Archives of American Gardens

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Archives of American Gardens
Archives of American Gardens
Established1992
LocationCapital Gallery Building, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°53′09″N77°01′17″W / 38.885955°N 77.021499°W / 38.885955; -77.021499
Type Archives
Public transit access L'Enfant Plaza (Washington Metro)
Website Official website

The Archives of American Gardens (known colloquially as AAG) is an archive dedicated to preserving documentation and content related to gardens in the United States. Established in 1992, the Archives are located in Washington, D.C., United States, and are maintained by Smithsonian Gardens, a unit of the Smithsonian Institution.

Contents

As a research center, the Archives of American Gardens houses around 80,000 photographic images and records which pertain to over 6,350 [1] gardens throughout the United States. Photographs and images date from the 1870s [1] to the present and showcase garden features such as fountains, sculptures, fences and gates, parterres, and garden structures. The Archives also documents garden styles, such as large Italianate estates, herb and rose gardens, cottage and patio gardens, xeriscapes, and community gardens.

Mission

To collect and make available for research use unique, high quality images of and documentation relating to a wide variety of cultivated gardens throughout the United States that are not documented elsewhere since historic, designed and cultural landscapes are subject to change, loss and destruction. In this way, AAG strives to preserve and highlight a meaningful compendium of significant aspects of gardening in the United States for the benefit of researchers and the public today and in the future. [1]

Collection

The AAG maintains photographs, images, drawings, written documentation, business files, garden plans and related material, of over 6,350 gardens in the United States. It also collects documentation related to landscape architects, including the collections of Thomas Warren Sears, Robert M. Fletcher, and Perry Wheeler. The Garden Club of America Collection, which was donated in 1992, includes documentation of landscape architects such as Marian Coffin, Lawrence Halprin, Beatrix Farrand, Hare & Hare, Gertrude Jekyll, Umberto Innocenti, Jens Jensen, Charles Platt, Ellen Biddle Shipman, and Fletcher Steele. [1] Also present are the collections of J. Horace McFarland, Katharine Lane Weems's estate, The Chimneys, postcard collections, and documentation about the Smithsonian's own gardens. [1]

The Archives has a collection of over 37,000 35mm slides of gardens, and a collection of over 3,000 hand-colored glass lantern slides from the 1920s and 1930s. [1] The lantern slides had been created by Garden Club of America members in the early 20th century for use in lectures and presentations, and are a valuable record of hundreds of early 20th century American gardens. They had been stored in the offices of the GCA and were nearly disposed of and lost in the 1960s, before GCA Bulletin photographic editor Harriet Jackson Phelps realised their historical value. After many failed attempts to get them housed in museums or institutions at the time, they were divided and stored by members until the Archives agreed to house them. [2] Much of their importance lies in the documenting of many gardens that no longer exist or have fallen into disrepair. [3] Other gardens, such as the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have gone through several incarnations, and important information on early plantings has been preserved. [4]

Local garden clubs affiliated with the Garden Club of America, such as the Litchfield Garden Club in Litchfield County, Connecticut, are documenting their local gardens and submitting to the archives. [5]

In order to encourage the study of garden history and garden design and aid in cataloguing The Garden Club of America Collection at the Archives, the Garden Club of America has a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate students to intern at the Archives of American Gardens. [6]

"Community of Gardens" is a website and a free mobile app where people can view some of the digital archives of AAG, and share their own personal stories, photos, video and audio of gardens around the world. [7] [8]

Related Research Articles

Magic lantern Type of image projector

The magic lantern, also known by its Latin name laterna magica, is an early type of image projector that used pictures—paintings, prints, or photographs—on transparent plates, one or more lenses, and a light source. It was mostly developed in the 17th century and commonly used for entertainment purposes. It was increasingly used for education during the 19th century. Since the late 19th century, smaller versions were also mass-produced as toys. The magic lantern was in wide use from the 18th century until the mid-20th century when it was superseded by a compact version that could hold many 35 mm photographic slides: the slide projector.

Slide library library with collection of photographic slides

A slide library is a library that houses a collection of photographic slides, either as a part of a larger library or photo archive, or standing alone within a larger organization, such as an academic department of a college or university, a museum, or a corporation. Typically, a "slide library" contains slides depicting artwork, architecture, or cultural objects, and is typically used for the study, teaching, and documentation of art history, architectural history, and visual culture. Other academic disciplines, such as biology and other sciences, also maintain image collections akin to slide libraries. Corporations may also have image libraries to maintain and document their publications and history. Increasingly, these types of libraries are known as "Visual Resources Collections," as they may be responsible for all "visual" materials for the study of a subject and include still and moving images in a variety of physical and virtual formats. They may contain:

Slide show

A slide show is a presentation of a series of still images on a projection screen or electronic display device, typically in a prearranged sequence. The changes may be automatic and at regular intervals or they may be manually controlled by a presenter or the viewer. Slide shows originally consisted of a series of individual photographic slides projected onto a screen with a slide projector. When referring to the video or computer-based visual equivalent, in which the slides are not individual physical objects, the term is often written as one word, slideshow.

Fletcher Steele

Fletcher Steele was an American landscape architect credited with designing and creating over 700 gardens from 1915 to the time of his death.

Andrew Jackson Downing American landscape designer & horticulturalist

Andrew Jackson Downing was an American landscape designer, horticulturist, and writer, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival in the United States, and editor of The Horticulturist magazine (1846–52). Downing is considered to be a founder of American landscape architecture.

Heritage Documentation Programs Division of the U.S. National Park Service

Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). These programs were established to document historic places in the United States. Records consist of measured drawings, archival photographs, and written reports, and are archived in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

Conservation and restoration of historic gardens

Historic garden conservation is a specialised type of historic preservation and conservation or restoration concerned with historical and landmark gardens and designed landscapes.

Christopher Makos American photographer

Christopher Makos is an American photographer and artist. He apprenticed with photographer Man Ray in Paris and collaborated with Andy Warhol, whom he showed how to use his first camera.

Digital photograph restoration

Digital photograph restoration is the practice of restoring the appearance of a digital copy of a physical photograph which has been damaged by natural, man-made, or environmental causes or simply affected by age or neglect.

D-Scribe Digital Publishing

D-Scribe Digital Publishing is an open access electronic publishing program of the University Library System (ULS) of the University of Pittsburgh. It comprises over 100 thematic collections that together contain over 100,000 digital objects. This content, most of which is available through open access, includes both digitized versions of materials from the collections of the University of Pittsburgh and other local institutions as well as original 'born-electronic' content actively contributed by scholars worldwide. D-Scribe includes such items as photographs, maps, books, journal articles, dissertations, government documents, and technical reports, along with over 745 previously out-of-print titles published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The digital publishing efforts of the University Library System began in 1998 and have won praise for their innovation from the leadership at the Association of Research Libraries and peer institutions.

The Garden Club of America is a nonprofit organization made up of around 18,000 club members and 200 local garden clubs around the United States. Founded in 1913, by Elizabeth Price Martin and Ernestine Abercrombie Goodman, it promotes the recording and enjoyment of American gardens as well as conservation and horticulture.

Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.

Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. was an American pictorialist photographer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was one of the first Americans to be admitted to the Linked Ring, and his photographs won dozens of medals at exhibitions around the world in the 1890s and early 1900s. He was famous among his contemporaries for his portraits of high-society women, most notably model and singer Evelyn Nesbit. Eickemeyer's best-known photographs are now part of the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

William H. Rau

William Herman Rau was an American photographer, active primarily in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best remembered for his stereo cards of sites around the world, and for his panoramic photographs of sites along the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was official photographer of the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, and of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland in 1905. His work is now included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Getty Museum.

Smithsonian Gardens

The Smithsonian Gardens, a division of the Smithsonian Institution, is responsible for the "landscapes, interiorscapes, and horticulture-related collections and exhibits", which serve as an outdoor extension of the Smithsonian's museums and learning spaces in Washington, D.C. Established in 1972 as a groundskeeping and horticulture program, Smithsonian Gardens currently manages 180 acres of gardens on the National Mall, 64,000 square feet of greenhouse production space, and the Archives of American Gardens, a research collection of over 60,000 photographs and archival records covering American landscape history from the 1870s to the present.

Paul J. Smith was an arts administrator, curator, and artist based in New York. Smith was professionally involved with the art, craft, and design fields since the early 1950s and was closely associated with the twentieth-century studio craft movement in the United States. He joined the staff of the American Craftsmen's Council in 1957, and in 1963 was appointed Director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, a position he held for the next 24 years. In September 1987, he assumed the title of director emeritus and continued to work as an independent curator and consultant for museums, arts organizations, and collectors.

Cultural property documentation Aspect of collections care

The documentation of cultural property is a critical aspect of collections care. As stewards of cultural property, museums collect and preserve not only objects but the research and documentation connected to those objects, in order to more effectively care for them. Documenting cultural heritage is a collaborative effort. Essentially, registrars, collection managers, conservators, and curators all contribute to the task of recording and preserving information regarding collections. There are two main types of documentation museums are responsible for: records generated in the registration process—accessions, loans, inventories, etc. and information regarding research on objects and their historical significance. Properly maintaining both types of documentation is vital to preserving cultural heritage.

Photograph conservator Professional who examines photographs

A photograph conservator is a professional who examines, documents, researches, and treats photographs, including documenting the structure and condition of art works through written and photographic records, monitoring conditions of works in storage and exhibition and transit environments. This person also performs all aspects of the treatment of photographs and related artworks with adherence to the professional Code of Ethics.

Louisa Boyd Yeomans King American gardener, author, and advocate of gardening and horticulture

Louisa Boyd Yeomans King was an American gardener and author who became a leading advocate of gardening and horticulture, especially in connection with the garden club movement. She wrote on horticultural topics as Mrs. Francis King.

Mary Helen Wingate Lloyd (1868–1934) was an American horticulturist who was a founding member of the American Iris Society and creator of a celebrated "iris bowl" garden.

Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt (1882-1963) was an American bookbinder and book collector, specializing in botanical literature.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Archives of American Gardens". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on April 25, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  2. Reade, Eleanor Weller (May 1, 2007). "Savaing The Glass Slides". Horticulture: The Art & Science of Smart Gardening. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  3. Gail Lee Dubrow, Jennifer B. Goodman (2003). Restoring women's history through historic preservation. JHU Press. p. 46. ISBN   0-8018-7052-6.
  4. Osster, Douglas (September 22, 2001). "Gardens stay evergreen in archive". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA: PG Publishing Co., Inc.
  5. Martin, Tovah (May 25, 2011). "Chronicling Litchfield Gardens". Litchfield County Times. Litchfield, CT: The Litchfield County Times.
  6. "The Garden Club of America Scholarship in Garden History and Design at the Archives of American Gardens". Garden Club of America.
  7. "Explore a Growing Archive of American Gardens with a New Smithsonian App". Hyperallergic . April 7, 2017.
  8. Fox, Kate (April 27, 2015). "Growing a Digital Garden Archive". Smithsonian.