Priscilla is researching the history of The Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women (1901-45) located in Groton, Massachusetts.  She is preparing an article for publication and intends to write a book in the future.  Lowthorpe was the first women’s school in this country to offer hands-on, practical gardening experience combined with classroom instruction in landscape architecture.  This program inspired other similar (yet different) schools of instruction such as Ambler College (1910) and The Cambridge School (1916).


Photo courtesy of Rhode Island School of Design Archives and Special Collections

At Lowthorpe, within a few years of its founding, landscape architecture became the school’s primary focus.  Horticultural and architectural topics were a secondary tier of interest, and a plethora of minor subjects related to gardening made up the balance of the curriculum.  At various times there was a two-year horticulture program.  With the old Boston connections of its well-traveled founder, Judith Eleanor Motley Low (Mrs. Edward Gilchrist Low), the school attracted top-notch instructors from its inception.  Names such as Sargent, Olmsted and Dawson, leading horticultural lights of the day, appeared regularly in school catalogs.

Its simple yet elegant setting was an old country home, surrounded by gardens, trees and meadows with a picturesque village just beyond.  This set the tone for a very high caliber of education which permeated the institution, and the “Lowthorpe spirit” was instilled in its graduates.