Speed, Mary Louise (1891-1971) Landscape architecture drawings, 1931-1964

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Speed, Mary Louise, 1891-1971

Title: Landscape architecture drawings, 1931-1964

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection: 8 ovsz. folders and 1 ovsz. box

Location Number:  Mss. AR S742

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes 321 landscape drawings from residential, commercial, educational, to funerary. Majority of the drawings are rooted in Kentucky and Indiana but other, less frequent locations, include: Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, Connecticut, and Florida. The earliest drawings date back to Mary Louise Speed’s time at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts, where, in 1931, she completed her thesis, designing “Moxley Hall,” the country estate of Richard Canby. The collection’s latest drawing is from 1964 and features garden sketches and design for Mrs. Peter Spalding of Louisville, KY. Researchers should utilize the project index for a complete listing of project type, location, and date.

See also:

Speed, Mary Louise, 1891-1971. Diary, 1930. 137 pages. [Mss. A S742h]

Travel diary and sketchbook made by landscape architect Mary Louise Speed during her May-September 1930 trip to England. Diary describes the observed flora and fauna species and their characteristics, as well as garden and estate designs. Sketches of gardens, houses, cottages, and gates are also included. Pressed flowers and travel memorabilia are found tucked inside the book. Tracings made at the British Library illustrate French garden design, as well.

Speed, Mary Louise 1891- Papers. 1855-1929. 17 items [Mss. C S]

Collection of miscellaneous items that includes a memorial, 22 Feb. 1881, to M. Rose Speed; a letter from a soldier stationed at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota Territory, 1855; a letter from Virginia Beach, Va., 4 May 1893, describing the scenery and houses there; a pamphlet entitled “The Speed Picnic, July 4, 1881”; and exams of Mary Louise Speed on ecology, horticulture, botany, soils and landscape design.

Biographical Note

 A native of Nelson County, Kentucky, Mary Louise Speed was born on January 8, 1891 to Richard Canby Speed (1855-1907) and Emma Lilly Fullenwider (1858-1913). Mary Louise was both a landscape architect and a gardening columnist for The Courier-Journal. She was President of the Louisville Society of Landscape Architects, member of both the American Society for Landscape Architects and Glenview Garden Club. She was also active with the J.B. Speed Art Museum, National Society of Colonial Dames of American, and the Second Presbyterian Church. Mary Louise graduated from Simmons College as well as the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts. For postgraduate education, Mary Louise attended University College in London, where she studied and sketched, during this time she also traveled and sketched throughout greater Europe (see: Mss. A S742h).

Mary Louise died on February 10, 1971. She is buried with her family in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Folder List

Click here to see the project index for complete folder and box listing.

Subject Headings

Clocks and watches


Gardens – Designs and plans

Gardens – Designs and plans – Cemetery

Gardens – Designs and plans – Indiana

Gardens – Designs and plans – Kentucky

Landscape architecture

Ornamental plants

Ornamental shrubs

Ornamental trees

Women landscape architects