M. Robinson, and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., and
Reinhard Schuetze (1860-1910) was Denvers first city landscape architect, designing
three of its seminal parksCity Park, Washington Park and Cheesman Park, the one
just down the street from Janes home.42 In 1890 he created the master plan for
Fairmount Cemetery, Denvers premier cemetery that paid homage to but was distinct
from Eastern city cemeteries like Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts and
Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. ...Fairmount was indeed Arcadian,
but instead of carriageways that wander the contours of hill and dale, Schuetze chose
the more flowing, ordered, and fulsome design idiom then widely favored for German
and Dutch cemeteries.43 Saco Rienk DeBoer (1883-974) succeeded Schuetze as the
city landscape architect, working from 1910 to 1931 in that position before
transitioning into a city planning engineer and park consultant.44
41 For a detailed discussion of the City Beautiful movement, see William H. Wilsons The City
Beautiful Movement: Creating the North American Landscape. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1989. Chapters 8 and 11 address events specific to Denver. See also Thomas J. Noel
and Barbara S. Norgren. Denver: The City Beautiful and its Architects. 1893-1941. Denver: Historic
Denver Inc., 1987. Lastly, see Carol McMichael Reese. The Politician and the City: Urban Form and
City Beautiful Rhetoric in Progressive Era Denver. Diss. University of Texas at Austin, 1992. Ann
Arbor: UMI, 1992. AAT 9225704.
42 See the chapter The Park Legacy in Don and Carolyn Etter. Forgotten Dreamer: Reinhard
Schuetze. Denvers Landscape Architect. Denver: The Denver Public Library, 2001,23-37.
43 Ibid, 10.
44 Charles A. Bimbaum and Robin Karson, eds. Pioneers of American Landscape Design.
24


Harry S. Silverstein, the son of German and Russian immigrants, was bom
and raised in Syracuse, New York, their family had earlier pioneer connections to the
Rocky Mountain west.45 According to Ries, .. .My grandfather was bom in
Russia...but he came to Cheyenne to make clothes for the army. In Wyoming, he
met a fellow Russian who offered the hand of his sixteen-year-old daughter in
marriage. Grandpa Silverstein waited until he had $10,000 in his wampum belt and
then boarded a train to Syracuse, New York, where his bride-to-be was waiting.46
Riess father attended Syracuse High School, graduated from Yale University with an
A.B. degree in 1894, and was admitted the bar in 1896.47 He served as both a deputy
and assistant district attorney in Denver before joining the firm of Dana, Blout and
Silverstein as a partner. He also lectured on law at the University of Colorado
Boulder campus. Eva Wilson Sickman Silverstein was bom in Fort Collins, Colorado
and raised in Boulder.48 She attended the Boulder Preparatory School, then the
New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. S. R. DeBoer, 85.
45 Chanyn E. Bordonaro, Jane Silverstein Ries: Landscape Architect. Unpublished paper written for the
Seminar in the American West, taught by Dr. Thomas J. Noel, University of Colorado Denver,
December 1990,4. Jane Silverstein Ries Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver
Public Library.
46 Chotzinoff, 26.
47 Harry James Boswell, Harry S. Silverstein. American Blue Book: Attorneys of Colorado. Denver
(?), publisher unknown, 1922: 79. The article states that Mr. Silverstein received his A.B. degree in
1894, ...and then took up the reading of law in the offices of A. B. Seaman, and in 1896 was admitted
to the bar. Whether he obtained a post baccalaureate degree in law remains unclear.
4ft
Eva W. Silverstein, Obituary, Denver Post 12 July 1972: 60. There is no information about the
ancestral roots of the Sickman family. On another note, although by 1972 Jane Silverstein Ries,
FASLA, was a well-established local landscape architect, her mothers obituary merely listed her as
the surviving daughter Mrs. Henry Ries. Yet in the first paragraph, Eva Silverstein is listed as the
mother of Chief Judge Harry Silverstein Jr, of the Colorado Court of Appeals. Apparently being
Colorados first female and prominent local landscape architect did not elicit favorable recognition in
obituaries as late as 1972.
25


University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating in 1904. Harry and Eva married on
September 3, 1907.49
Julia Jane attended East High School in Denver, graduated ini927 and
attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for a year before deciding to pursue a
career in landscape architecture. Jane had one brother, Harry S. Silverstein Jr., bom
on August 19, 1910 (d. 1 Dec. 1992). Pete, as he was called, attended the same high
school as Jane before pursuing his undergraduate degree at Yale University, like their
father.50 He returned to Denver to study law at the University of Denver, obtaining
his degree in 1935 before joining his fathers law firm of Blout, Silverstein and
Rosner. In 1970, he was appointed chief judge for the Colorado Court of Appeals,
remaining at that post until his retirement.51 Ries was very close to her brother and
his attending Yale played a small but interesting role in her journey east for
education.
According long-term Ries associate and friend Cathe Mitchell, Ries often told
the following story about her decision to attend Lowthorpe.52 After attending the
University of Colorado, Ries returned home to Denver. Her brother was finishing
high school and planned to attend Yale. Ries was unsure what to do. She knew she
wanted a career but did not want to teach or become a nurse, two paths women
49 Idem.
50 Bordonaro writes in her 1990 paper (based mostly on interviews with Jane) that, ...The nickname
Peter was actually meant for Jane. Evidently, while Eva was pregnant, the soon to be parents called
the unborn baby Peter Pan. Once Jane was delivered, the name was no longer appropriate, hence the
pet name for Harry Jr., 5.
51 Tillie Fong, Appellate Judge Harry S. Silverstein Jr. (Obituary) Rocky Mountain News. 3 Dec.
1992: 151.
52 Cathe Mitchell, personal interview, 27 February 2008.
26


traditionally followed. She also did not want to become a homemaker.53 Her parents
were friends with Denver landscape architect Irvin J. McCrary (Harvard GSA, MLA
1913), a former lawyer. While discussing their daughters quandary McCrary
suggested landscape architecture as a career choice and the Lowthorpe School of
Landscape Architecture for Women in Groton, Massachusetts. Jane responded
enthusiastically with, Oh, I love it! What is it?54 With the decision made, ...she
had to wait for a year til Pete graduated and then they could go on the train together
to school on the east coast.. ,55 It is curious that McCrary, a Harvard graduate,
suggested Lowthorpe instead of Harvards unofficial sister institution, the Cambridge
School of Domestic Architecture and Landscape Architecture for Women to Janes
family. Perhaps this stemmed from the fact that McCrary was friends with
Lowthorpes director, Robert Swan Sturtevant (Harvard MLA, 1916).56 Ries began
53 Idem. Ries told Mitchell that her father said, ... You can be anything you want except a harpist
because Im not going to carry a harp around.... Ries also tells this story in the 1983 interview at the
National ASLA conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. See Jane Silverstein Ries Spirited Places in
bibliography.
54 Idem. Ries tells this story in various interviews. See Johnson and Delaloyes paper Tribute to the
Life and Work of Jane Silverstein Ries, page 3. Ries also wrote of it in her 1986 questionnaire
response to Cornell University MLA thesis student Jane Alison Knight. ...My parents asked Mr.
McCrary if women could do this-he told them of Lowthorpe. My mother asked me how would you
like to be a landscape architect? I said,I would love itwhat is it? So I have ever since! I
acquired a copy of the questionnaire from Knights thesis chair, Cornell Professor Daniel Krall, Ithaca,
New York.
55 Ibid, Mitchell interview.
56 Jane Silverstein Ries, Interview with Joanne Barbarick Sender, ASLA, at the National ASLA
Conference in Indianapolis, IN. Spirited Surprises. Prod., Ed., Narr. John Robert Russell, Professor
Emeritus, Ball State University. Videocassette. Muncie: Ball State University Instructional Media
Services, 1983. Ries mentions that McCrary was friends with Lowthorpes director but does not
mention Sturtevant by name in the interview.
27


her Lowthorpe training in the fall of 1928 and graduated the same year her brother
did from Yale, in 1932.57
When Ries returned to Denver, she initially worked for the landscape
architecture and city planning firm of McCrary, Culley & Carhart.58 The firm did
planning and estate designs typical for the period that were highlighted in the 1933
American Society of Landscape Architects Illustrations of Work of Members. (Figure
2.2) While there, Ries designed the grounds of the new womens dormitory at the
University of Colorado at Boulder.59 Inexplicably, ...despite the Depression, she
left the firm to strike out on her own. She began by designing gardens for her
mothers friends charging only $5.00 for plans...60
In 1935, her parents decided to build a new house on the family garden lot
adjacent to their 725 Franklin home. The house, designed by Denver architect
Stanley Morse, specifically included a workspace for Jane above the garage. She
designed the landscape. Ries once commented about the arrangement, .. .the nice
57 Several articles that mention Janes education incorrectly state that she attended Lowthorpe from
1929-1932. (See for example the Johnson & Delaloye paper, the ASLA Medal nomination letter for
Ries at http://www.asla.org/awards/2005/medals/awarded/pdf/ries nomination Awardpage.pdf, the
2005 ASLA Medal information page at http://www.asla.org/awards/2005/medals/awarded/ries.htm ,
and Ries herself incorrectly stated her Lowthorpe attendance on her Knight questionnaire as 1929-
1932) This may be in part because she graduated in 32, and Ries opted for the 3-year
diploma/certificate in landscape architecture. However, several first year school assignments of Riess
have dates ranging from October 1928 to December 1928. See Oversize Folio #33 of the Jane
Silverstein Ries Collection, Denver Public Library, Department of Western History and Genealogy
Department for some of these assignments.
58 Some papers from the firm are available in the Western History and Genealogy Department of the
Denver Public Library. There are papers in the Conservation Collection of the DPL for Arthur
Hawthorne Carhart (1892-1978), a former United States Forest Service employee, author and
conservationist. Additionally, Carhart papers from 1916-1965 are available at the Special Collections
Department at the University of Iowa Libraries, Carharts alma mater.
59 Johnson and Delaloye, 6.
60 Ibid.
28


thing about all this was, Mother and Daddy and I wanted to be together.61 This
workspace at the new Silverstein residence (737 Franklin) remained her office her
entire career. (Figure 2.3)
Because of those initial designs done for her mothers friends, word spread of
the young landscape architects skill. By 1936, she acquired a commission to design
the gardens for the General Electric Demonstration House, a structure designed by
Fort Collins architect Lester L. Jones.62 (Figure 2.4) The landscape design reflects
her Lowthorpe Country Place Era training, with a strong axis, formal gardens
delineated with hedgerows and topped Bolleana Poplars (Poplar alba var. bolleana)
and the separation of the entry drive and service yard from the pleasure garden areas.
This design commission was a coup for the young designer because these houses
were built nationally for public viewing, serving as promotional tools used by
General Electric to display the latest technology in electrical innovation. Although no
documentation is available that describes the initial professional or public reaction to
this local house and its landscape design, having her name attached must have served
her well in furthering local professional recognition.
Ries continued working on local residential design until the onset of World
War II. She branched out of state to design .. .grounds for war housing projects
under the Federal Housing Authority in Cheyenne, Wyoming, [La Junta, Colorado]
61 Bordonaro, 10.
52 Don D. Etter, Denver Going Modem: A Photographic Essay on the Imprint of the International Style
on Denver Residential Architecture. Denver: Graphic Impressions Inc., 1977, pp. 58-61. Page 61
features the plants list. Etter notes that Victor Hombein designed an addition to the house after World
War II, page 59. Riess GE House landscape design is also featured in the Johnson and Delaloye paper,
shown in their papers Illustrations 2 and 3, with design updates for the Hopfenbeck family (1983) in
Illustrations 4 and 5, drawn by Cathe Mitchell. All drawings now housed in the JSR Papers at the
Denver Public Library.
29


and Sidney, Nebraska. Like many women [Ries] worked for the American Womens
Voluntary Services and the American Red Cross.63 In 1943, she applied to Officers
Training in the Womens Reserve of the Ufnited] S[tates] Coast Guard. While
waiting for a reply, she helped Denver women design...their victory gardens, the
private vegetable...gardens that fed American families and allowed farm productions
to go to the war effort. 64
Ries attended Officers Training at the Coast Guard Academy in New
London, Connecticut. Upon completion, Ries was granted the title of ensign as a U.
S. Coast Guard SPAR (Semper Paratus/Always Ready) and assigned to a station in
New York City.65 Like other branches of the American military, the Coast Guard
female auxiliary program enabled women to cover stateside positions so military men
could serve in the war theatres abroad. Her brother was also based in New York as
.. .an officer on a merchant ship in the United States Navy at the time.66 (Figure
2.5)
In a 1976 interview, Ries rhetorically asked, ...what do you do with a
landscape architect in the Coast Guard? Well, I went into civil engineering and went
in when they were drawing heating units for Coast Guard training stations and I was
63 See JSR Papers, Box 31, File Folder 52 for papers related to the War Housing Projects, including her
scope of work, notes and plant lists. For information about her AWVS and American Red Cross
involvement, see File Folder 54: Unit Chatter newsletter. Perhaps Jane was partly inspired to
perform these duties because mother was active in the American Red Cross during World War I and
World War II. See Eva W. Silverstein, Obituary, Denver Post 12 July 1972: 60.
64 Johnson and Delaloye, 8. Iam assuming here that Johnson and Delaloye gained information about
the Victory Gardens from an interview with Ries. A search of the JSR Archive finding aid produced
no results for Victory Gardens.
65 See copy of the USCG public relations communique about Janes duties and station in JSR Archives,
Denver Public Library, Box 31, File Folder 53 United States Coast Guard.
66 Bordonaro, 10.
30


in the drafting room for awhile with that....67 (Figure 2.6). She also worked in the
United States Navy Port Directors Office in New York City, surveying Coast Guard
properties and lighthouses of the 3rd Naval District.68 Part of her duties included
researching records and drawings of the lighthouses in the New York Public Library
archives. At one point Jane had an opportunity to meet with Robert Moses, then New
York City Commissioner of Parks. In a thank you letter dated 27 July 1946 she
wrote,
...I so very much appreciated the opportunity of meeting the architects
and landscape architects in your office...Especially grand was the trip
you arranged for me to see Jones Beach. Mr. Howland had Mr. Reppa
drive me there, and he was indeed a very interesting guide. Thank you
so very much for your many kindnesses. I have been inspired for better
park development-would we had someone with your vision here in
Denver.69
After the war, Ries briefly worked under the head landscape architect, Martin
Funnell, with twelve others at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in New York. She
found the work unsatisfying, tantamount to industrial assembly work:
...my goodness, I was just doing grading of school groundsblack top
of the public schools. Of all the dull things, that was the worst, just black
top grading and specified vandal-proof nuts and bolts for benches.. .there
were 40 architects and 12 landscape architects...one of [the architects]
was doing nothing but windows, factory turning out nothing but windows
and the next was doing nothing but doors.. .what a dull job. They never
followed through; never saw the job finished to say it was your thing,
67 Palmer, 123. Interview conducted 3 April 1976 by Palmer.
68Idem. According to Ries, the U.S. Coast Guard .. .during peace time is under the Treasury
Department and during a war its under the Navy. So we had to do a property survey of all the Coast
Guard establishments in Navy formnuts, bolts, screws. Here was a lighthouse that had been built in
1790, had to go over that to see what the value of the Coast Guard establishment was to go under the
Navy. Well, sounds ridiculous, but...thats what the SPARS were to do to relieve the men for duty...
See also Johnson and Delaloye, 8.
69 Jane Silverstein Ries Papers, Denver Public Library, Box 32, File Folder 15. Mr. Moses wrote her
back on August 2nd, thanking her for her note. ...I saw Gen. Earle the other night at Bellport and
discussed your visit. Be sure to come again. Cordially, signed Robert Moses.
31


your creation.70
By 1946 Ries was back in Denver reviving her private practice, following
through on at least seven residential design projects. Three of the projects were in
her neighborhood, including the Louis and Christine Cox residence, two blocks south
of her home/office at 737 Franklin Street. Ries was elected a member of the
American Society of Landscape Architects on 13 February 1946.71 Just a year before,
in 1945, Lowthorpe had officially closed. The Rhode Island School of Design
incorporated Lowthorpe and its former director, Ann Baker as department head into
the new Lowthorpe Department of Landscape Architecture. Ries briefly returned to
her alma mater at the new location to enroll in some technical refresher courses in
the late 1940s. Back in Denver, her practice continued to expand and Ries was
employing others, almost exclusively women, to help with the various projects.
The 1950s brought about significant change in the personal life of Jane
Silverstein. In a speech class, Jane met her future husband, Henry F. Ries (1905-
1984).72 Mr. Ries was bom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moved to Denver in 1932.
He was an actuary for the state of Colorados insurance department. Although now in
her 40s, Jane adhered to proper etiquette, asking her mother for permission to see
70 Palmer, 118. Ries also notes that she worked at SOM ...for just six months after the war...
Palmer, 123. Various sources have stated that Ries worked at SOM anywhere from a few months to
two years. A brief stay seems most likely. No correspondence or ephemera exist in the JSR Papers
related to SOM.
71 See JSR Papers, Denver Public Library, Box 33 Awards and Ephemera for her acceptance into the
ASLA. Unfortunately, neither the DPL records nor the American Society of Landscape Architects
archives have information about who nominated Ries for membership. Information about when she
became a fellow will be discussed in the paragraphs detailing her career in the 1960s.
72 Bordonaro, 12.
32


Henry on their first date, dinner and a football game.73 Jane (age 45) and Henry (age
49) were married on August 18th, 1953. (Figure 2.7) Theirs was a commuter
marriage of sortsJane and Henry pursued demanding careers that required frequent
travel, especially on Henrys part. As Jane noted, ...He traveled often, half of our
wedding time.74 Yet it worked for them. Jane could devote an exceptional amount
of hours to her work and she claimed she never had to play a traditional wife role, an
objectionable concept to her.75 I told him, lets get one thing straight.. .1 never
cooked, I never wanted to cook and I wouldnt cook, so he would have his midday
meal downtown with his business associates and we would have soup or a little
sandwich for dinner. Nothing fancy.76 Yet Jane and Henry travelled frequently to
see each other. He would be sure to be home for holidays and when her work
permitted, Jane would visit him where he was working 77 During the first nineteen
years of their marriage, from 1953 until her mothers death in 1972, the Riess lived
in a Denver apartment, away from the 737 Franklin Street Silverstein home.78 This
73 Idem.
74 Idem. Also, there is extensive correspondence from Henry to Jane during his travels housed in the
JSR Papers.
75 This opinion is derived from many conversations with former Ries associates like Cathe Mitchell
(Land Mark Design) and Gail Barry (Land Mark Design)Janes niece by marriage. Gails
husbands aunt, Mary McLean Silverstein, was married to Janes brother Pete Silverstein. From a
memorial Gail Barry wrote upon Janes death in 2005, courtesy of the private papers of Cathe
Mitchell.
76 Chotzinoff, 29.
77 Bordonaro, 12.
78 Ibid, 11-12.
33


was the only time Jane did not permanently reside in the house; her office, however,
continually operated in the space above the garage until she retired in the 1990s.79
Janes work was flourishing during the 1950s. She continued to design many
private residential landscapes but was also commissioned for public works like the
Boulder Municipal Building (1952), the University of Colorado Faculty Housing
(1952), the Community Hospital at Fort Morgan (1952) and a small park at the
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (1958) amongst many others. (Figures 2.8 and
2.9) She served on the Mayors Citizen Advisory Board for the Denver City Parks
Department and became the first president (1959) of the newly formed Rocky
Mountain Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Based in
Colorado the RMC included four Rocky Mountain statesColorado, Utah, New
Mexico and Wyoming.80
Jane Silverstein Ries became more involved with state and national issues
related to the profession of landscape architecture during the 1960s. On July 10th-
12th, 1961, the American Society of Landscape Architects held the annual meeting in
Boulder, Colorado. As a prelude to the meeting, the April 1961 issue of Landscape
Architecture magazine highlighted Colorado and Rocky Mountain west design and
planning subjects. There were eight contributors listed for the issue. Ries, featured
79 In 1992 the 737 Franklin Street housecalled the Jane Silverstein Ries housewas officially
declared a Denver Historic Landmark, in part because of the efforts initiated by Chanyn E. Bordonaro
while writing her paper (quoted here) for Dr. Thomas J. Noels 1990 class. For Denver Historic Land
Mark designation of 737 Franklin, see JSR Papers, Denver Public Library, Box 32, File Folder #1 for
documents related to the process.
80 The Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. About the Chapter
webpage. 2 Feb. 2009 < http://www.ccasla.org/ >. In 1973 the RMC dissolved, becoming the
Colorado Chapter of the ASLA. Today the CCASLA represents both Colorado and Wyoming
landscape architects.
34


equally as a contributor amongst others better known, including her former teacher
Stanley H. White, her former employer Arthur H. Carhart and fellow Denver
landscape architect Saco Rienk De Boer. Her article, What the Client Wants is a
lament about having to convince clients about wise design choices. The
accompanying photograph shows the Dr. Henry Swan II estate with a
.. .view.. .looking west toward the Rockies. She speaks of the need for adapting to
our semi-arid climate, even though clients want lush bluegrass and other plant
materials that tax limited water resources. She humorously decries the American love
of their vehicles and the challenge this poses with design:
...A trend I deeply deplore but must cope with, is the desire of home
owners to take their cars to bed with them, like the cowboy sleeping with
his horse, or the farmer keeping his pig in the kitchen. Everyone wants
to park at the front door, even in front of a picture window. In this we
are losing our civility, something of our feeling for the urbane. We accept
the finny obstruction of our outlook from living or dining room. The
family car is a pet; its immoderate use is becoming a hysteria, our universal
fetish.81 82
Stanley White moved to Denver when he retired from the University of
Illinois in 1959, yet he continued to contribute to the profession. The 1961 issue of
Landscape Architecture included his article, The Rockies and the Arid West and a
small blurb A Hick Town Growing Up, which featured an alternate view of the
Swan estate. The caption reads, Architecture from Normandy, foreground of
native yucca and buffalo grass at Swan estate. Julia Silverstein Ries, landscape
architect. Both pictures are reminiscent of past estate photographs featured in the
81 Jane Silverstein Ries. What the Client Wants. Landscape Architecture 51.3 (April 1961): 170.
82 Stanley H. White. The Rockies and the Arid West, Landscape Architecture 51.3 (April 1961):
159-160. The blurb A Hick Town Grows Up is on page 171.
35


ASLA Illustrations of Members Work books of the 1920s and 1930s yet they also
reflect Riess commitment to embracing an ecologically sensitive plant palette
appropriate to the given climate and conditions. She was advocating water wise
plant usage and design long before they became popular buzzwords. The book
American Plants for American Gardens by Elsa Rehmann and Edith A. Roberts
published in 1928 promoted the observation and use of indigenous plant materials for
garden design. Rehmann was a listed as one of the design instructors at Lowthorpe
from 1930-1932. While there is no archival evidence directly linking Rehmann to
any of Riess assignments, it is likely that they interacted and Ries certainly would
have been aware of the book and its teachings. It was a well known book after its
publication.
One of her residential designs, begun in 1961, reflects this approachthe
landscape for George and Joan Anderman in Cherry Hills Village, just south of
Denver. This area was undeveloped land at the time. Mr. Anderman was in the oil
business and Mrs. Anderman became interested the large parcel of land.83 They
bought it and eventually subdivided it. Most lots were roughly 2.5 acres; theirs was 3
acres. Mrs. Anderman wrote the original covenants for the area because she was
concerned about conserving and maintaining the mountain view sheds. The
Andermans contacted Ries before they built the house. Ries surveyed the site and
consulted with Joan Anderman by walking the property many times to determine
83 Ellen Anderman (current owner and daughter of George and Joan Anderman), personal interview, 1
December 2007. All facts in the paragraphs about the Anderman residence was derived from this
interview, unless otherwise noted. I want to thank Ms. Anderman for her generosity in showing me
her house and grounds. She gave me a wealth of information that will unfortunately, mostly not be
part of this thesis.
36


proper placement of the house and overall site planning. Everyone agreed that native
or climate-appropriate plantsimported if neededshould be used to create a
residential design that accommodated family activities and reflected the surrounding
plains/prairie ecology. (Figure 2.10)
Lynette Emery worked for Ries at the time and was good friends with Joan
Anderman and George W. Kelly, a noted Rocky Mountain west plants expert and the
first director of the Denver Botanic Gardens when it was formed in the 1950s.84
Kelly was a nurseryman, landscape designer and author of such books as Rocky
Mountain Horticulture is Different: How to Modify our Climate to Fit the Plants, and
How to Select Plants to Fit our Climate (1951) and How to Have Good Gardens in the
Sunshine States: A Landscape Architecture to Fit this Area; Plants that Will Thrive
Under Arid Conditions; Cultural Methods to Keep the Plants Happy (1958).85 This
connection to Mr. Kelly and the Anderman clients and their design was important.
He was living in New Mexico at the time and brought up plant materials for the
Andermans because there was not an adequate supplier of appropriate plants in the
Denver area. Ries and her firm worked on this property for approximately thirteen
years. Large portions of her design are still intact and the home and grounds stand
out in the community. Most houses in the development look like typical suburban
84 The papers of George W. Kelly (WH 1000) are housed at the Western History and Genealogy
Department of the Denver Public Library. A short biography of George W. Kelly is in the 27 May
2005 National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Zall House on E. 6th Avenue
Parkway in Denver (Site # 5DV9221). See the Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology &
Historic Preservation website for a pdf of the form. < http://coloradohistorv-
oahp.org/programareas/register/1503/ctv/pdfs/5DV9221 .pdf > Accessed 24 March 2009.
85 Some of Kellys book titles are exceptionally long, like these two. One other note, the Colorado
Board of Landscape Architects licensed George Kelly in 1968 because of his expertise. See page 12 of
the National Register document.
37


lots, with manicured blue grass, horse paddocks and the occasional rock garden. The
Anderman residence still has a tall prairie look and feel, setting it apart from
neighboring landscapes. The surrounding area is developed now, reflecting the
challenges of typical urban sprawl and population growth of many suburban areas.
Joan Anderman fought battles with the city to enforce height restrictions. She won
those battles. The view shed to Mt. Evans remains unobstructed, except by the
mature cottonwoods along the Highline Canal that abuts the western side of the
property. (Figure 2.11) This has helped maintain Riess original design intent,
reflecting her keen understanding of site and spatial relationships for a residence,
combining intimate gardens spaces and long distance view sheds. Though the design
is very different from the Country Place Era style she was taught while at Lowthorpe,
it echoes contemporaneous trends present in landscape architecture during the 1960s,
especially the styling of Thomas Church, someone Ries admired greatly. Ellen
Anderman (daughter of George and Joan Anderman) and her husband still live on this
property, one of Riess enduring and seminal works.
In 1965, Ries became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape
87
Architects, although her resume illustrated in this paper erroneously states 1956.
According to the Biographical Note in the Jane Silverstein Ries Papers finding aid: 85 87
85 Cathe Mitchell said Ries talked about Church and his California lifestyle designs. I asked if Ries
had ever met Church, Mitchell thought maybe at a conference. No correspondence between Church
and Ries exist in the archives.
87 Clearly, the numbers were transposed at some point and the correction was never made to the
resume. See JSR Papers, Box 27, File Folder 12 for documents related to her Fellows designation.
Attempts to find out who may have nominated her for fellow were fruitless. The closest hint was from
a letter Jane wrote to Reed Stalder on 22 May 1965, stating, ...Thank you so very much for your part
in making this possible. See folder mentioned above. I contacted the American Society of Landscape
Architects national archives to see if they had information. Brooke S. Hinrichs, Research And
38


...In 1966, Ries worked to support a bill establishing the Colorado State
Board of Landscape Architecture. The group authored the Landscape
Architect Registration Act, which limited the use of the term landscape
architect to describe only qualified professionals. In 1968, Ries was granted
the third certificate ever issued by the Colorado Board of Examiners of
Landscape Architects, making her Colorados first licensed, woman land-
scape architect.88
She became the chairperson for the State of Colorado Board of Examiners of
Landscape Architecture that year. Clearly, at this point in her career, Ries was an
important and influential figure in the professional realm of landscape architecture
and she strove to improve and enforce qualification standards for the discipline
statewide.
Ries became increasingly involved with public spaces and organizations that
influenced those realms, especially in Denver. The core of downtown was facing
significant urban blight challenges like many American cities during the 1960s and
70s. Denver embraced the call for urban renewal in the form of demolition. The
Skyline Urban Renewal Project, under the auspices of the Denver Urban Renewal
Authority (DURA) designated 30 blocks of central downtown in need of razing.
Dana Crawford had the foresight to fight for the preservation of the 1400 block of
Larimer Street, initiating a movement that ...applied business principles from
Collections Analyst of the ASLA emailed me on 9 March 2009 saying that there was .no record
included of who nominated her for Fellow in Janes Fellows file.
88 This is on page 4 of a preliminary finding aid printout I received from Ellen Zazzarino, Senior
Librarian & Archivist, Western History & Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library. This
can now be accessed at their website:
pleadetoc&base=fa&n=15&ss=true&as=true&ai=Advanced >
Also, Johnson and Delaloye wrote that ...[Jane] with Andrew Larson, wrote the states first
landscape architecture licensing exam... 2. The accompanying footnote (#2) to this sentence states,
In 1976, Colorado State legislation abolished the licensure for landscape architecture. Currently,
ASLA members are working to have it reinstated. 13. As of July 2007, Colorado Revised Statues
(Title 12, Article 45) reinstated licensure for landscape architects. See

39


suburban shopping centers to the urban corridor.89 While demolition crews leveled
whole blocks, Ms. Crawford and others were revitalizing the block now called
Larimer Square. Ries designed interior courtyard spaces and helped with planting
plans. She received the Mini Park Commendation Award on 1 March 1979 from
Downtown Denver Inc. for her efforts.90
Ries designed landscapes for a local animal shelter, the Denver Dumb Friends
League (1973), the city park in Georgetown, Colorado (1972-73), and the Herb
Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens (1973). She served on the Horticulture
Advisory Committee of the Denver Botanic Gardens from 1971-1987; was a board
member of Park People, an organization .. .that works to preserve, enhance, and
advocate for Denvers parks, recreation resources, open space and urban forest91
from 1975-1994. She was as a board member of the Colorado Nature Conservancy
from 1977-80; and was a charter member of the Womens Forum of Colorado from
1976 to 1994.
The decade of the 1980s did not slow Ries down even though she was in her
seventies. She was involved with several organizations serving as the Historic
Preservation Liaison for the ASLA Colorado Chapter and she served on the S. R.
DeBoer Committee for Parks and Open Spaces: A Denver Perspectivea lecture
series at Denver Public Library. Perhaps more significantly, in 1983 she became the
recipient of and namesake for the newly formed Jane Silverstein Ries Awardan
89 Julie Bielenberg, 2009 People of Power: Dana Crawford, Denver Magazine. January 2009, 22
February 2009. < http://www.denvermagazine.com/capital/2008/12/2009-people-power-dana-
crawford >
90 JSR Papers, Box 33 Awards and Ephemera.
91 The Park People Home Page. 22 February 2009
40


annual honor bestowed upon ...a person, group or organization that demonstrates a
pioneering sense of awareness and stewardship of land-use values in the Rocky
Mountain region. The award committee evolved into the Jane Silverstein Ries
Foundation, which became a nonprofit branch of the Colorado Chapter of the
American Society of Landscape Architects in 1997 and flourishes today.92 93 Ries
resume listings from the 1980s reflect her passion and commitment to advocating
responsible land use and the protection of public green spaces. (Refer to Illustrations
2.9 and 2.101994 resume) Yet she was also still designing.
In 1980, Cathe Mitchell started working for Ries when she was completing
her MLA degree at the University of Colorado Denver. In the 1980s Ries revisited
several interesting places from her past. After decades of change, the General
Electric House propertythe one Ries designed in 1936needed updating. George
and Ruth Hopfenbeck hired Ries to redesign a small side area, the patio and reflection
pool in the back garden. Cathe Mitchell drafted those designs. (Figure 2.12) Ries
was commissioned to work on the Executive Mansion of Governor Richard Lamm.
She had worked on this property back in the 1960s for Governor John A. Love. In
1982, Ries was also involved with revamping the Esplanade at her teenage alma
mater, East High School.
Aside from some of her more public works, Riess residential designs were a
critical component of her practice throughout her career. She was well known for a
design style that created comfortable, intimate and livable spaces that accommodated
92 The Jane Silverstein Ries Foundation Awards Page. 22 February 2009
< http://www.isrfoundation.org/awards.html >
93 For the purposes of full disclosure, in 2007 I was a recipient of the Jane Silverstein Ries Scholarship.
In late 2008,1 became a member of the board of directors for the Jane Silverstein Ries Foundation.
41


a multitude of uses, depending on client needs. They were lush yet functional,
creating outdoor privacy on smaller lots, while using a plant palette appropriate for
the region. She had visited many Beacon Hill gardens when she attended Lowthorpe
and was impressed with their style and functionality. According to Cathe Mitchell,
Ries firmly believed in an elegant lifestyle; one in which the garden played an
integral role in outdoor living. She frequently spoke of Beacon Hill gardens and was
fascinated with the California lifestyle work of Thomas Church.94 Her designs
retained some of her Country Place Era training but they also evolved, reflecting
current aesthetics of landscape architecture. Many who knew her work talk of her
unique Jane style.95
By the late 1980s and early 1990s Ries began to slow down a bit, especially
after breaking her hip while playing tennis in 1991.96 In 1989 two of her principle
employees, Cathe Mitchell and Gail Barry opened their own firm, Land Mark Design.
Ries was a senior consultant to the company. Ries had always received commissions
simply by word of mouth, she never listed her firm in the phone book. When Land
Mark Design opened, Cathe insisted they list the new firm even though Ries objected.
94 As per conversations with Cathe Mitchell. Two books from Janes libraryThomas Churchs
Gardens are for People and the Beacon Hill Garden Clubs Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hillwere
featured in the 2009 Denver Public Library exhibit, Jane Silverstein Ries (1909-2005): Retrospective
of a Colorado Landscape Architect, February 6 May 20, 2009, The Central Library, Vida Ellison
Gallery Level 7.
95 Cathe Mitchell has mentioned driving around town, seeing a particular landscape and thinking it
looked like a Jane design, later finding out it was. Tom Hawkey, a former employee has also talked of
Janes unique style. See also the interview Spirited Places.
96 Chotzinoff, 30.
42


In 1992 her home at 737 Franklin Street was designated a Denver Historic
Landmark, because of her ties to its history and her relevance to Denver culture.
Landscape architecture was not work to Ries, it was her life, her joy. She used her
home garden as a laboratory, trying out new plant varieties before using them in her
practice. According to Cathe Mitchell and Gail Barry, the planting beds were often
overcrowded with material because Jane loved to collect and experiment with plants.
Mitchell said Jane would often be in the garden after work until it got dark because
she loved being outside and the garden was an extension of her living space. This
notion certainly harkens back to her initial Lowthorpe trainingexperimenting with
plants and using the garden as part of a residential living space and observing plant
habits for design application. Jane and Henry never had children but she always had
a canine companion at her side. She called one, Lobo (a wolf/dog mix) her joy boy.
An earlier dog, Sorto was sort of a lab and sort of something else.97 She took this
companionship seriously, expressing it in the design of her garden. Aware of canine
behavior and their need to patrol, a perimeter path was specifically created in her
back yard to protect her garden. Jane trained the dogs so they knew that the
perimeter path was their space to run.98 The garden was for relaxing and living, not
rough housing. They behaved in the garden and ran on the path, period. Yet when
one was in the garden, you were unaware of this feature. (Illustration 2.13)
Separation of the service or laundry yard, which was a popular design ploy in the
97 A picture of Jane and Sorto in her garden from 1982 is featured on page 119 of Betty Shaws The
Artistry of Landscape Design: The Gardens of Jane Silverstein Ries. Colorado Homes & Lifestyles.
11.1 (January/February 1982): 118-123.
98 Cathe Mitchell wrote some notes about Jane, Jane mastered the art of combining a groomed garden
with a large dog. Her own garden had a double fence which created a real dog run. The dog could
always monitor the perimeter of the property and see out while her garden remained in tact. Courtesy
of the personal papers of Cathe Mitchell.
43


Country Place Era, has been modified for contemporary purpose. Her dogs needed to
run and patrol but there was no reason to let this negatively affect the pleasantness of
her garden spaces.
When Ries was not working, she participated in other activities. The Ries
owned a cabin in the mountains. She loved to ski and was an avid tennis player well
into her 80s. She practiced her familys faithChristian Scienceher entire life."
By the late 1990s, however, Jane began to have problems with her memory and she
was becoming increasingly frail. She eventually had to move into a care facility
away from the home she loved and was connected to her entire life. She passed away
on July 6th, 2005.99 100
Recognition of Riess accomplishments occurred locally for many years. In
2005 she was recognized nationally with the American Society of Landscape
Architecture Medal, the highest honor the ASLA bestows. She was the third woman
in history to receive the medal since its inception in 1973. Many people were
involved with the nomination, including Don and Carolyn Etter, Cathe Mitchell, and
the Jane Silverstein Ries Foundation. Letters of support were written by Phillip E.
Flores, FASLA; Lynn A. Moore, FASLA, then vice president of the JSR Foundation;
Federico Pena, former Mayor of Denver; Patricia Schroeder, former United States
99 Bordonaro writes, ...The Silversteins were Christian Scientists, Jane still practices her faith today.
Janes maternal grandmother had been healed by the Christian Science faith and the family converted.
Mr. Ries, according to Jane, never belonged to the Church, but adhered to the religion... 12.
100 Virginia Culver, A Colorado Life: Landscape Architect left lush legacy, (Obituary)
The Denver Post. 15 July 2005: C8.
44


Representative for Colorado; and Ellen Anderman, daughter of the late Joan
Anderman.101
Clearly, many more stories need to be written and analyses need to be done.
The Jane Silverstein Ries Papers have 33 cubic feet of material; this includes 43
oversize folders, 17 boxes of photographs and a mass of personal and client related
folders. Ries was prolific and deeply involved landscape architecture figure that
needs a detailed professional biography.102 An in depth analysis of her works
evolution would provide interesting and valuable insight into the genesis of her
designs, her place in our larger professional history and her significant impact on
Denver and the Front Range. Alas, that is another book for another time. For now,
this paper will examine of the beginningthe training of Julia Jane Silverstein at the
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, 1928-1932.
101 American Society of Landscape Architects. 2005 ASLA Medal-Jane Silverstein Ries. FASLA Page.
25 Feb. 2008 Link to nomination application:
< http://www.asla.org/awards/2005/medals/awarded/pdfyries nomination Awardpage.pdf >
102 Charles Bimbaum and Stephanie Foell (editors) are featuring Jane Silverstein Ries in their
forthcoming book Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the Pioneers of American
Landscape Design Project, to be released in the fall of 2009 by University of Virginia Press. See <
http://www.tclf.org/pioneers/pubs shaping.htm >
45


Figure 2.1: Eva and Julia Jane Silverstein, ca. 1910, JSR Papers, WH1785,
Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
SOUTH CARDENS
ESTATE Or MR CHURCHILL OWEN. DENVER. COLORADO
M M H C £. 0. Hom AfrSiiMti
Figure 2.2: Page 46 of the 1933 American Society of Landscape Architects Illustrations of Work of
Members book, featuring design by McCrary, Culley & Carhart.
46


Figure 2.3: Ries (L), Janet Wheelock (C), and Julia Andrews (R) in the office at Ries home,
737 Franklin Street, Denver ca. 1950s. Photographer: Seymour Wheelock.
Courtesy of the private papers of Cathe Mitchell. Also in the JSR Papers,
WFU785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
Figure 2.4: Plan and elevation for the General Electric Demonstration House, 1936.
Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
47


Figure 2.6: Jane drafting in USCG uniform. Courtesy of the private papers of
Cathe Mitchell. Also in the JSR Papers, WH1785, Western History
Collection, The Denver Public Library.
48


Figure 2.7 Henry and Jane Ries, 1953. Source: JSR Papers, WH1785, Western
History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
49


RESUME
PROFESSIONAL HISTORY____________________________JANE SILVCRSTEIN RIES__________________________________January 1994
1969-1994 Land Mark Design, Inc. Senior Consulting Advisor
1947-1994 Resumed private practice in landscape architecture, Denver, Colorado
1943-1946 U.S.Coast Guard
1941-1942 own private practice on landscape architecture Denver, Colorado
1932 graduated from Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, Groton, Massachusetts
(now affiliated with Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island)
COMMUNITY AND PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATION AND SERVICE_________________________________________________________________
1986-1987
1985-1993
1985-1994
1983-1994
1983-1989
1983 1984
1982-1994
1981-1963
1975- 1994
1976- 1994
1975-1994
1971-1987
1968
1963 1974
1959
1956
1952-1954
1946-1994
198-1994
Landscape Architecture Foundation, Board of Directors
Urban Forest, board member
Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects,
Book Committee for The Fvolution of the Colorado Landscape
Jane Silverstein Ries Award Committee, member
Colorado Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, Historic Preservation Liaison to ASLA
The Denver Partnership, Civic Design Team, Downtown Denver Public Spaces Project, Advisory Committee
Urban Design Forum, member
S.R DeBoer Committee for "Parks and Open Spaces, a Denver Perspective"
Colorado Nature Conservancy, member, board member 1977-1980,
Women's Forum, charter member
Park People, board member, Memorial Tree Committee
Denver Botanic Gardens, Horticulture Advisory Committee,
Slate of Colorado Board of Examiners of Landscape Architecture, chairperson
Denver Planning Board, Urban Environments Subcommittee, member
Rocky Mountain Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects, first president
American Society of Landscape Architects, fellow
Mayor s Citizen Advisory Board for Denver City Parks
American Society of Landscape Architects, member
Lower Downtown District, member
AWARDS
1990
1990
1985
1984
1983-1984
1982
1980
1978
PROJECT
Schools
A Showcase of Celebrated Seniors", Mizel Museum of Judaica
Colorado Women's Hall of Fame
"...for her significant contributions to Colorado and its national presence; for her effortsto elevate the
status of women and open new frontiers."
AIA Community Achievement Award
Coors Salute to Women Award
Jane Sihrerstein Ries Award of Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects
in recognition of land-use awareness
23rd Annual Colorado Garden and Home Show, Woman of the Year
Big Sisters of Colorado Salute to Women, Award for Women in the Arts
Mini Park Commendation Award, for Larimer Square
Sleek Elementary School 1973
Wallace Village 1965
Figure 2.8; Page 1 of Janes 1994 resume. Courtesy of Cathe Mitchell.
50
-


RIES RESUME
page two of two
Hospitals & Institutions University of Colorado, Physics Building -1965 University of Colorado, Faculty Housing -1952 Sunrise Heights Foundation 1978 Sunrise Heights Foundation -1978 wide Horizons Sanitorlum 1974-1976 A 1988 Spalding Rehabilitation Center 1959 Children's Hospital -1959 Community Hospital, Fort Morgan, Colorado -1952
Churches St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, Cloister Garth -1983: West Area 1982; Diocesan Headquarters 1977; and Columbarium 1968; St. Aiden's Episcopal Church, Boulder, Colorado 1968 1969 First Church of Christ Scientist 1963 Sixth Church of Christ Scientist 1969 Church of Ascension -1961
Public Projects Museum of Natural History -1987 Esplanade at East High School -1982 Colorado Heritage Center, Willard Terrace Roof Garden 1981 Hotel de Paris. Georgetown, Colorado 1972 Denver Art Museum 1968 1971 McAllister House, Colorado Springs, Colorado -1962 Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, small park -1958 Boulder Municipal Building -1952 Grand Junction, City Hall -1949
Commercial Buildings Denver Dumb Friends League -1973 Dale Bulck, Littleton, Colorado -1972 Colorado Tent A Awning -1970 Anderson Independent Company -1962 Centennial Race Track 1950 -1952
Parks & Plazas Richards Hart Estate, Wheat Ridge, Colorado -1985 Denver Solar Fountain Plaza, unbuilt -1982 Denver Botanic Gardens, Herb Garden 1973, Scripture Garden -1981 City Park, Georgetown Colorado -1972 1973 Larimer Square, Denver, Colorado 1970's Central City Opera House Garden, Central City, Colorado 1961
Banks First National Bank, Goodland. Kansas -1978 1979 First National Bank, Southglenn -1971
Condominiums & Apartments Corona Cooperative -1983 -1986 Residences in Polo Club North Townhomes -1982-84-86-1988 Jackson Street Townhouses -1978 1979 Gun Barrel Apartments, Boulder, Colorado 1970 Park Villa 1970 Durant Apartments, Aspen Colorado -1970
Mortuaries Moore Mortuary -1964 Chapel of the Angels -1957 Chapel of the Chimes 1956
Residences & Clubs State of Colorado, Executive Mansion 1983 1984; I964 1969 Country Estates Polo Club Residences City Residential Gardens, new and remodel, over 900 The Denver Country Club, Entrance Planting 1958 1962
Figure 2.9: Page 2 of Janes 1994 resume. Courtesy of Cathe Mitchell.
51



'V

...
> *
- : *?S *^jC.V / ... /
il < .. -- 1 /,'j *'?>"'- * ml
-^r a -*
' w
L" A;i'-
|\ */ * * *
i t
i -
Figure 2.10: Detail of Anderman residence, revised planting plan, 1960s.
Courtesy of Ellen Anderman.


Figure 2.12: Plan for the General Electric Demonstration House, 1980s. Drawn by Cathe Mitchell. Source: JSR
Papers, WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
53


Figure 2.13: Jane and Lobo in her back garden, 1992. Source: Page 27 of Chotzinoff article in Westword.
Vol. 15, No. 46, July 15-21, 1992.
54


3. JULIA JANE SILVERSTEIN AND THE LOWTHORPE SCHOOL OF
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE FOR WOMEN, 1928-1932
Jane Silverstein Ries spoke of her education in a 1976 interview:103
...[My training] was idyllic...Before 1899, MIT had landscape
architecture courses. They allowed women, believe it or not, up
to 1899. Then that was closed and went to Harvard. Harvard
had a new landscape architecture department in the early 1900s
but it would not allow women. At that time, our darling, Mrs.
Edward Gilchirst Low ... said this is a profession for women and
she started a school. She started Lowthorpe School of Landscape
Architecture for Women in Groton, Massachusetts, thirty miles
west of Boston, in an absolutely darling New England town. She
had the same instructors that Harvard had. They would come out
and teach us, go back and teach them. And this was absolutely
idyllic. We had, at the time I was there1928 to 1932there
were 40 of us. And we ranged from 18 to 50 years of age.. .But
there were many of us that were just 18. We learned everything...104
(Illustration 3.1)
School News: Lowthorpe and Cambridge Need To Expand
By the fall of 1928, when Julia Jane Silverstein started school, both the
Cambridge School of Domestic Architecture and Landscape Architecture and
Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women in Groton were
accommodating an increasing number of students in their programs. The Cambridge
School had announced in Landscape Architecture that they were expanding from their
...old quarters at 13 Boylston Street, to 53 Church Street, Cambridge... The
103 Palmer, 121.
104 Janes claim that MIT had landscape architecture training available to women only until 1899 is
incorrect. They had a short-lived coeducational landscape architecture program from 1900-1909,
headed by Guy Lowell. See Eran Ben-Joseph, Holly D. Ben-Joseph and Anne C. Dodge. Against all
Odds: MITs Pioneering Women of Landscape Architecture. November 2006, 25 February 2008,
pages 1-25.
55


property known as the Darby House has recently been acquired for the school...105
This new location had larger drafting rooms, better spaces for classrooms and the
expanding library which enabled Cambridge to accommodate the increasing number
of students.
Lowthorpe had to expand during this time as well, just before Julia Jane
Silverstein attended in the fall quarter:
...In 1928, Mrs. Low hired the architects Little & Russell [J. Lovell
Little, 1871-1943 and Benjamin F. W. Russell] of 20 Newbury Street,
Boston to design a Colonial Revival style dormitory... The architects
plans from August, 1928 indicate the building was divided into the main
central six-bay, gambrel roofed block with east and west gabled pavilions
of one bay expanding the plan... The two floors in the dormitory housed
28 students in a combination of single and double rooms...106
A new building devoted to drafting was also added to the campus. (Figure 3.2 campus
map, Figure 3.3 dormitory, Figure 3.4 Ext. of Drafting bldg, Figure 3.5 women in
drafting room) The April 1929 Lowthorpe section of the School News in
Landscape Architecture notes, With students in residence in the new Dormitory, and
the Drafting Building moved nearby, the School has taken a distinct step toward an
organized plan and already the additional facilities for equipment and exhibition are
appreciated.107
105 School News: Cambridge School, Landscape Architecture. 19.1 (October 1928): 59.
106From an area survey prepared by preservation consultant Sanford Johnson, Form A-Area for the
Country Day School of the Holy Union, housed at the Massachusetts Historical Commission, 220
Morrissey Boulevard, Massachusetts Archives Building, Boston, MA 02125. See pages 8-9 of the
report for complete quote. As of 2008 when I visited the property, the interiors of the single and
double dormitory rooms remain largely intact, as they were built.
107 School News: Lowthorpe School Landscape Architecture. 19.3 (April 1929): page 225. The
Dormitory building still exists, modified, on the campus of the Country Day School of the Holy Union
today. The Drafting Building has long since disappeared. The Dormitory is #2 on the campus plan,
the Drafting Building #3, see Figure 3.2) Also, at the time of this writing, it is unknown if Ries lived
56


The years from 1928 to 1932 were also a pivotal time in landscape
architecture education on the national level. The design professions of architecture,
landscape architecture and the relatively new specialty of planning were in the
process of redefining themselves. Architecture was beginning to reject the Beaux Art
tradition in design and teaching; planning was asserting itself as an independent
discipline and many landscape architects wanted their practice to be regarded as a
fine art profession, much like architecture. Landscape architecture professionals and
educators were also trying to assert a higher standard for who could formally call
themselves a landscape architect, as well as more rigorously define the necessary
training associated with such a declaration. In May of 1928, the Committee on
education of the American Society of Landscape Architects adopted the Minimum
Educational Requirements in Landscape Architecture, subsequently endorsing it in
October.108 In April 1929 the ASLA Board of Trustees published the following in
Landscape Architecture:
...A Change in the wording of By-Laws, Article 1, Section 5 has
been adopted...Members shall be landscape architects, at least twenty-
one years of age, of sound technical training and in good professional
standing...Sound technical training is to be understood primarily to
include knowledge [of]...:
in the dormitory or in a room of a private residence near by. No correspondence in the JSR Papers
shows an address for Jane during her Lowthorpe years. Sanford Johnson, historic preservation
consultant and a Groton resident, had checked town records for me but found no residential address
listed for Julia Jane Silverstein. Perhaps they did not keep records of the transient student population
back then.
108 ASLA Notes: Board of Trustees of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Landscape
Architecture. 19.1 (October 1928): 55-57. They further declared 6 key points about the qualifications
of those who taught landscape architecture. Key among them was that the instructor should have at
least 3 years of practical experience; that the courses should have students participate in a minimum of
one year practical office/field practice; that one Landscape Exchange problem should be submitted;
and that any revision of the list of schools accredited by the ASLA should be based on consideration
of the preceding points. 56. (Emphasis mine.)
57


1. General design in landscape architecture.
2. Engineering work incidental to landscape architecture and the
planning and execution of such work.
3. Plants and the preparation and execution of planting plans.
4. Architectural work incidental to landscape architecture and the
planning and execution of such work.109
Lowthorpe embraced the requirements, stating in the 1930-31 school catalogue that
their ...course [of study] is based on the...requirements established by the ASLA, its
object the professional training of women in the technical proficiency required in
office practice as well as in the broader aspects required of an independent
practitioner.110
In 1931, the National Conference on Instruction in Landscape Architecture
(NCILA) was replaced by the newly formed Association of Professional Schools of
Landscape Architecture (APSLA). The APSLA published their articles of
organization, which included a list of nine approved charter schools: the Cambridge
School, Cornell University, Harvard University, Iowa State College, Ohio State
University, Pennsylvania State College, University of Illinois, University of Michigan
and University of Pennsylvania.111 Curiously, Lowthorpe was omitted. The first
sentence of the membership requirements section declared that, ... members of the
Association shall be schools or departments of Landscape Architecture in institutions
109 ASLA Notes: Board of Trustees of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Landscape
Architecture. 19.3 (April 1929): 218.
110 Lowthorpe School Catalogue 1930-31, Page 3. Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
Records, 1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives, Providence.
111 School News: Association of Professional Schools of Landscape Architecture, Landscape
Architecture. 21.3 (April 1931): 233.
58


of collegiate rank or equal standing offering professional courses which are
approved by the Association. (Emphasis mine.)
According to Jane Alison Knight, the APSLA sent questionnaires and a design
problem to twenty-nine professional schools of landscape architecture to decide this
initial list of approved charter schools; fourteen schools submitted completed
questionnaires and design problems, including Lowthorpe.112 113 Apparently, the
Lowthorpe submissions were disappointing:
...As the seniors of Lowthorpe were already more or less scattered
at the time the problem was submitted, the members of the Committee
present thought possibly the school did not have a fair showing, and they
were not able to fully judge.. .its work at this time.114 115
Jane Alison Knight further wrote: ...In the fall of 1931, an additional questionnaire
was sent out and Robert Wheelright commented that: Course looks better on paper
than I imagined but no institution unable to grant a degree should be in
A.P.S.L.A. 15 Knight points out that Cambridge was selected even though it could
not grant degrees and speculates that ...[pjerhaps Committee member Bremmer
Pond (in whose office the Cambridge School had been founded) was involved in that
112 Ibid, 234.
113 Knight, 74. Also, an earlier announcement about the eight founding charter schools is found in
School News: Association of Professional Schools of Landscape Architecture, Landscape
Architecture. 20.3 (April 1930): 251. It states, ...Very soon after its organization, the Joint
Committee started to gather the information on which it was to base its selection of the charter member
schools. A more complete account of the Committee work may be found in the American Society of
Landscape Architects Report of Chapters, Committees, and Delegates, 1929. After a years work
devoted to a careful study and analysis of the data, and after making an informal report to the Summer
Meeting of the ASLA, at Cleveland in June 1929, the Joint Committee invited eight schools to become
Charter Members of the Association... It goes on to mention the eight schools listed above.
114 Ibid, Knight. Knights footnote #16 for this quote lists the source as Gary O. Robinette, Landscape
Architecture Education. Vol. 2. (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1973): 114.
115 Idem. Emphasis mine.
59


decision.116 One begins to question how Lowthorpes omission was judged: Was
architectural training considered of paramount importance and Lowthorpes deemed
inadequate? Was the rural nature of the Lowthorpe campus too small and remote?
And even though they had begun their collaboration with Simmons College at this
time, was that considered insufficient? Was the Committee biased because
Lowthorpe insisted on holding steadfast to instruction in strong horticultural tradition
to the exclusion of other criteria? Lowthorpe played a tricky game where on the one
hand it participated in the larger institutional machinations, like submitting Landscape
Exchange problems for competition and applying for charter membership in the
APSLA; on the other hand Lowthorpe continued its established tradition of
horticultural instruction, believing in its strength, perhaps to its detriment and
exclusion from the larger institutions. It was connected to and part of the larger
professional landscape architecture community, yet also separate. Whether this was
deliberate or circumstantial remains unclear.
Regardless, even though Lowthorpe was not accepted under the category of an
institution of equal standing under the Associations definition, several Lowthorpe
graduatescertificate or degree holdersbecame successful practitioners and
members of the ASLA, including Amy F. Tripp (08), Agnes Selkirk Clark (17)
Edith Schryver (23), Elizabeth Lord (29), Julia Jane Silverstein (32) and Edith
Harrison Henderson (34), amongst many others.117 Lowthorpe struggled throughout
116 Knight, 74.
117 For a complete list of Lowthorpe alumnae, see Knight, Appendix D-Lowthorpe Alumni, 205-208.
60


its existence to gain academic recognition that was on par with the other institutions
even though it produced some well-known practitioners.
As stated in Chapter 1, women wishing to acquire a formal Bachelor or
Masters degree, and not just the three-year certificate, could obtain one through the
schools affiliation (1928 to approximately 1934) with Simmons College in Boston, a
womens school. Several women, including Julia Jane Silverstein, chose to pursue
the certificate path in landscape architecture, which granted them a diploma, not a
degree. It is unclear why Jane chose this route instead of a bachelors degree.118 119
Nonetheless, Jane Silversteins Lowthorpe education was the foundation for a long
and successful career as a licensed landscape architect. (Figure 3.6) The ten-quarter
118 School News: Lowthorpe School. Landscape Architecture. 19.1 (October 1928): 59. The
opening of School on October 8 marks a number of changes: the cooperation with Simmons College
under which a number of students are already registering as candidates for degree; the requirement of a
Summer Quarter in addition to the usual three years required for completion of the course; and the
placing of the School on a basis of four quarterly sessions each year. They also announced that
Francis Head would be instructor of First Year Construction and that Harold Hill Blossom and Robert
Nathan Cram (the only two mentioned by name) and others would be assigning the various design
problems.
See also School News: Simmons College, Landscape Architecture. 19.3 (April 1929): 225.
The college graduates who have completed their professional work at the Lowthorpe School will
receive degrees in June from the new School of Landscape Architecture at Simmons College.
^Although students were enrolled in October 1928, their program did not require professional courses
until their second year, and quarters in the new wing will be ready next October for both our first and
second year students and the candidates for the degree from Lowthorpe. ^During 1929-1930 the
faculty will consist largely of instructors from the Lowthorpe School, but many special problems will
be given by architects and landscape architects from outside.
See also Jane Alison Knights Chapter 10, Collaboration, Curriculum and Faculty: 1925-
1934, Simmons College Affiliation, 131-132. This collaboration between Lowthorpe and Simmons
College lasted until approximately 1934. Knight notes, .. .The Simmons affiliation brought about a
reorganization of the academic year at Lowthorpe which was now divided into four quarters (including
an official summer quarter). The Lowthorpe training was lengthened to ten terms, requiring attendance
to one summer session in order to take advantage of special work that could be accomplished in that
season only. (Summer courses had been conducted for several years but this was the first time it was a
requirement of the curriculum.)... 132.
119 According to Thaisa Way, It wasnt until the late 1930s that an emphasis was really put on a
college degree [in landscape architecture]. Handwritten edit note on Thomas thesis draft, 28 April
2009.
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certificate program provided a rich body of knowledge that served her, and others like
her, well in their subsequent practices.
Student Trajectory in Certificate Program: A Brief Explanation
Ries continued to discuss her education in the 1976 interview:
... We learned everything. We had construction, grading, roads,
walls, pergolas, pools. We had history of architecture, shades and
shadows and all the historic architectural columns and caps. We
had plant material like mad. We learned plant materials, went to
arboretums, we had soil entomology and surveying...perspective
[drawing] and watercolor [rendering] and outdoor sketching. We
had field trips to estates.. .and summer school where we tended
our own garden plot. We had student exchange problems which
were great fun...120
The 1928 certificate course of study (Figure 3.7) required students to complete
ten quarters, including one summer quarter as it was the optimal season for plants
instruction. The Jane Silverstein Ries papers contain assignments, notes and scraps of
trace that reflect her progression throughout the program. Although some are dated,
many others are not, so assigning an exact correlation between a given assignment
and a specific instructor and course is challenging. The collection does not have
syllabi or assignment descriptions so deductions must be based on the drawings
themselves and speculation about possible texts used. For example, Janes drawing
of Enframement (Figure 3.8), dated 6 November 1931 illustrates her plan and
perspective drawings of a concept expressed in the seminal book An Introduction to
the Study of Landscape Design by Henry Vincent Hubbard and Theodora Kimball.
They write:
120 Palmer, 121-122.
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...If a landscape composition is to tell as one unified thing it must be
segregated from the things on each side of it.. .in the actual practice of
the landscape architect this segregation is almost always accomplished
by the creation of some kind of frame, which not only prevents the visual
intrusion of undesirable objects, but sets definite limits to the compo-
sition which is being considered, fixes its center, and so gives value to
the compositional space-relations of the objects within it.121
Several assignments have instructor comments providing some insights.
Initial drafting assignments reflect familiarizing students with drafting tools like a
compass, French curve and the execution of proper line weights. Lettering exercises
practiced various fonts popular at the time. Students had to learn architectural,
perspective and construction detail drawing. Architectural shade and shadow
assignments required students to learn the proper way to render buildings for
elevation drawings. Surveying, site grading and planning were part of the
construction course. Grading proved to be Janes most challenging subjectshe
received a few Ds on assignments. Later in her career Ries championed her once
greatest student challenge by responding to Donna Palmers question in the 1976
interview ...what is the best [training] for everyone who is coming into the
profession today?122 I think the surveying and gradingfiguring cuts and fills was
123
[the] most important trainingmuch of my work is revising poor grading jobs.
Lowthorpe, Cambridge and Harvard may have shared a similar curriculum as
well as several instructors, yet Lowthorpe was distinguished by its location on 17 acre
campus, it was able to instill a hands on horticultural knowledge in its students
121 Henry Vincent Hubbard and Theodora Kimball Hubbard, An Introduction to the Study of
Landscape Design. Rev. ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1929, 126.
122 Palmer, 122.
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that differed from either of the other schools. Horticulture classes were required
every quarter, except during the final thesis quarter. The programs at Cambridge and
Harvard required less. In Appendix A of her book Women. Design, and the
Cambridge School. Dorothy May Anderson categorizes the courses taught at her alma
mater in 1928. Design, Construction, History and Freehand were the main categories.
Reflecting the curricular bias at Cambridge, Anderson notes that miscellaneous
subjects at Cambridge:
...include such courses as plant materials and horticulture...prerequisites
of (landscape) and [planting] design...They take only a minor position
in the students schedule, not because their importance is disregarded,
but because with the short period allowed for professional training, a great
deal of time has to be devoted to the courses in which continuous direction
and instruction are necessary.
In April of 1929, the graduate program at Harvard announced their offering of
plant material courses during the summer for incoming graduate students as a way to
lighten the first year course load in the fall. Yet these classes were not restricted to
Harvard students alone: These courses are open to men and women who are
interested in this field. No entrance examinations are required.124 125 Lectures and
drafting exercises were conducted in Robinson Hall and all participating students had
access to their ...extensive special library of Landscape Architecture and City
Planning.. ,.126 The Cambridge women and Harvard men certainly would have
benefitted from attending these courses but perhaps some Lowthorpe and/or Simmons
124 Dorothy May Anderson, Women. Design, and the Cambridge School. West Lafayette: PDA
Publishers Corp., 1980, 180.
125 School News: Harvard University: Summer School in Landscape Architecture, Landscape
Architecture. 19.3 (April 1929): 224.
126 Idem.
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College students went as well. The summer classes visited Arnold Arboretum to
study woody plants, the Botanic Garden for herbaceous plants and they observed
. .the wide variety of decorative use of these materials in the many parks and private
estates in the neighborhood. They also used the 12 acre ...Cornelia Warren
tract...for topographic surveys, [to] study...native plants, sketching, and the
application of problems in design.127 128 129 Harvard University had owned Arnold
Arboretum since its inception as the Bussey Institution in the latter half of the 19th
century. Students at all three schoolsLowthorpe, Cambridge and Harvard
benefitted enormously from their schools connection to Arnold Arboretum in
128
varying ways.
Lowthorpes campus was advantageous for instilling a more rigorous
horticultural knowledge in its students. The women had to traverse formal gardens on
the grounds when they went from functions in the Prescott House to the dormitory or
the Drafting Building. They were also required to propagate plants in the greenhouse,
and install plant material and maintain the campus grounds. Some student garden
designs and elements were implemented on the campus, like Dawsons Dell, the
Brick Walkway and the herringbone patterned brick Terrace on the southeast side of
127 Idem.
128 Lowthorpes connection to the Arnold Arboretum will be discussed below in relation to Plants
Instructor Laura Dawson.
129 Richard B. Kimball, A Little Visit to Lowthorpe. The House Beautiful. 39 (March 1916): 111-
113, xxvii. Kimball writes, ...a small nursery of choice varieties of perennials has been started, in
charge of Miss L. L. Hetzer...[it] gives the students a wide range for practice in the cultivation of
flowers [and] affords them a[n] opportunity for becoming familiar with the plants they must use in
their work, at all stages of their growth. An up to date central greenhouse of four temperatures is
supplemented by two separate smaller houses, a cold house for grapes, and a conservatory for hard-
wooded plants, besides hot-beds and cold frames..., page 113. L. Louise Hetzer was a Horticulture
instructor and Dean at Lowthorpe while Jane was there.
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the Prescott House.130 (Figure 3.9., Figure 3.10) These activities reinforced the
tradition and ideology valued by the schools founder, Judith Eleanor Motley, a.k.a.
Mrs. Edward Gilchrist Low.
Influential Lowthorpe Instructors, Foundational Figures
In Landscape Architecture Education
An impressive list of leading practitioners and influential instructors taught at
Lowthorpe during Janes tenure there, as seen in the Table of Instructors. (Figure
3.11) One striking fact from this exercise emergedalmost every male instructor was
a Harvard graduate who held either an MLA or MArch degree, and sometimes they
held both.131 Robert Swan Sturtevant was director of the school during this time; L.
Louise Hetzer was the dean and taught horticulture. Categories for classes were
broken down into six headingsarchitecture, construction, design, fine arts, history
and horticulture. Instructor listings were fairly consistent for the four years, except in
design, where a rotating roster of permanent and visiting instructors are listed. Their
connections to the larger landscape architecture profession and educational
community deserve a brief exploration.
130 The Terrace and Brick Walkway still exist on the property today as functioning landscape elements
of the Country Day School of the Holy Union. For a more complete discussion of extant and
demolished Lowthorpe remnants, see Jennifer Thomas, Raising Awareness of a Forgotten Space:
Exploring the Historic Landscape Designation Process for the Lowthorpe Campus, unpublished paper
for a Historic Preservation Seminar taught by Dr. Thomas J. Noel, University of Colorado Denver, 7
December 2007.
131 I derived the list of instructors mainly from Lowthorpe School catalogues and cross-referencing the
male names with the Directory of Harvard students in Melanie Simos book The Coalescing of
Different Forces and Ideas: A History of Landscape Architecture at Harvard. 1900-1999. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2000, 127-129. The directory is longer than those three
pages but later graduates are irrelevant for the purposes of this spreadsheet. All other non-Harvard
trained instructors will be footnoted where appropriate.
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Henry Atherton Frostfounder of the Cambridge Schooltaught design at
Lowthorpe when Ries attended. He was listed as an instructor of architecture and
design at Lowthorpe from 1928-1932, served as the director of the Cambridge School
for its entire existence, and was the acting dean at Harvard from 1929-1930.132 He
co-wrote the 1928 publication Women in Architecture and Landscape Architecture
with fellow Harvard graduate and Cambridge design instructor William Richard
Sears.
Even though Robert Swan Sturtevant was director at Lowthorpe during the
Ries years, he is only listed as instructor of architecture and fine arts for one year, in
1928-1929. Yet he also taught a soils class; an examination booklet for that class
dated 11 March 1929, which lists Mr. Sturtevant as instructor, is in the Jane
Silverstein Ries papers.133 Sturtevant concurrently served as director of the School of
Landscape Architecture at Simmons College in Boston. He served as the first
secretary for the American Iris Society, founded in 1920, based at the New York
Botanical Gardens.134 Sturtevant helped draft the final constitution for the American
Iris Society with several other founding members. He wrote articles about irises and
132 Anthony Alofsin, The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture. Landscape Architecture and City
Planning at Harvard. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002, 33.
133 The examination answers explain such things as soil property (i.e. sand, clay, loam), elemental
makeup of nitrogen, potassium phosphate, lime, etc., short answers about top soil, subsoil, general
lawn area soil requirements, planting beds soil, and trenching techniques for planting beds. There is
also a longer essay about the composting process.
134 American Iris Society, A1S History webpage. The Founding of the AIS: A New York Story, as
published in the AIS Bulletin, Number 338, July 2005, 14 November 2008
< http://www.irises.org/historv.htm > According to this article, Grace Sturtevant, Roberts elder sister,
...won highly publicized prizes from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1917 for her
introductions, had also been very active... [in the formation of AIS]. Clearly, the Sturtevant family
was deeply entrenched in northeastern states horticulture activities, especially in Massachusetts.
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the society for publications like The Garden Magazine and The Flower Grower.135
He taught planting design and materials at Cambridge and contributed articles to
Landscape Architecture about education, including the 1927 Planting DesignIts
Study and Teaching.136 Having a landscape architect like Sturtevant as director of
the school during these crucial years may have helped fortify Lowthorpes adherence
to their horticultural emphasis on pedagogy that was more rigorous than Cambridge
or Harvard.
L. Louise Hetzer, a Horticulture instructor and Dean at Lowthorpe while Jane
was there, had taught at Lowthorpe since at least 1916, when Richard B. Kimball
wrote about her duties related to the greenhouse activities for The House Beautiful:
...a small nursery of choice varieties of perennials has been started,
in charge of Miss L. L. Hetzer... [it] gives the students a wide range for
practice in the cultivation of flowers [and] affords them a[n] opportunity
for becoming familiar with the plants they must use in their work, at all
stages of their growth. An up to date central greenhouse of four temp-
eratures is supplemented by two separate smaller houses, a cold house
for grapes, and a conservatory for hard-wooded plants, besides hot-beds
and cold frames...137
Jane had Hetzer for at least two classes, both horticulture. Exam books in the Jane
Silverstein Ries Papers, one dated 11 April 1929 and the other 11 December 1929,
had extensive plant identification lists. The December exam had a brief essay answer
about deep versus shallow rooted trees and discussions about iris and various bulb
blooming successions. Jane did not save every exam and several of them do not list
136 Landscape Architecture. 18.1 (October 1927): 52-59. For the announcement of Sturtevants 1932
resignation and Anne Baker replacing him as director of the Lowthorpe School, see School News:
Lowthorpe School, Landscape Architecture. 22.4 (July 1932): page 343.
137 Richard B. Kimball, A Little Visit to Lowthorpe. The House Beautiful. 39 (March 1916): 113.
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the class or instructor. Another Horticulture II class exam (dated 19 August 1929)
does not list an instructor but the questions reflect multiple perennial and annual plant
identifications, a discussion about aesthetics, color combinations, height of blooms
and maintenance requirements for various plant materials.138
Dorothea Harrison had an undergraduate degree in plant physiology from
Smith, received a landscape architecture certificate from the Cambridge School, and
eventually her ML A from Smith College in 1934.139 At Lowthorpe from 1928-1932,
she is listed as an instructor under the Architecture category, teaching landscape
history. She spoke of her experience:
...I would go up there [to Groton] for 2 or 3 weeks in the winter and
during the summer I would stay up there through the week and go back
I was living in Boston then.. .we would take up these different periods
and then Id give sketch problems and they would have to do a garden
in the spirit of those times...140
Perhaps Riess undated assignment of A Terraced Hillside was one such exercise,
as the plan, section and elevation illustrates principles and geometry of a formal
garden in the European traditions. (Figure 3.12)
Janes papers contain an examination book for a Landscape Design class
taught by Miss Harrison dated 18 December 1928.141 In the first essay question, Jane
138 L. Louise Hetzer died on April 15th, 1937. An announcement of her passing is on page 3 of the
June 1937 Lowthorpe Alumnae Association bulletin (JSR Papers, Box 31, FF 62). The article states
that Lowthorpe construction instructor Porter Dorr was a pallbearer. Services were held at the
Unitarian Church in Groton and Ms. Hetzer was buried in the Groton cemetery. She was 73.
139 Palmer, 132. Harrison clarifies that she received her MLA ten years after finishing her studies.
Later in the interview she also states that, regarding Yale University, ...I am an alumna because I
went there one year... 142.
140 Ibid, 135. Harrison said she ...first started up [teaching] at the Lowthorpe School and a little at the
Cambridge School...
141 See the Jane Silverstein Ries Papers. WH1785, Western History Collection, The Denver Public
Library, Box 31, File Folder 60.
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writes about her observations from the classs visit to the Webeter Place. She
describes her experience walking through the estate, highlights focal points, terrain
and grade, and the flower gardens with a sundial, Japanese pergola and hedge of tall
evergreens. There are other short essay answers to slides, one comparing the
symmetry of a garden axis and its focal point of interest to that of another slide. She
also writes answers about entrance structures, naturalistic design, rock outcroppings,
topography and an entry drive of an estate. These exam essay descriptions are
reminiscent of several archived graphite drawings on trace with titles like Planting as
Center of Interest (undated), Planting an Architectural Feature (undated),
Naturalistic Planting as Center of Interest (undated) Planting as a Screen (dated
Nov. 10, 19??, the date is cut off) and the previously mentioned Enframement (Figure
3.8). While none of these drawing exercises have instructor names or initials, they
are certainly illustrations of similar horticulture and design instruction expressed
graphically when comparing them to Janes exam responses.
Harvard graduate G. Leslie Lynch (MLA, 1924) is listed as a design instructor
in the 1929-1930 and 1930-1931 Lowthorpe School catalogues. He concurrently
taught at Ohio State University and served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the
newly formed Association of Professional Schools of Landscape Architecture
(APSLA). He wrote an article Instruction in Landscape Architecture for the April
1931 edition of Landscape Architecture, in which he argued for the need of unity
amongst faculty and staff in presenting subjects to students.142 He also firmly
142 G. Leslie Lynch, Instruction in Landscape Architecture. Landscape Architecture. 21.3 (April
1931): 242-246. There is also an article by University of Pennsylvania landscape architecture
professor Frank A. Schrepfer in this issue entitled, Problems of Education in Landscape
70


believed that all students should share one big drafting room, so that each class of
students could learn from one another. Yet for all his pro-collaborative rhetoric in the
piece, one would never know that there were women in the profession or that he
taught women because he only uses masculine pronouns when referring to students
and their work.143
Five faculty members merit a more in depth exploration because they were
pivotal historical figures at the time who either exerted an interesting and significant
influence on the school (Dawson), promoted a specific ideology related to landscape
architecture that Ries absorbed wholeheartedly (Rehmann), or could be regarded as
an example for women students to emulate (Strang). Furthermore, two instructors
Ries spoke of specifically as memorable (Pattee & White) offer a deeper glimpse into
contemporary and future influence. Combined, examining these five instructors
provide a window into the historical significance of Julia Janes education during the
years of 1928-1932 and beyond.
Architecture, which Schrepfer presented at the ASLA annual meeting in January of 1931. See pages
161-168.
143 There are additional links between visiting Lowthorpe instructors and the ASLA and/or the APSLA
with Francis Head (Harvard MLA 1923), Frederick D. Kingsbury (Harvard MLA 1921) and Robert
Nathan Cram (Harvard MLA 1922), which I will omit for now. Cram died, however, on April 3rd,
1930. See Robert Nathan Cram in Landscape Architecture. 20.4 (July 1930): 360, for a brief
obituary.
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Laura Dawson (1891-1930): A Family and Educational Connection
Between Arnold Arboretum and Lowthorpe144
Famed plants man and father of Laura Dawson, Mr. Jackson Dawson (1841-
1916) was bom in Yorkshire, England, and was an only child.145 After his father died
when young Jackson was five years old, his mother Elizabeth Thornton Dawson
moved the small family to New York City. In 1866 Jackson married Mary (Minnie)
McKenna in Andover. In late 1871 Francis Parkman, the first horticulture professor
at the Bussey Institution, who was overseeing the planning and construction of the
greenhouses.. .hired Jackson Dawson as Head Gardener. The Dawsons moved to
Jamaica Plain and occupied an apartment over the headhouse of the greenhouses at
the Bussey Institution.146 The family lived there for 15 years and of the eight
Dawson children, four boys and two girls, including the future Lowthorpe instructor
Laura Dawson, were bom during this residency. All surviving Dawson children
worked in horticulture/landscape related fields.147 Lauras older brother, James
Frederick Dawson (1874-1941) was a well-known landscape architect. Although
James Frederick did not have a landscape architecture degree, the method of learning
144 Jennifer Thomas, Raising Awareness of a Forgotten Space: Exploring the Historic Landscape
Designation Process for the Lowthorpe Campus, unpublished paper for a Historic Preservation
Seminar taught by Dr. Thomas J. Noel, University of Colorado at Denver, 7 December 2007.
Information on Laura Dawson included here is an abridged version of what was in the preservation
paper, 13-16.
145 Sheila Connor Geary and B. June Hutchinson, Mr. Dawson, Plantsman. from Amoldia. 40.2
(March 1980): 50-75. It is an interesting biography and discussion about Jacksons long tenure at the
Bussey Institute/Arnold Arboretum.
146 Ibid, 55-56.
147 Ibid, for each Dawson childs biography, see pages 66-70. George Dawson, the second son, taught
Instrumental Drawing at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on plants and landscapes. James
Frederick Dawson, the forth son, was a landscape architect at the Olmsted firm.
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through apprenticeship was still in place. After graduating from Bostons Roxbury
Latin School in 1894, James Frederick studied agriculture and horticulture at the
Bussey Institution from 1895-1896.148 Then he apprenticed at Olmsted, Olmsted &
Elliot in 1896 before becoming the first associate partner in the Olmsted Brothers
firm after Frederick Law Olmsted senior had retired in 1898.149 For much of his later
career he worked on the west coast for the Olmsted Brothers firm until his death in
1941.
Laura Blanchard Dawson was bom January 29th, 1881. Laura Dawson
attended Girls Latin School before going to Radcliffe College, graduating in 1903
with a botany degree and immediately became a resident instructor at Lowthorpe, a
school of landscape architecture for women... Laura considered teaching her most
important accomplishment. She described Lowthorpe as having ...grown.. .from a
trembling vision with one student, to a substantial professional school of first
rank.150 Laura taught there until her death in 1930.151 152 A notice published in April
of 1930 describes her passing as a great loss. It is clear that Laura Dawson was an
148 Catherine Joy Johnson, James Frederick Dawson (1874-1941), Charles Bimbaum and Robin
Karson, eds. Pioneers of American Landscape Design. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000, 76.
149 Ibid, 77.
150 Ibid, 70. Additionally, Jane Alison Knight stated that Laura graduated with a botany degree on page
103 of her thesis. That fact is not listed in the Amoldia article about Jackson Dawson.
Knight also wrote that ...Landscape gardening and plant materials were among the first
courses taught at the Lowthorpe School under the instruction of the Olmsted Brothers (professional
Landscape Architects from Brookline, Massachusetts) and Jackson Dawson (plant propagator from the
Arnold Arboretum)... 103. Knight did not cite where she attained this information and I have not
been able to verify it through other sources so I left it out. But it is possible Jackson Dawson taught at
Lowthorpe the first two years before his daughter took over in 1903.
151 Knight, 103. ... Esther Littleford Barnes, who attended the school [Lowthorpe] from 1929-1931,
recalled Miss Dawson [had] ...succumbed to pneumonia after swallowing a fish bone.
152 Lowthorpe is saddened by the irreparable loss of Miss Laura Dawson, an instructor in Plants
Materials since the School was founded on 1901. Asa daughter of the late Jackson Dawson, she was
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admired instructor, dedicated to conveying her horticultural knowledge to Lowthorpe
students. While there is no documentary evidence in the Jane Silverstein Ries papers
that definitively links Dawson to a particular class Jane took, Dawson serves as a
broader institutional link to the grander and established facilities of the Bussey
Institution/Amold Arboretum and Harvard University.
The strong appreciation of plants instructor Dawson by students extended
literally onto the Lowthorpe campus. Dawson Gate was named after her as was
Dawsons Dell, a semicircular reflecting pool in the sunken garden area, which had
Lauras namesake attached to it as early as 1925, five years before her death.153
(Figure 3.9) Dawsons Gate was built and named as a memorial to Dawson by
alumnae. (Figure 3.13) Seven years after Ms. Dawsons death the school named a
two year program the Dawson Course in Horticulture.154
While plant instruction at Lowthorpe connected in one way to the Arnold
Arboretum through the Dawsons, actual plant material on the campus was cultivated
brought up in the precincts of the Arnold Arboretum in contact with the foremost horticulturalists of
the times. She has most worthily carried on the spirit of unselfish loyalty and devotion, the joy of
sharing hard-won knowledge that distinguishes her father in the memories of all who knew him. Our
graduates remember the depth of her knowledge and her ever ready response to their many questions;
our future students will live among many growing plants that she has given. May Lowthorpe continue
worthy of inspired loyalty such as that of Laura Dawson. Gary O. Robinette, Landscape Architectural
Education: Volume 1 (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1973), 123. This book describes
Schools of Landscape Architecture by reproducing contemporaneous articles related to individual
institutions. Lowthorpe is on pages 118-128. Unfortunately, Robinette does not list the sources of
these articles, which is unfathomable. The obituary quote in this paper is most likely either from the
April 1930 Bulletin of the Garden Club of America or it could have been in the Landscape
Architecture. At this writing, I have not been able to located the original.
153 See Lowthorpe graduate Agnes Selkirk Clarks article Studying Landscape Architecture Under
Ideal Conditions, in Bulletin of the Garden Club of America. 3rd series, No. 2 (March 1925): 36-38.
She refers to the Dawson Dell while describing the Lowthorpe grounds: ...near the rock garden the
Dawson Dell where lovely varieties of heather are planted in masses against a background of
evergreens and a tiny pool reflects the columbine and iris which nod at its brim... 37.
154 1936-1937 Lowthorpe School catalogue, page 11. Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
Records, 1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives, Providence.
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and acquired by the school from the Arnold Arboretum. Kate L. Brewster wrote in
the March 1931 Bulletin of the Garden Club of America that, ...During these first
years a great deal of plant material was secured from the Arboretum and planted on
Lowthorpe grounds.155 Perhaps Jane installed some of these materials since all
students had to propagate and tend to plants in the greenhouses, maintain the campus
gardens, and complete at least one summer quarter in residence in order to observe
and work with the seasonal implications of various annual and perennial plantings.156 157
(Figure 3.14)
Students like Ries benefited greatly from Laura Dawsons link to her
childhood home of the Bussey Institution and her Radcliff botany training via her
impressive horticultural foundation. Unfortunately the Jane Silverstein Ries papers
do not have any records directly linking Dawson and Ries in a class but one of Janes
classmates, Esther Littleford Barneswho attended Lowthorpe from 1929-1931
recalled Miss Dawsons entomology course which came to an untimely end
when... Laura died in 1930. Jane mentions learning entomology at Lowthorpe in
a 1976 interview, whether she took it from Dawson or someone else remains unclear.
Undoubtedly, Jane would have interacted with Dawson during the last two years she
taught at Lowthorpe. Dawsons relevance is more than just as an admired instructor.
155 Kate L. Brewster. Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Groton, Massachusetts. Bulletin
of the Garden Club of America. 4:14 (March 1931), p. 64. The full article spans pages 64-66.
156 Selkirk Clark, 37. Selkirk Clark wrote, ...the school...has been largely developed by the students
with various types of gardens and arboretum. There are greenhouses and conservatories... For above
all at Lowthorpe one worksthe school is a laboratory...(37)...Lowthorpe...emphasizes the infinite
importance of the correct use of all plant material in relation to architecture and in relation to the
natural surroundings presented by each special problem ...(38)
157 Knight, 103.
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She is an important and overarching thread back to formidable and influential
institutions that helped form the foundation of the Lowthorpe School since its
inception because she taught from the second year it open in 1903 to her death in
1930. Furthermore, no other instructor had landscape elements honoring their legacy
on the Lowthorpe campus. Despite this, Laura Dawsons contribution to the school
remains marginally recognized, except in these garden features. Jane was fortunate to
have been at Lowthorpe for Dawsons last two years because Dawson was
historically relevant to the school and Jane certainly would have been aware of that.
Elsa RehmannInstilling Ecology and Native Plant Use Ideologies
Elsa Rehmann was from Newark, New Jersey, graduated with a Bachelor of
Arts from Barnard College in New York in 1908 and worked as an assistant to
landscape architect Marian C. Coffin.158 (Figure 3.15graduate photograph of Elsa)
Rehmann appears under the design category in the 1930-31 and 1931-32 Lowthorpe
School catalogues. She was an author of numerous articles and the often-referenced
book The Small Place: Its Landscape Architecture.159 The book discusses and
158 The Bookman: A Review of Books and Life Volume XLVII. March 1918-August 1918 New York:
Dodd, Mead and Company, 323-324. This small review of Rehmanns book, A Small Place: Its
Landscape Architecture states that she was a Barnard graduate but does not list the degree obtained or
the year of graduation. The Office of the Registrar at Barnard College noted: The only degree
Barnard awards is the Bachelor of Arts. Elsa Rehman graduated on May 27, 1908. At that time,
students did not have majors. She took courses in: Architecture (2 courses), Economics (2), English
(2), French (2), Geology (2), German (4), Italian (2), Philosophy (4), and
Sociology (2). She transferred to Barnard from Wells College, where she took Botany, Chemistry,
English, History, Latin, Math, and Zoology. Office of the Registrar, Barnard College, e-mail to the
author, 27 January 2009.
159 A copy of the 1918 edition from the Lowthorpe library is housed at the Rhode Island School of
Design in Providence, Rhode Island. Charles Bimbaum and Stephanie Foell (editors) are featuring
Elsa Rehmann in their forthcoming book Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the
Pioneers of American Landscape Design Project, to be released in the fall of 2009 by University of
Virginia Press. See < http://www.tclf.org/pioneers/pubs shaping.htm >
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illustrates fifteen small lot residential designs she considered exemplary created by
leading landscape architects of the day, including the Olmsted Brothers, Arthur A.
Shurtleff, Warren A. Manning, and the firm of Pray, Hubbard & White. She includes
three designs from women landscape architectsMarian C. Coffin, Elizabeth Bootes
Clark (an early Lowthorpe student), and Elizabeth Leonard Strang.
Rehmanns first book of specific project examples nicely compliments her
later American Plants for American Gardens Rehmann coauthored in 1929 with
Vassar College botany professor Edith A. Roberts.160 This book may be illustrative
of the approaches she instilled in assignments and critiques while at Lowthorpe. Here
projects are framed in terms of ecological types, like The Open Field, The Juniper
Hillside, and The Streamside. The authors discuss ecological, topographic and
microclimate conditions as well as specific woody and herbaceous plant materials.
Lists of sample plants accompany each chapter. The authors urge readers to consider
existing topography and flora for cues to what may work on a given site and use them
as tools for design implementation, an approach Jane Silverstein Ries took to heart.
Rehmann and Roberts preface in the introduction that garden trends in the
17th, 18th and into the 19th century frequently used old world plants in garden and
grounds designs, ignoring native flora in favor of other materials that flourished, and
they further comment that this practice, upon reconsideration is almost
160 No copy of this book exists in the Lowthorpe Library collection at RISD, however, they do not
house the complete library from Lowthorpe, just a few hundred. It stands to reason that since the book
came out while Rehmann was a guest instructor at Lowthorpe, they would have received or bought a
copy.
There are three Lowthorpe Library accession books (ledger format) in the RISD archives that
log every book acquisition; there are thousands of books listed. They are listed by date (order
received), not alphabetically. I did not go through all of the entries to verify that American Plants for
American Gardens was acquired.
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unbelievable.161 162 In light of the professions contemporaneous desires to recreate a
naturalistic looking landscape for estate and smaller scale homeowners, they argue
that designers must regard native plant materials, soil, light conditions and
topography with new eyes. Clarifying that the book focuses on the northeastern
landscapes, .. .from the Atlantic west over the Alleghenies and south to
Georgia... [they]... show the use of ecology in selecting American plant material for
American grounds and gardens. Various ecologies are summarized so that
...[t]he most important plants.. .the fundamentals that underlie each association are
indicated, and the way they can be used about the house and in relation to it are
outlined.163
The authors urge readers to observe vegetation and the accompanying
conditions during travel in order to gain insight into what thrives in any situation.
Ries probably interacted with Rehmann while at Lowthorpe, either in formal classes
or in passing. Ries would have learned an eastern plant palette and a variety of
climatic zones; based on her practice, she took the teachings and advice from the
book and courses to heart, purposefully adapting to Front Range ecologies when she
returned to Denver. Jane traveled extensively throughout her career, visiting gardens
in ...Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia,
South America, China, Japan and the Galapagos Islands in 1986 with a tour group
161 Rehmann and Roberts, 2.
162 Ibid, 3.
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from the Denver Botanic Gardens.164 One is also reminded of Reiss work at the
Anderman residence in the 1960s and 1970s, her use of native plant materials and
existing topographic features there and her close alliance with author and plant expert
George W. Kelly. He wrote several landscape books related to arid ecologies like
How to Have Good Gardens in the Sunshine States (1967) and Rocky Mountain
Horticulture: A Landscape Architecture to Fit This Area, Plants That Will Thrive
Under Arid Conditions, Cultural Methods to Keep the Plants Happy (1967), amongst
many others.165 While a direct correlation between Rehmanns writing and teaching
and these later books and activities cannot be definitively made, the parallels between
Rehmanns design advice in her books and Riess work is telling.
Elizabeth Leonard Strang (1886-1948)Woman Practitioner as Role Model
Although Elizabeth Leonard Strang is the only instructor listed under
the Design heading all four years that Ries attended Lowthorpe, her involvement
and influence on the course remains unclear. The catalogue states that, ...practicing
architects and landscape architects [are] engaged in an advisory capacity to give
special problems, lectures and criticisms...166 During this time Ms. Strang had an
impressive professional resume, both in practice and through writing and lectures, but
164 This list was her response to a question about travels in Jane Alison Knights thesis survey to
Lowthorpe Alumnae, dated 30 April 1986. Courtesy of the personal papers of Cornell University
Professor Daniel Krall.
165 For a more in depth reference to the Anderman residence and George W. Kelly, see Chapter Two of
this thesis, Brief Biography of Jane Silverstein Ries.
166 1928-29 Lowthorpe School catalogue, page 5. Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture,
Records, 1877-1954, Rhode Island School of Design Archives, Providence.
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she also had a long term relationship with the Lowthorpe School beginning in
1912.167 168
Elizabeth Leonard (Strang) was bom and raised in Auburn, New York
(Cayuga County). Upon graduating from high school in 1904, she enrolled in the
Outdoor Art Program at Cornell University, completing her Bachelor of Science
degree in that program in the College of Agriculture in 1910.169 Strang ...was one
of two or three women in the Outdoor Art Program during this time and, in fact, was
one of very few women in the entire College of Agriculture at Cornell.170 In 1910
Elizabeth Leonard briefly worked for a number of prestigious landscape architecture
firms, including Ferruccio Vitale in New York City, and Hinchman & Pilat (N.Y.C.)
before deciding to work in London for almost year at the office of Miss Lorrie
Dunington, .. .a noted English garden designer.171 Leonard returned stateside in the
fall of 1911, obtaining employment in the Boston office of landscape architect and
emerging city planner John Nolen for two years. While there, she met landscape
architect Stephen Child, a member of the Board of Directors at Lowthorpe. Strang
167 For a more complete discussion of Ms. Strangs writing and lecture contribution to the profession
see Daniel Krall, Awakening Public Consciousness... to the Meaning of Landscape Design: The
Writings of Elizabeth Leonard Strang, Proceedings of the Council of Educators in Landscape
Architecture Annual Conference. September 1997 in Asheville. North Carolina. Building Toward
Diversity.
168 Charles Bimbaum and Stephanie Foell (editors) are featuring Elizabeth Leonard Strang in their
forthcoming book Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the Pioneers of American
Landscape Design Project, to be released in the fall of 2009 by University of Virginia Press. See <
http://www.tclf.org/pioneers/pubs shaping.htm >
169 Krall, 164.
170 Idem.
171 Ibid, 165. Krall also notes that the Pilat of Hinchman & Pilat is Carl F. Pilat, the ...nephew of
famed Ignatz Pilat who was for many years the plantsman for Central Park.
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began teaching part time at Lowthorpe and Child helped her organize the coursework.
Child recommended her for membership in the ASLA in 1913. In his endorsement
for ASLA membership he wrote that Strang, .had not only shown a thorough grasp
of the subject and a knowledge of how to teach it, but had inspired the interest and
confidence of the young women whom she taught.172 173
In 1915 Leonard married author Robert Strang. Until the eruption of World
War I, continued to split her work commitments between the Nolen office and
teaching at Lowthorpe. She also became acquainted with landscape architect Ellen
Biddle Shipman (1869-1950) during this time, who hired Strang as the first assistant
171
in her emerging independent practice.
In the 1918 book The Small Place: Its Landscape Architecture by Elsa
Rehmann, Elizabeth Leonard Strang is the landscape architect of record for Problem
XIII: A Small Property with Two Gardens, the Plymouth, Massachusetts property.
Strangs location is noted as Groton, Mass.174 At around the same time the Strangs
had moved to an old farm outside of Leominster, Massachusetts, approximately 17
miles southwest of Groton, where she continued her practice and began raising their
two children. Her work began to focus more on design, writing and lecturing.
172 Idem. Krall is quoting this information from the article Necrology: Elizabeth Leonard Strang,
Landscape Architecture. 39:4 (July 1949): 194-196. The author is listed as E. G. P., probably
Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee.
173 Ibid, 166. Shipman had been working collaboratively on landscape designs with architect Charles
Adams Platt (1861-1933) and was beginning to strike out on her own. The exact years Strang worked
with Shipman are not listed, either in Krall or the E. G. P. obituary of Strang. That article simply states
that, ...A little later she went to New York, where she assisted Ellen Shipman and others in work
current at the time. (196) This would be sometime between 1911 and 1917.
174 Problem XIII, pp. 131-142 of the 1918 edition.
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Although her priorities were shifting and her continuing participation as an
instructor at Lowthorpe is difficult to define, clearly she was an active practitioner in
the field of landscape architecture that new female students could emulate. Even as a
part time lecturer, critic and assigner of design problems she was a model for young
women to follow, an example that future employment was not only possible but
probable, either within an established firm or as an independent landscape architect
striking out on her own. Whether Ries regarded Strang this way is not known but she
would have been aware that creating an independent practice would be possible based
on examples of Strang, Shipman and others. Upon Janes graduation in 1932, after a
brief stint at the office of landscape architect Irwin J. McCrary of McCrary, Culley &
Carhart, she struck out on her own, creating an independent practice that flourished
for decades.
Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee (1893-1991)Smaller Scale Residential Focus
Jane Silverstein Riess long term friend and fellow 1934 Lowthorpe graduate
Edith (Harrison) Henderson responded to Donna Palmers 1976 interview question,
...who... stands out as some of the more important members of the profession? by
stating,
...Oh my. I would say Elizabeth Pattee, certainly...shes a great influence
on my training because she was such a good teacher, knowing that she did
all that herself.. .she could give us the view from the architect as well as the
landscape architect. Having her at that time.. .having a person of her caliber
175
way back then.. .was most unusual. 175
175 Palmer, 91-92.
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Jane also briefly mentions Pattee to Palmer, suggesting she contact her because,
...shes just great... shell give you a lot of good background [for Palmers
thesis]... she was a teacher of mine...176
Pattee is listed as teaching architecture and history for the four years Jane
attended Lowthorpe. (See Figure 3.11, Table of Instructors) She graduated from the
architecture program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1916.177 178 Her
senior thesis was entitled Design for the Main Building of a Day School for Girls.
One of her more famous landscapes is Killian Court at MIT, designed with Mabel
Babcock. Although biographical information about Pattee is sparse, available
information paints a broad picture of her influence.179 She practiced as an architect
and landscape architect for many years before forming a firm with Constance E.
Peters in Boston.180 She taught at Lowthorpe for over twenty years and the after
schools closure in 1945, followed Lowthorpes incorporation into the Rhode Island
School of Design where she taught until 1965.181
176 Ibid, 117.
177 Eran Ben-Joseph, Holly D. Ben-Joseph and Anne C. Dodge. Against all Odds: MITs Pioneering
Women of Landscape Architecture. November 2006, 25 February 2008, page 21.

178 Idem.
179 Charles Bimbaum and Stephanie Foell (editors) are featuring Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee in their
forthcoming book Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the Pioneers of American
Landscape Design Project, to be released in the fall of 2009 by University of Virginia Press. See <
http://www.tclf.org/pioneers/pubs shaping.htm >
180 Allaback, 167. She writes, ...Pattee was employed by the architectural firm Stone and Webster
from 1919 to 1921 and worked briefly as a drafter for Lois Howe and Eleanor Manning in Boston...
Allaback then discusses the formation of the firm Pattee & Peters, Boston.
181 Idem. Allaback implies that Pattee was the school principal at Lowthorpe for over 20 years,
...Pattee taught architectural subjects at Lowthorpe, where she was listed as the acting principal in
1924. Allback implies that Pattee was principal at Lowthorpe for over 20 years. In the Lowthorpe
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In the 1976 interview with Donna Palmer, Pattee continued to promote the
notion that women were particularly well suited to design domestic landscapes:
... In the early years of the profession, most women specialized in domestic
or in community problems. I believe that women are especially well adapted
to such type of work as they are much more aware of and sympathetic with
the needs and pleasures of the family, their manner of living and entertaining
and the requirements of the children in the household.182 183
Pattee claimed that by the 1970s, .. .a womans practice has moved on into a greater
variety of problems; community, industrial and really almost anything that comes
Pattee commented on the professional training of up and coming landscape
architects, stating that: ... I believe that good training in plant materials and in
planting design should always be requisite for the landscape profession. At times,
there has been a tendency to downgrade the subject.. ,.184 She also felt that there
needed to be a better collaborative effort between the disciplines of architecture and
landscape architecture in institutions teaching both subjects because,
...Proper site planning is so essential with buildings, and the landscape
architect who is accustomed to working with the land, becomes much
more sensitive to this site-planning question. The architects training,
at least in the past, has not included a training in the manipulation of
ground forms, and on the whole the architect is not sensitive to their
potential value in the solving of the design for his buildings.185
school catalogues used for this paper (1928-1932) there is no principal listed under faculty or staff.
Pattee is strictly listed as instructor for those years.
For the exact dates Pattee was at RISD, see Eran Ben-Joseph, Holly D. Ben-Joseph and Anne
C. Dodge. Against all Odds: MITs Pioneering Women of Landscape Architecture. November 2006,
25 February 2008, page 21.
182 Palmer, 149.
183 Idem.
184 Ibid, 150.
185 Idem.
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