The Sunday porch: the frame

Oatlands, Leesburg, VA, Library of CongressA view from the summer house at Oatlands, Loudoun County, Virginia, in the 1930s, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Oatlands Plantation was established in 1798 by a member of Virginia’s prominent Carter family. In 1903, it was sold to William and Edith Corcoran Eustis, and  Mrs. Eustis began to revive the old gardens in the Colonial Revival style. Since 1965, the property has been a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is open to the public from April 1 to December 30.

The Sunday porch: as backdrop

What better setting for some summertime snapshots than a charming porch dripping with vines?

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These are the Cabot children (and probably their mother), photographed by Thomas Warren Sears and via the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Thomas Warren Sears Collection.*

The Archives’ website says that these images were taken in 1930, but I would guess between 1900 and 1910, based on the clothing.

Sears studied landscape architecture at Harvard University between about 1900 and 1906. During that time, he also won awards for his amateur photography. One can well imagine him taking his camera to the summer home of friends and taking some casual pictures.

After graduation, he worked for Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects.  By 1913, he had established his own office in Philadelphia, from where he designed various types of landscapes in the mid-Atlantic region until the mid 1960s.

The Archives of American Gardens holds over 4,600 of his black and white glass negatives and glass lantern slides taken between c. 1900 and 1966.

Earlier this month, the Archives announced the acquisition of the Ken Druse Garden Photography Collection, which includes thousands of transparencies and slides of over 300 American gardens.  Selected images will eventually be added to the Smithsonian’s online catalogue.

Little girl. . . .

She has things to do,
you can tell. Places to explore
beyond the frame .  .  .

— Tami Haaland, from “Little Girl,” from When We Wake in the Night


*Used with permission.