Architectural Archives

Marjorie Sewell Cautley Collection (142)

The collection comprises photographs and printed material (dated 1925-1935) documenting a number of Marjorie Sewell Cautley's projects.  Construction   photographs are included for several of the projects.  This collection contains no business records and very few personal items.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Marjorie Sewell Cautley attended the Pratt Institute and graduated from the Packer Collegiate Institute.  She studied landscape architecture at Cornell University (B.S. 1917).  After working for Warren Manning and then for Julia Morgan, she opened her own practice in New Jersey.  She was married to Randolph Cautley in 1922, and gave birth to a daughter, Patricia.  In 1925 she was elected a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

Marjorie Sewell Cautley made a substantial contribution to the developing planning profession as well as to landscape architecture.  Her landscape projects show her characteristic focus on planning for people as well as on esthetics and plant materials.  In particular, her work with Clarence Stein and Henry Wright engaged her deep concern for the needs of residents and the relationship between the project and the larger community.  She gave many lectures and published articles and a book (Garden Design, 1935).  She taught site planning and landscape design at MIT (1934-1937) and Columbia (1935-1937).

At the height of her productivity in 1937, she suffered a nervous breakdown and spent several years in a mental hospital.  She obtained release in 1942, earned the Master of Fine Arts degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 1943 and divorced Randolph Cautley in 1944. However, she was institutionalized again by 1946 and remained until her death in 1954.

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises photographs and printed material (dated 1925-1935) documenting a number of Marjorie Sewell Cautley's projects, including Oak Croft, Ridgewood, NJ; Roosevelt Common, Tenafly, NJ; Town Plan and Development, Radburn, NJ;  Phipps Garden Apartments, Queens, NY; Hillside Housing, Bronx, NY; and Recreational Development Projects for the State of New Hampshire. A few smaller projects are also represented.  Construction photographs are included for several of the projects.

This collection contains no business records and very few personal items. The primary archive for Cautley's life and work is at the Cornell University Library, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections: Marjorie Sewell Cautley Papers, 1847-1995 (Collection Number: 4908).

Architectural Archives staff have relied on research by Thaisa Way in processing this collection and preparing the finding aid: Thaisa Way. "Designing Garden City Landscapes: Works by Marjorie L. Sewell Cautley, 1922-1937." Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes  25:4 (October-December 2005), pp.297-316.

Provenance

Acquisition:  Gift of Randolph Cautley, 1941 to the Library of the University of Pennsylvania.  Internal transfer 2000 to the Architectural Archives.