books

LALH_Web_BookPages-Cushing-look-onsideArthur A. Shurcliff:  Design, Preservation, and the Creation of the Colonial Williamsburg Landscape

Elizabeth Hope Cushing

Published by University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH

Cloth $39.95
August 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62534-039-9
To order: University of Massachusetts Press
tel. 800-537-5487, fax 410-516-6998

A volume in the series Designing the American Park.

In 1928, the landscape architect Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957) began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape—Colonial Williamsburg, a project that stretched into the 1940s and included town and highway planning as well as residential and institutional gardens.

Shurcliff graduated from MIT with a degree in engineering in 1894 but was drawn to landscape architecture. Because no formal programs existed at the time, on the advice of Frederick Law Olmsted and with the aid of his mentor, Charles Eliot, he went on to piece together courses at Harvard College, the Lawrence Scientific School, and the Bussey Institute, earning a second B.S. two years later. He then spent eight years working in the Olmsted office, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession.

Opening his own practice in 1904, Shurcliff emphasized his expertise in town planning, preparing, through the years, plans for towns surrounding Boston and for several industrial communities. He designed recreational spaces in and around Boston, including significant aspects of the Franklin Park Zoo and the Charles River Esplanade, one of Shurcliff’s major projects in the region.

In Cushing’s richly illustrated biography, we see how Shurcliff’s early years in Boston, his training, his early design and planning work, and his experience creating an Arts and Crafts style summer compound in Ipswich led to Colonial Williamsburg, his largest and most significant contribution to American landscape architecture.

ELIZABETH HOPE CUSHING, Ph.D., is also coauthor, with Keith N. Morgan and Roger Reed, of another LALH title, Community by Design. Cushing is a practicing landscape historian who consults, writes, and lectures on landscape matters. She has written cultural landscape history reports for the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, The National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other institutions and agencies. Her contributor credits include Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill Companies, 2000), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Shaping the American Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2009), and Drawing Toward Home (Historic New England, 2010). She has received a grant from the Gill Family Foundation to write a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

Download the Introduction