NJASLA: HISTORY OF THE CHAPTER — First 50 years: Who is Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee?

Prepared by Ilonka Angalet (NJASLA President-Elect), with collaboration from Sean Ryan and Susanne Smith Meyer (President NH Granite Chapter ASLA)

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects was formed in 1964. NJASLA will be celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2014.
In an effort to reaffirm the history of our Chapter, I would like to introduce you to some of our founding members. Attendees at the first meeting held in 1964 included:  Don Richardson, Paul Krarup, Ross Pell, Larry Dumont, Lou Miceli, John Weed, Richard Cripps, Elizabeth Pattee, Russ Butler, Al Dilischer, Max Heim, Roy H. DeBoer, Oliver Deakin, John Haleck and Jeff Hall. The single female attendee was Elizabeth Pattee, who, even while nearing the end of her own 50 year career, remained a passionate supporter of the landscape architecture profession.
Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee (1893-1991) earned her degree in architecture at MIT in 1916. Prior to establishing her own residential landscape architectural practice in 1922 in MA, Pattee and Peters (Constance E. Peters), she was employed by Stone and Webster in MA. She also taught at the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Gardening and Horticulture for Women in Groton, Massachusetts also obtaining a second degree in landscape architecture from the School in 1918. Founded in 1901 by Mrs. Gilchrist Low, this was the first school of Landscape Architecture to be established in America for women.
In 1945 the Lowthorpe School merged with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where Elizabeth taught between 1945 -63 and headed the Landscape Architectural department between 1946-52 and 1955-59. She is recognized as the landscape designer of Killian (Great) Court at MIT and the Kimball-Jenkins Estate Garden (1929) in NH, where the formal perennial garden has been restored and maintained at what is now an educational historic site and community art school.
While on the RISD faculty, Pattee wrote numerous articles for professional publications became involved in public open spaces, housing and city planning and was actively involved in the International Federation of Landscape Architects, AIA and the ASLA. She was elected an ASLA Fellow in 1961. Generally, her work was practical and followed the trends of the time, using plant material to integrate architecture into the landscape.
She was married to Arthur Coleman Comey (HGSD 07, FASLA) landscape architect and city planner and professor and author of “Transition Zoning” 1933. She retired to Hightstown, NJ.
More about Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee can be found in: Shaping the American Landscape: new profiles from the pioneers of American landscape design  C. Birmbaum & S. Foel, the Cultural Landscape Foundation.
This is the second in a series of articles about the history of the NJASLA. The series is being authored in celebration of the 50 year anniversary of the ASLA New Jersey Chapter. For more information about #NJASLA50, visit the NJASLA website at

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