The Muses of GwinnThe Muses of Gwinn: Art and Nature in a Garden Designed by Warren H. Manning, Charles A. Platt, and Ellen Biddle Shipman

Robin Karson


Cloth $39.95

ISBN: 978-0-89831-034-4
To order, email

American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award

Gwinn, one of the best-preserved estates of the Country Place Era, was originally the home of Cleveland industrialist William Mather. It has survived as an important American work of art that today tells a story about early twentieth-century landscape style, economics, and social history.

Three innovative landscape architects collaborated on the project for more than two decades: Charles A. Platt, the architect who adapted the Italian villa to an American setting; Warren H. Manning, the well-known landscape architect, planner, and designer of parks in several states; and Ellen Biddle Shipman, who brought a new American sensibility to the art of garden design.

From a previously unpublished archive of documents and images, Robin Karson presents a richly detailed and dramatically illustrated account of the lakeside estate’s development. By illuminating the battle between formal and informal design principles in creating Gwinn, Karson reveals the larger picture of emerging style in American landscape design.

“Readers who love landscape and garden history will feel themselves transported, as if by a tale of great adventure.” —Catherine Howett, Journal of the New England Garden History Society

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), 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.

“Karson’s examination is thorough and scholarly . . . [and] includes penetrating and illuminating essays. . . . This is a rich period . . . and Karson provides welcome new insight.”
—William Lake Douglas, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians