(Part I) Bryn Mawr College is unique in having been the only campus independently planned by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, two pioneering geniuses of 19th century landscape design. Bryn Mawr was also the last campus in the country whose plan was supervised by Olmsted, semi-retired at the time of his visit to the College in 1895. New interest in the campus buildings and grounds - manifest in the College's Greening Committee and in the student-led committee on historic preservation has been further spurred by the acquisition this fall of the eleven and one-half acre site of the former School of the Holy Child Jesus adjacent to Bryn Mawr's Graduate Center. Below are excerpts from a longer paper tracing the developments of the Bryn Mawr campus from its beginnings. Part II, dealing with the role of the second generation of campus designers, will appear in the November issue of Bryn Mawr NOW.
(Part II) Bryn Mawr's first architecture is epitomized by the monochromatic high Victorian administration and classroom building named Taylor Hall after the College's founder. This "Quaker lady" architecture soon gave way to the equally monochromatic but more evocatively romantic "Collegiate Gothic" of Cope & Stewardson. Along with the landscape architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Cope & Stewardson established the prevailing character of Bryn Mawr's campus. The result, as architectural historian George E. Thomas said in a lecture on campus this Fall, is "one of the region's handsomest architectural ensembles."
© 1974 Bryn Mawr College.
Osborn, Michelle, "The Making of the Early Bryn Mawr Campus (Part I)," Bryn Mawr Now 2, no. 1 (Sep. 1974); "The Making of the Early Campus (Part II)," Bryn Mawr Now 2, no. 2 (Nov. 1974).