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Henry Shaw’s Victorian Landscapes
The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park

Carol Grove
Foreword by Peter H. Raven, afterword by John Karel

Henry Shaw’s Victorian Landscapes  Cover Image Look inside

About the Author


Carol Grove

Carol Grove, adjunct assistant professor of American art, University of Missouri–Columbia, is author of Henry Shaw’s Victorian Landscapes: The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park, and coauthor, with Cydney Millstein, of Hare & Hare, Landscape Architects and City Planners and Houses of Mississippi, 1870–1940.

Henry Shaw’s Victorian Landscapes
The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park

Carol Grove
Foreword by Peter H. Raven, afterword by John Karel

Library of American Landscape History

ISBN: 978-1-952620-09-6 Page Count: 256
Price: $40.00 | Cloth Published: 10/25/2005
Order Online

At the age of eighteen, Henry Shaw (1800–1889) left his home in Sheffield, England, to import manufactured goods from St. Louis on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Two decades of financial success allowed him to retire and take up more genteel pursuits. In 1840 he began nearly ten years of travel, which exposed him to museums and botanical gardens in Europe, Asia Minor, and Russia. He also visited Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, England, where he saw Joseph Paxton’s arboretum and the duke of Devonshire’s world-class botanical collection. He vowed to create a similar cultural enterprise in St. Louis.

Over the next three decades, Shaw transformed his estate, Tower Grove, into one of the nation’s leading botanical gardens. Shaw’s Garden (now the Missouri Botanical Garden) opened in 1859 to legions of enthusiastic visitors. Over the next thirty years, Shaw expanded the plantings, drawing on species introduced by the era’s great plant hunters. In 1867 he began work on Tower Grove Park on 276 acres adjacent to the garden. Despite the rising popularity of Frederick Law Olmsted’s pastoral style, Shaw again chose to design with a gardenesque method that emphasized plants as specimens, in keeping with his educational mission. He labeled all trees and ornamented the landscape with Oriental-inspired pavilions and summerhouses.

Carol Grove chronicles Shaw’s remarkable story, from his early love of plants to his rising social conscience and his determined quest to create a place of unsurpassed beauty and distinction that would educate and thereby improve Americans. Beautifully illustrated with contemporary and historical photographs, this volume offers an insightful cultural history of Shaw’s landscapes, among the most important examples of the gardenesque in America.

“Henry Shaw made magnificent contributions to his adopted city, and his influence continues to grow nearly 120 years after his death.”

Professor Peter H. Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Engelmann Professor of Botany, Washington University in St. Louis

“This study by Carol Grove significantly advances our understanding of the background of Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Her research has marshaled known sources and also made some new connections that help to illuminate this period in the history of American landscape design through the prism of one visionary philanthropist’s experiences.”

John Karel, Director, Tower Grove Park
  • 2007 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice
  • 2007 Independent Publisher Bronze Medal

About the Author


Carol Grove

Carol Grove, adjunct assistant professor of American art, University of Missouri–Columbia, is author of Henry Shaw’s Victorian Landscapes: The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park, and coauthor, with Cydney Millstein, of Hare & Hare, Landscape Architects and City Planners and Houses of Mississippi, 1870–1940.