James Bryce

Bryce, James

James Bryce began working for Dumbarton Oaks as a gardener under the supervision of William Gray. In 1937, Gray died suddenly, and the Blisses promoted James Bryce to the position of head gardener, or Superintendent. Bryce served in this position from 1937 to 1948, presiding over both the transition from private estate to Harvard institution as well as the difficult World War II years. As head gardener, Bryce collaborated with Beatrix Farrand, Ruth Havey, and Dumbarton Oaks Director John Thacher. His strong personality earned him a reputation for occasionally being difficult, but his knowledge of plants and skill at gardening was impressive. During the war years, Bryce led other Dumbarton Oaks staff in giving Victory Garden demonstrations to local groups. These demonstrations took place in both the Dumbarton Oaks Kitchen Gardens as well as on a half-acre of land at Massachusetts and Whitehaven St. NW that Mildred Bliss donated to the community for Victory Garden plots. Bryce left his position at Dumbarton Oaks and moved to Florida in the summer of 1949.

 

References:

1930 United States Census (Population Schedule), Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; p. 8A, Line 7, James Bryce household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com, accessed August 4, 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 296.

1940 United States Census (Population Schedule), Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; p. 8A, Line 37, James Bryce household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com, accessed August 4, 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 561.

Aitchison, Siobhan. “DC Victory Gardeners Advised by Professional Soil Tillers,” D.O. Garden Stories. Accessed June 6, 2014. http://www.planetable.org/omeka/items/show/274

Garden Archives Correspondence.