Thursday, March 11, 2010
Landscape Architecture Collection Grows in DMR
Students and faculty in Ball State’s nationally top-fiveranked landscape architecture program, as well as researchers around the world, now have global access to digitized works of a noted Indiana landscape architect’s collection housed in the Drawings and Documents Archive, a collaboration between the University Libraries and the College of Architecture and Planning.
The University Libraries are digitizing landscape architectural collections for worldwide access in the Digital Media Repository (http://libx.bsu.edu), beginning with the Schuyler N. Nolan Landscape Architectural Records Collection. “Adding to the record of landscape architecture and landscape architects stored in our Drawing and Documents Archive is very important,” said Professor Malcolm D. Cairns, Department of Landscape Architecture, when he first heard of the Nolan Collection going online. While the digital collection currently has 70 items available, it continues to grow as more digital assets are added. It can be found online at http://libx.bsu.edu/collection.php?CISOROOT=/NlnArchRcrd.
Schuyler N. Nolan (1894-1981) grew to love working with plants and designing gardens at a very young age by helping his father work on residential landscaping projects in Vincennes, Indiana, where he grew up, and later in Plymouth, Indiana, after his family moved there. His only formal design training came from a three-month mechanical drafting course he took at the Chicago Technical School. He supplemented his brief formal education with, as he wrote, “a great amount of time spent in libraries” studying any materials related to landscaping.
Nolan’s extensive use of the local library paid off when he began his own landscaping company while still in Illinois. He steadily built his reputation in residential landscape design and did very well until the Depression affected his clientele. He then worked at the Indianapolis Parks Department, where he designed gardens for the 1933, 1934, 1937, and 1939 Home Shows, and worked at the Indiana State Highway Commission, where he designed roadside plantings throughout the state from 1935-1937.
After 1937, Nolan practiced as a landscape architect and experienced much success designing a wide range of commissions. From his work during World War II designing aircraft building plants and naval officers’ quarters, to tony residential work for many of Indianapolis’ elite, such as J. K. Lilly and Harrison Eiteljorg, Nolan built functional yet artistic spaces for his clients.
After Nolan’s retirement, an unfortunate basement flood destroyed most of his drawings and business records. He donated the surviving drawings to Ball State’s Drawings and Documents Archive in 1979, thus preserving his work for future researchers and landscape architects. For more information, contact Carol A. Street, University Libraries’ Archivist for Architectural Records, CAStreet@bsu.edu, 765-285-8441.