Beatrix Farrand: A Pioneer in the ‘Man’s World’ of Landscape Architecture

Last year, Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959) was inducted posthumously into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame for her pioneering work and achievements in the field of landscape architecture. Featured as part of the event, titled “Shaping our World: Women in Design & Innovation,” was a short tribute film (above) in which author, landscape historian, and longtime Garden Conservancy member Judith Tankard details Farrand’s inspiring accomplishments in an otherwise “man’s world.”

“It was very unusual for a woman to get any kind of commission for anything other than a ‘flower garden,’ whereas the men took on the great missions of ‘landscape architecture.’ She was the first woman to cross that invisible line,” says Judith in the film.

Farrand is renowned for her landscape designs at Princeton and Yale, among many other projects, including the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, ME, Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, and the summer estate of Edward and Mary Harkness in Waterford, CT (now Harkness Memorial State Park) in Waterford, CT . She was the only woman among eleven founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Later this summer, subscribers to our Society of Fellows garden-study tour to Maine will visit Mt. Desert Island, where Farrand lived and worked in the last part of her life, and where the Beatrix Farrand Society is located. Judith Tankard was a Board member and Vice-President of the Society and is advising us on this tour. Judith is also a stalwart regional representative and garden host in our Open Days program and a frequent speaker at our educational events.