Ellen Shipman and the American Garden

Judith B. Tankard

An influential grande dame of landscape design who advocated for women


Between 1914 and 1950, Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869–1950) designed more than 650 gardens, and her commissions spanned the United States, from Long Island’s Gold Coast to the state of Washington. In high demand for her formal gardens and lush planting style, her elite clients included Fords, Rockefellers, Astors, and du Ponts. Shipman’s imaginative approach merged elements from the Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts movements with a distinctive ability to create sensual, secluded landscapes.

In Ellen Shipman and the American Garden author Judith B. Tankard describes Shipman’s remarkable life and discusses fifty of her major works, including the Stan Hywet Gardens in Akron, Ohio; Longue Vue Gardens in New Orleans; and Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. Richly illustrated with plans and photographs, this expanded and revised edition reveals Shipman’s ability to combine plants for dramatic impact and create spaces of the utmost intimacy. Tankard also examines Shipman’s unusual life, including a childhood on the American frontier; years in the artists’ colony of Cornish, New Hampshire; and her long association with artist and architect Charles Platt. Shipman was also notable for establishing a thriving New York City practice and acting as an advocate for women in the profession, as she trained several other successful designers in her all-female office.

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 a landscape historian, preservation consultant, and the author or coauthor of seven other illustrated books on landscape history, including Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden. She taught at the Landscape Institute, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, for more than twenty years.