research: Manning Project

The Warren H. Manning Research Project

In 2004 LALH launched a collaborative survey project to recover information about the career of Warren H. Manning (1860–1938), an important American landscape architect and planner who worked in almost every state in the nation and whose methods and projects influenced many aspects of these professions. Using a unique research model developed for this project, the LALH initiative has successfully recovered significant information about Manning’s “lost” landscapes.

The newly acquired data provides a basis for an illustrated book that will support preservation and rehabilitation of Manning’s extant landscape designs and provide useful context for further research into his work. The publication will be suitable for interested general readers, students, landscape architects, planners, and preservation specialists.


Robin Karson directs the Warren H. Manning Research Project and is executive director and founder of the Library of American Landscape History in Amherst, Massachusetts, and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. She has written on Manning for several publications, including Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architect (1989, rev. 2003); Nature and Ideology (contributor, 1993); The Muses of Gwinn (1995); Pioneers of American Landscape Design (contributor, 2000); and A Genius for Place (2007).

Jane Roy Brown, a writer and editor, coordinates the Warren H. Manning Research Project and is the director of educational outreach for the Library of American Landscape History. She earned a certificate in landscape-design history at the former Radcliffe Seminars program at Radcliffe College (now the Landscape Institute at Boston Architectural College).


Arnold R. Alanen, PhD, Honorary ASLA, is an emeritus professor and former chair of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he served as the co-founder and co-editor of Landscape Journal. He has received numerous research and communication awards from ASLA, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), the Society for Architectural Historians, the Pioneer America Society, Finlandia Foundation National, and several other organizations. The University of Wisconsin Alumni Foundation recognized him with its outstanding teaching award in 1984, and CELA named him a Fellow in 2007. He has written extensively about landscape history, cultural landscapes, company towns and planned communities (including Gwinn, Michigan), and ethnic settlements. His numerous publications include Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel, and the Forging of a Company Town (2007), and Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America (co-edited, 2000).

Phyllis Andersen, ASLA, is a landscape historian and urban landscape specialist. She was director of the Institute for Cultural Landscape Studies of the Arnold Arboretum. Earlier she coordinated the Arboretum’s cooperative agreement with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. She worked on urban landscape issues for the Boston Parks Department, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. She is a long-time instructor at the Landscape Institute of the Boston Architectural College, a program previously situated at the Arnold Arboretum and earlier at the Radcliffe Institute. She has also taught at the Yale College Seminar Program and Roxbury Community College. She is the author of numerous articles and several book chapters. She is currently working on a book with a working title of A Matter of Taste: The Public Pleasure Garden and Civic Life for the University of Virginia Press.

Michael Barton is a professor of American studies and social science and director of the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. His interest in Manning came out of his research on Harrisburg’s City Beautiful movement, which is described in his books Life by the Moving Road: An Illustrated History of Greater Harrisburg (2nd ed. 1998), Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward (2002), and Bellevue Park: The First 100 Years (2009).

Reid Bertone-Johnson, ASLA, a former coordinator of the LALH Warren H. Manning Research Project, is an instructor in Landscape Studies at Smith College, where he has expanded the studio program and integrated the work of his studio classes into projects important to both the college and the City of Northampton, Mass. Bertone-Johnson develops studio projects that take advantage of his own expertise in sustainable landscape design, broad-scale landscape design, regional planning, and the interpretation and preservation of historic landscapes. Also at Smith, he manages the Ada & Archibald MacLeish Field Station of the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability. He is working to develop the field station into a world-class environmental education facility, engaging Smith undergraduates in the process.

Lynn Bjorkman, AICP, is an architectural historian and preservation planner who worked for the National Park Service at Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet, Michigan. Her work in Upper Michigan and her interests in landscape history led to her studies of Warren Manning’s design projects for copper mining communities in Calumet and Warren, Arizona.

Mackenzie Greer earned a dual degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in landscape architecture and regional planning while coordinating the Manning Research Project from 2007–2009. She now works as a community planner with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, providing planning and community development services to communities in Berkshire County. Mackenzie enjoys lake living in Lanesboro, Mass., with her husband and son.

William J. Grundmann, ASLA, is a former Associate Professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he was a founding curator of the Warren H. Manning Collection. The collection consists of approximately 1,850 of Manning’s drawings, plans, and blueprints; photographs and clippings; glass lantern slides; published Manning office project reports; and journal articles by and about Manning. Grundmann has published a brief article on Manning in American Landscape Architecture: Designers and Places, presented a paper on the Milwaukee parks designed by Manning, and been involved with rehabilitation and restoration plans for several historic properties in the Midwest.

Martha Lyon, ASLA, is a registered landscape architect, adjunct professor of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts, and proprietor of Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC, a firm based in Northampton, Massachusetts, specializing in design, historic preservation, and planning. While restoring an historic cemetery in 2003, she discovered the oldest known drawing prepared by Warren Manning, an illustration of his 1888 design for the Straw Lot of Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, New Hampshire. In 2004, she published “The Legacy of Warren Manning,” an article detailing Manning’s work in New Hampshire and Maine, in the Journal of the Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks and Landscapes.

Please consider making a donation to support this project. The Manning project owes its progress thus far to support from LALH members and from foundations, including Viburnum Trilobum Fund of the New York Community Trust; William Gwinn and Elizabeth Ring Mather Fund (Cleveland, Ohio); Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust; International Music and Art Foundation; and Directors of the Library of American Landscape History.

Banner photo credit: Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, N.Y. (detail).  Photo by Carol Betsch.