The Art of Landscape ArchitectureThe Art of Landscape Architecture

Samuel Parsons Jr.

Reprint of the 1915 edition, with a new introduction by Francis R. Kowsky

ASLA Centennial Reprint Series

Published by University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH

Cloth $39.95
Spring 2009

ISBN: 978-1-55849-695-8
To order: University of Massachusetts Press,
tel. 800-537-5487, fax 410-516-6998

Samuel Parsons Jr. (1844–1923) was one of the most well known names in the field of landscape design in the early twentieth century. A protégé of Calvert Vaux, Parsons worked with the architect until Vaux’s death in 1895. As superintendent of planting in Central Park and landscape architect to the City of New York for nearly thirty years, Parsons was, until his resignation in 1911, the last direct link in the city to the ideals of Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted.

The most widely read of Parsons’s several books, The Art of Landscape Architecture (1915) was an affectionate summing up of the theories and built work that had inspired America’s first generation of landscape architects. Parsons illustrated his book with photographs depicting a wide range of landscapes, including several of the park designed by the German landscape gardener Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau.

A new introduction by Francis R. Kowsky explores Parsons’s contributions to the nascent profession of landscape architecture, his championing of the work of Pückler-Muskau, his defense of Olmsted and Vaux’s vision for Central Park, and his own successful landscape designs.

FRANCIS R. KOWSKY, Ph.D., a State University of New York Distinguished Professor emeritus of art history at Buffalo State College, is also the author of Country, Park, and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux (Oxford University Press, 1998, 2003). His forthcoming book, The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System, is anticipated in 2013.

Download the Introduction

“Samuel Parsons is without a doubt the unsung hero of Central Park, having spent his entire career defending it from those who would have compromised Olmsted and Vaux’s masterpiece. The LALH reprint of Parsons’s book with its wonderful new introduction by Frank Kowsky is a must-read for those who love the Park and want to have a deep understanding of Parsons’s role in protecting this enduring national treasure and work of art.”
—Douglas Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator