Ellen Shipman and the American Garden

Judith B. Tankard

An influential landscape architect who helped shape the American garden


"This is a 'revised and expanded' edition of the significant 1996 rediscovery of Ellen Shipman (1869-1950). Tankard (emer., Landscape Institute of Harvard Univ.) explores the life and the works of an important pioneering woman garden designer. Extraordinarily successful, Shipman designed or enhanced over 600 gardens; many of them are now gone, victims of the changings tastes and shifting fortunes of their owners. . . Most significant is the new 29-page introduction featuring contemporary color photographs of surviving gardens (the 1996 book used only vintage black-and-white illustrations) along with major insights into the revival of Shipman's reputuation, renewed interest in her gardens, and scholarship devoted to her career."
—I. Richman, CHOICE

"Ellen Shipman and the American Garden provides a poignant reminder of the transitory nature of garden art and the ease in which landscapes, and the careers of those who create them, can be obscured or lost by the passage of time. Its story, of rediscovery, reimagination and recreation is an inspiration to those dedicated to the history of the American garden."
—Patrice Todisco, Planning + Design Professional


Between 1914 and 1950, Ellen Shipman (1869–1950) designed more than 600 gardens in the United States, from Long Island's Gold Coast to the state of Washington. Her secluded, lush formal gardens attracted a clientele that included Fords, Edisons, Astors, and du Ponts. Shipman’s imaginative approach merged elements of the Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts movements with a unique planting style enlivened by Impressionistic washes of color.

In Ellen Shipman and the American Garden author Judith B. Tankard describes Shipman’s remarkable life and discusses her major works, including the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida; Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio; Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, and Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. Richly illustrated with plans and photographs, the book explores Shipman’s ability to create intimate spaces through dense plantings, evocative water features, and classical ornament. Tankard also examines Shipman's unusual life, which was enriched by her years in the artists' colony of Cornish, New Hampshire, and her association with the architect Charles A. Platt. Shipman was notable for establishing a thriving New York City practice and mentoring women in the profession. Many of the assistants she trained in her all-female office went on to become successful designers in other parts of the country.

Published in association with the Library of American Landscape History

Page count: 320
215 b&w and color photos, including plans, and contemporary and historic images
Trim size: 8.25 x 10.5


List price: $39.95

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JUDITH B. TANKARD is an art historian, preservation consultant, and the author or coauthor of nine illustrated books on landscape history, including Beatrix Farrand: Private Gardens, Public Landscapes. She taught at the Landscape Institute at Harvard University for more than twenty years and edited The Journal of the New England Garden History Society.