Archives of American Gardens

William Lyman Phillips photograph collection, circa 1920s-1940s


Collection ID:
Phillips, William Lyman, d. 1966
circa 1920s-1940s
Physical Description:
0.1 Cubic feet
1 box.
30 glass negatives and 2 glass autochromes.
3 x 4 inches.
The William Lyman Phillips Collection includes thirty glass negatives and two glass autochromes showing a sampling of gardens presumably designed by landscape architect William Lyman Phillips. The gardens are located in Massachusetts, Florida and unidentified locations.

Arrangement note

Arrangement note
Images believed to be from Massachusetts are indicated in their catalog records as being from Unidentified Garden in Massachusetts, No. 1, in order to differentiate them from other unidentified Massachusetts images in the AAG collections. The unidentified Massachusetts slides in this series are likely from multiple sites.

Biographical/Historical note

Biographical/Historical note
William Lyman Phillips (d. 1966) was a landscape architect credited with popularizing the use of tropical and subtropical plants in landscape design. His most famous project was the design of the Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables, Florida. Phillips studied at Harvard, graduating cum laude in 1910, and the next year joined the Olmsted Brothers firm. He worked in Canada and New York, and laid out the townships of Balboa and San Miguel Ellende in the Panama Canal Zone. He designed many estates and parks for the Olmsted firm and traveled to Europe to study villas and gardens. During World War I, Phillips built cantonments in the United States for the U. S. Army Quartermaster Corps. He was later in charge of landscaping American military cemeteries in France, after which he returned to the United States to work once again with the Olmsted firm.
In 1923 Phillips took charge of the Olmsted Brothers' projects of Bok Tower Gardens and the adjacent Mountain Lake Colony in Lake Wales, Florida. In 1929 he was hired to site the house and gardens for Charles Austin Buck, the president of Bethlehem Steel. The estate, "El Retiro," now called Pinewood, was in the Mountain Lake Colony. Phillips collaborated with the architect, Charles Wait, on the Buck estate until 1932. Phillips worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Dade County, Florida, supervising the construction of several state parks, and he designed the Dade County parks. In 1936, while Phillips was working with the Civilian Conservation Corps, he was hired by Robert H. Montgomery to design the Fairchild Tropical Garden.


Nancy Sahli
Immediate Source of Acquisition Note
Images donated by Faith Reyher Jackson, biographer of William Lyman Phillips, 1997.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access note
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Conditions Governing Use note
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Preferred Citation note
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, William Lyman Phillips photograph collection.

Related Archival Materials
The Frances L. Loeb Library, Special Collections at Harvard University includes the Papers of William L. Phillips. Materials relating to Olmsted Brothers' projects that Phillips worked on are at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Landscape architecture Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gardens -- Massachusetts Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gardens -- Florida Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tropical plants Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Plants Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flowers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Negatives Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Positives (photographs) Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives of American Gardens
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