Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:30pm

A Pioneering Female Landscape Architect in Victorian Times

Sponsored by: New Haven Museum

Six-time Emmy Award winning documentary maker Karyl Evans will introduce her film: “The Life and Gardens of BEATRIX FARRAND” in a screening at New Haven Museum on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. In an age when a middle or upper-class woman’s sole aim in life was expected to be marriage and children, Beatrix Farrand instead went to Harvard and Columbia, and opened her own landscape design business, at the age of 23, in 1895. She did marry, at 41, after she had designed gardens for some of the most prestigious homes in Connecticut and across the U.S, including the White House.


In an age when a middle or upper-class woman’s sole aim in life was expected to be marriage and children, Beatrix Farrand instead went to Harvard and Columbia, and opened her own landscape design business, at the age of 23, in 1895. She did marry, at 41, after she had designed gardens for some of the most prestigious homes in Connecticut and across the U.S, including the White House.

An avid gardener herself, with a degree in horticulture, Evans has combined her two greatest professional loves - landscape architecture and filmmaking - to produce the first documentary on Beatrix Farrand, the most successful female landscape architect in early 20th-century America, and one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the only woman in the group.

The film chronicles the life of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the niece of Edith Wharton, who grew up in the privileged world of the East Coast elite and fought through the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession to design over 200 landscape commissions during her remarkable 50-year career. Beatrix Farrand married Max Farrand, chair of the History Department at Yale University in 1913. They lived in New Haven until 1925.

The documentary takes viewers on a journey across the country to explore Beatrix Farrand’s personal story and many of her most spectacular gardens, including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and her California gardens. In Connecticut, Beatrix Farrand’s surviving best-known works include gardens at Hill-Stead Museum, Harkness Memorial State Park, and the residential courtyards at Yale University.

The film narrative is recounted through interviews with Beatrix Farrand scholar Diana Balmori, landscape historian Judith Tankard, and landscape architect Shavaun Towers. Current photographs and footage of more than 50 Beatrix Farrand-related sites, along with archival images from the Beatrix Farrand Archives at the University of California, Berkeley, are woven together to bring to life Beatrix Farrand’s extraordinary story.

Admission: 06510
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