Pioneers of American Landscape DesignPioneers of American Landscape Design

Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Karson, Editors


Cloth $59.95 (original price)
ISBN: 978-0-07134-420-3
We regret that this title is out of print. Search for used copies at
Spring 2000

American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award in Communications

Pioneers of American Landscape Design is the first reference book of its kind. The encyclopedic survey presents engaging biographies of more than 160 prominent landscape architects, horticulturists, planners, and engineers who shaped cities, suburbs, parks and gardens across the United States. With 450 plans and photographs, Pioneers is providing valuable new information to landscape architects, historians, students, and preservationists working to secure National Register nominations, as well as general readers interested in American landscape design.

This survey ranges from the eighteenth century to the modern period. It includes profiles of such well-known figures as Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Law Olmsted, Beatrix Farrand, and James Rose, as well as lesser-known designers, including many women landscape architects. Each entry weaves together details of the practitioner’s life and professional career and includes illustrations of major projects, followed by a brief bibliography. A list of sites where practitioners’ works may be visited is also included.

Contributors skillfully discuss various design concepts as well as more general, pragmatic realities of preservation. Pioneers is an excellent resource for the growing movement to preserve historic landscapes.

Pioneers will quickly become an indispensable resource for anyone working in the field.”
—Patricia Lowry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CHARLES A. BIRNBAUM, FASLA, FAAR, is the founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. He has edited or contributed to several other publications, including The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (National Park Service, 1996), Shaping the American Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2009), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (University of Virginia Press, 2005), Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture (1999), and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible (2004, both for Spacemaker Press).

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)Fletcher Steele, Landscape Architect (Sagapress,1989; University of Massachusetts Press in association with LALH, 2005)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). 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.


“It’s the first of its kind in America . . . a valuable tool.”
—Anne Raver, New York Times

“Charles Birnbaum and Robin Karson have . . . made an incalculable contribution to America’s heritage, landscape architectural history, and the depth and diversity of the roots from which landscape architects draw their identity and pride.”
—Robert Scarfo, Landscape Architecture