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The Art which Mends Nature: The Contributions of Garden and Forest to the History of American Environmentalism

Eric A. MacDonald, University of Georgia, Fellow 2008/09

During the term of my fellowship in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, I expanded my research of a horticultural journal entitled Garden and Forest, which was published in the United States from 1888 through 1897. This research included an examination of nineteenth-century texts related to gardening, landscape design, horticulture, and forestry, as well as recent historical accounts of the development of these fields. I also studied manuscript materials at the Loeb Library of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and at the Library of the Arnold Arboretum. I used this research to begin composing a book manuscript that offers an account of the contributions of Garden and Forest to American environmental thought and environmental practices during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The manuscript consists of ten chapters, and during the fellowship term I completed preliminary drafts of seven. In late March, I presented a paper based on my research at the annual meeting of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association. Another paper has been accepted for a symposium on American landscape architectural history, which will be held in May 2010 at the University of Maryland. Aside from my research on Garden and Forest, I enjoyed consulting informally with the Dumbarton Oaks garden staff on various landscape management matters. My experience at Dumbarton Oaks renewed my passion for environmental design history, and strengthened my professional commitment to bridging historical scholarship and contemporary landscape management.

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