Fletcher Steele, Landscape ArchitectFletcher Steele, Landscape Architect: An Account of the Gardenmaker’s Life, 1885–1971

Robin Karson

Revised paperback edition with more than 50 new photographs

LALH/University of Massachusetts Press

Paperback $34.95
ISBN: 978-1-55849-413-8

To order: University of Massachusetts Press
tel. 800-537-5487, fax 410-516-6998

Winner, American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award

Named one of the 75 Best Garden Books by the American Horticultural Society

For sixty years, Fletcher Steele practiced landscape architecture as a fine art, designing nearly seven hundred gardens, from Boston to Detroit, from North Carolina to Canada. Often brilliant, always original, Steele’s work is considered by many to constitute the essential link between nineteenth-century Beaux-Arts formalism and modern landscape design.

“A book to give for Christmas, or as the grandest of house presents; it’s a book to keep as well. . . . [Karson] has written a wonderful read and, in doing so, has revived an entire era in all its detail. Intelligent, theatrical, infuriating, amusing—and loveable—Steele struts off the page, giving life to his own work.”—Garden Design

“Karson has done a magnificent job in integrating carefully chosen archival drawings and pictures with contemporary photographs of many gardens. Planting plans and plant lists are offered as additional information for many of the gardens with a comprehensive list of clients. We are given simultaneously a revealing account of one of America’s greatest modern garden designers as well as an inspiring reference of garden-making as a fine art.”—Public Garden

“This is a book to be savored, to be read and re-read for enjoyment and consulted repeatedly for inspiration. The text is uncommonly readable, the descriptions of the gardens and their maker consistently perceptive and insightful. [An] exceptional volume.”—Pacific Horticulture

“Makes available to students and teachers of landscape design a wealth of material: plans, drawings, photographs, and correspondence, as well as interviews with Steele’s family, his clients and their family members, office staff and associates, and collaborators in architecture, gardening, art, and sculpture. Moreover, the text places Steele’s gardens in the context of major threads of American socioeconomic history and of the development of the young profession of landscape architecture.”—Landscape Journal

Learn more about Naumkeag, watch the film Fletcher Steele and Naumkeag: A Playground of the Imagination.

ROBIN KARSON is a landscape historian and the founder and director of the Library of American Landscape History. She has written several books about American landscape architecture, including  A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era (University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH, 2007)The Muses of Gwinn (Sagapress, 1985), and the new introduction of the LALH revised edition of Fletcher Steele’s Design in the Little Garden ( LALH, 2011). She also is the coeditor of Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw-Hill, 2000).  Karson’s books have received two Honor Awards from the ASLA, an American Horticultural Society Book Award, and a J. B. Jackson Award from the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

“A meticulously detailed, fascinating account of Steele’s life and work. Woven from the diverse threads of voluminous correspondence, project documents, notebooks, photographs, diaries, interviews, and conversations, this richly textured history reads well—no small accomplishment for so inclusive a study. . . . Karson’s fluid narrative style, seamlessly punctuated by Steele’s voice throughout, makes the considerable volume of material accessible and clear.”

—Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians