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Candid Campus: The Lesser-Known Narratives of Bryn Mawr College

Crafting the Educational Environment: Landscape Architecture

The earliest plans for the campus landscape were drafted in the late 1870s by distinguished architect Calvert Vaux (1824-1895). However, his designs were later abandoned in favor of the plans of his former partner, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the man considered by many as the father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted set campus buildings along the campus perimeter to create space for wide open fields and incorporated meander pathways for navigation. He also lined footpaths and adorned hidden alcoves with vegetation. Frederick Law Olmsted retired not long after his preliminary visit to Bryn Mawr College, but his plan was faithfully carried out by his nephew, John C. Olmsted (1852-1920) and thoroughly supported by the eventual Bryn Mawr president, M. Carey Thomas (1857-1935).