Beatrix Farrand, the United States’ first female landscape architect, was at age 27, one of the 11 founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1899. A niece and intimate of novelist Edith Wharton, Farrand secured her first commissions from well-heeled family connections. Her intellect, her self-confidence, her rejection of sex barriers, her drive to master every aspect of landscape design, including engineering, and an inborn painterly approach to garden composition pushed her to the top of her field in short order.
The Harkness Gardens are only a few of her major works still extant and thus of great importance in the historic landscape architecture universe. Her masterwork, Dumbarton Oaks, flourishes in Washington D.C.: her Eyrie or Abby Rockefeller Garden was recently restored in Rockport Maine. The heavily trafficked and elegant Carriage Roads of Acadia National Park in Maine were designed by Farrand . The grounds of Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago and Dartington Hall in Devonshire England contain much of her work.