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Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, training women in Groton 1901 – 1945


GROTON — In 1901 when Groton’s Main Street was still unpaved and women wouldn’t get the vote for another 19 years, a young Mrs. Edward Gilchrist Low (Judith Motley Low) of Cambridge came to Groton and opened the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women.

At a time when the role of women was pretty much restricted to home and hearth, and the thought of a woman assuming a leadership position ran counter to the dictates of God and Man, the school turned out some very influential landscape architects including Elizabeth Pattee, Louise Payson, Isabella Pendleton, Frances V. McLeod, Henrietta Marquis Pope, Constance Peters, Mary P. Cunningham, and Agnes Selkirk Clark.

After WWII, Mrs. Low approached the Rhode Island School of Design and her school was absorbed into the curricula at RISDI in 1945.

Lowthorpe School was housed on the property where Miss. Susan Prescott opened her famous school in the previous century. Today, the Country Day School of the Holy Union is situated on the Lowthorpe School property.

The seeds planted by Lowthorpe School graduates, whose contributions have been largely lost to history, continue to bloom today.

The members of the Groton Historical Society hope that you will join them for what will certainly be an interesting presentation. You may even discover the vestiges of Mrs. Low’s vision blooming in your corner of the world.

The Groton Historical Society will present an illustrated lecture about the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women by Landscape Historian Priscilla Williams at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, March 29, at MacNeil Lounge, Lawrence Academy. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

The Groton Historical Society will also exhibit Lowthorpe School memorabilia at the Boutwell House on Main Street in Groton from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 4 and 5; and May 9 and 10. For more information, please call the society at 978-448-0092.