The History of Early American Landscape Design digital resource represents an inquiry into the language of early American landscape aesthetics and garden design in the colonial and national periods. Thousands of texts are combined with a corpus of more than 1700 images in order to trace the development of landscape and garden terminology from British colonial America to the mid-19th century. By placing terms in relation to representations in the visual record, the project clarifies and corrects their meanings, providing for more informed histories of designed landscapes in early America.
The project is organized by 100 keywords, supported by 100 featured places and historical figures. Without claiming to be comprehensive, this project models an approach to the study of landscapes and gardens that helps scholars consider past cultural conditions, uncover former appearances, and better understand the experiences and meanings of designed environments as they were built, and also as they were imagined.
These essays first appeared in the original publication Keywords in American Landscape Design (Yale University Press, 2010) from which this site originated. The investigation into the history of early American landscape design has continued with the advantage of the digital platform and the addition of approximately one hundred individual pages dedicated to People and to Places to the original one hundred Keywords pages. These introductory essays remain a fundamental contribution to the project with insight and guidance on navigating its content.
Read more about the Center's research projects.