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The Serviceable Ghost: The Forgotten Role of the Gardener in England from 1600 to 1730

Sally O’Halloran, University of Sheffield, Summer Fellow 2009/10

I had a very clear plan set out before I came to Dumbarton Oaks, which was to use the published horticultural literature in the Rare Book Collection to interpret my archival material on gardeners in seventeenth– and eighteenth-century England. What I did not plan for were all the hidden resources at Dumbarton Oaks that have made my six weeks even more valuable and productive than I could have possibly imagined. To begin with, the staff could not have been more helpful, in particular Linda Lott in the Rare Book Collection. Her suggestions provided additional references, which I had missed in my preparatory research, that will add support to my research arguments. Through our lively lunchtime discussions, the other garden and landscape fellows shared tips on effective research methods, possible relevant contacts to meet in America, and gardens to visit. One of these discussions led to an extremely worthwhile meeting with Dr. Therese O'Malley, Associate Dean at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Through our daily contact, the other fellows and I have formed friendships that I am sure will be sustained for many years to come. I am leaving Dumbarton Oaks with visible results in the form of two chapters written for my dissertation, but, just as importantly, with the establishment of strong professional and international relationships.

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