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Public Gardens in the History of Landscape Design of Northeastern Brazil in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Aline de Figueirôa Silva, Universidade de São Paulo, Junior Fellow 2013–2014, Fall

My experience at Dumbarton Oaks contributed greatly to my doctoral dissertation, which, prior to my fellowship term, was in an early stage of the foreign literature review. I accessed library resources that are mostly unavailable in Brazil, where historical studies in garden and landscape are relatively new fields of research. I developed my dissertation by using three main groups of sources: first, authors who cover large periods of gardening in history and include nineteenth- and early twentieth-century gardens in their broad chronologies; second, monographs on public gardens or garden squares in European and American cities, which allowed me to draw some analogies to, and to establish some similarities and differences with, Brazilian gardens; and third, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books in the nineteenth-century garden debate as well as visitor accounts dating from the late nineteenth century. In addition to my research, the presentations, events, and internal discussions promoted by the Garden and Landscape Studies department helped improve my ideas, as I had the chance to hear from scholars from many parts of the world. And since public gardens in Brazil (especially in the northeast region of the country) are understudied, my research was welcomed by my peers and colleagues because it addressed a new topic in the garden research agenda.