This project, under the direction of Associate Dean Therese O’Malley, seeks to map the evolution of a regional vocabulary of design as well as the transformation of features within the changing environmental and cultural traditions of early America, as defined by the current boundaries of the United States. A digital database of images, people, places, texts, and terms will offer a comprehensive and extensively cross-referenced compendium of information on the social and geographical history of landscape design in the early American history.
The goal of the project is to provide a corpus of images and texts and a database of information about historic sites, images, and people that can be examined comparatively by scholars, enabling them to investigate designed landscapes in dynamic contexts and through materials that are in many cases rare and difficult to access. Because of the flexible nature of the new digital format, scholars will be able to consider gardens and landscapes as part of a larger set of processes—aesthetic, social, economic, and political—rather than only as static sites. An electronic database will not only allow for the addition of new terms, images, and sources but, through search functions, will also permit the user to direct how the information is compiled, organized, and viewed.