Born in Wisconsin but raised and educated in Kansas, Frank Waugh got his first teaching job at Oklahoma State University. He went on to teach at the University of Vermont and finally settled down in Amherst, as a professor at Massachusetts Agricultural College. While at Mass Aggie, he became well know for establishing the second landscape gardening department in the country, later the department of landscape architecture. At a time when the field of landscape architecture was still taking root, Waugh's influence was significant in shaping the profession. His contributions include numerous articles and books, the designs he planned and implemented, and the many students he taught and mentored. A natural offshoot of his work as a landscape architect, Waugh pursued other artistic avenues as well, most notably photography and etching. He served at MAC, later Massachusetts State College, for nearly forty years before retiring in 1939.
The collection includes an extensive representation of Waugh's published articles along with biographical materials. The centerpiece, however, is the large number of photographs, lantern slides, and etchings. While his publications reveal the mind of a pioneer in his field, together these images portray the heart and soul of Waugh as an artist.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Frank A. Waugh
Frank Albert Waugh began his study of the American landscape at Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin on July 8, 1869. His father, Albert Freeman Waugh, was from ancestors who settled in the Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut. His mother, Madeline Biehler, was a native of Alsace and was of German Parentage.
When Frank was two-and-a-half years of age his family moved to Kansas where they took up a farm of 640 acres in McPherson County near the geographical center of the state. One may well imagine that his boyhood activities were largely involved with the growing of wheat, the tending of livestock and riding the range on his favorite pony.
At seventeen years of age, he entered the Kansas State College at Manhattan on September 8, 1886. He was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science on June 10, 1891, having withdrawn from registration for the scholastic year 1888-1889 in order to earn funds for further study. This he did by teaching a country school and serving as teamster and man of general utility in the Horticultural department of the college under Professor E.A. Popenoe.
His interest in matters extra-curricular is shown by his having joined with others in 1891 to form a college band, in which he played the B-flat flute. This band he led for one year. For a year or two after graduation the young man was engaged in editorial work for newspapers or other periodicals in Topeka, Helena, and Denver.
On September 14, 1893, Frank A. Waugh and Alice Vail were married. They went to Oklahoma, where for two years he taught horticultural subjects in the State Agricultural and Mechanical College and was active in the work and publications of the Experiment Station preparing and issuing four Experiment Station bulletins.
In the fall of 1895 he was called to the State Agricultural College of the University of Vermont, where he served as Professor of Horticulture and Station Horticulturist for seven years during which time he issued eleven Station Bulletins, contributed to six Station reports, and started the State Horticultural Society on its way.
Professor Waugh became a member of the Faculty of the Massachusetts Agricultural College in the summer of 1902. During that time he established the Department of Landscape Gardening--later renamed Landscape Architecture--and his teaching, while not confined to that subject, was largely devoted to it and closely related fields. The instruction in landscape work in that first year of 1902-1903 was given in the second floor of the Old Botanical Laboratory. Increasing interest in the new work as well as similar developments in other departments of the Division necessitated more laboratories and classrooms and in 1905 a new Horticultural Building, named Wilder Hall for a noted amateur horticulturist of Dorchester, one of the first trustees of the college, was built from plans developed under the advice and suggestion of Professor Waugh.
For many years Waugh was the Head of the Division of Horticulture as well as of the Department of Landscape Architecture and in that capacity exerted a decided influence upon a considerable portion of college development and instruction. He inaugurated a series of exchange lectures in horticulture with other colleges of similar character and acted as representative for Mass Aggie on several such occasions. He was largely responsible for the conception and development of the college's Horticulture Show which significant public notice to the institution.
As Head of the Division, he introduced the plan of subdividing the instruction into definite departments with instructors devoting their entire time to special subjects such as floriculture, pomology and other branches of horticultural science. This marked a notable step in advance of anything which had previously been done in similar divisions elsewhere. In developing his department, Waugh was introduced several new activities or opportunities for study. He established a course of study that lead to a Master's degree in landscape architecture as well as a course which, by a fifth year of work after graduation, led to the degree of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. Extension work in landscape architecture was carried on in connection with the department for several years and numerous bulletins were issued.
For many years Waugh was in charge of the design and maintenance of the campus. In 1911 he collected into a single volume the several studies and reports which had been made by various authorities, including the recommendations of Frederick Law Olmstead and Warren H. Manning, regarding the development of the campus and prepared a plan making suggestions for future development.
One of Waugh's most successful innovations was a series of art shows held each year. These naturally illustrated some special form of phase of are and were for the most pictorial, though occasionally textiles or other objects were shown. An especially interesting and successful exhibit each year was one he called "the family show" consisting of pictures or other works of art produced by members of faculty families, graduates or students. He frequently contributed his own work to these shows. An expert with the camera, he made a very considerable number of fine portrait photographs of faculty members, townspeople and visitors of note. Later he became more interested in etching and produced many landscapes and tree portraits in the medium.
In addition to his work at the college, Waugh was engaged in numerous outside activities. For years he gave frequent lectures before women's clubs and other organizations. He was commissioned and produced profession designs, in particular a master plan prepared in 1914 for the development of the Kansas State College over the next fifty years.
In the summer of 1923 Waugh gave a course in landscape architecture and design in the University of California in Los Angeles, and in 1929 he gave a similar course at Dartmouth College. For several summers he made careful inspections of National Forest holdings for the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and prepared plans or made reports for the development of recreational areas therein. He served as one of the Trustees of Public Reservations for the commonwealth and on the local Town Planning Board. Additionally, Waugh was a member of several professional or scientific societies among which are the American Society of Landscape Architecture, the American Pomological Society, the American Civic Association and the Patrons of Husbandry.
Waugh traveled extensively in the United States, made several trips to Europe, and in 1932 spent a half-year's sabbatical leave visiting Japan and China. With his other activities he has found time to take post-graduate work at a number of other institutions including Cornell and his own alma mater, Kansas State, from which he received the degree of Master of Science on June 13, 1894. In Germany he took special course in landscape design in the Gaertnerlehranstalt zu Dahlem under Wille Lange, and in the summer of 1937 studied in the Ecole des Beuax Arts at Fontainebleau, France. On June 18, 1933 Kansas State conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science. The University of Vermont a few years later conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
Waugh was a fertile write, both of short articles for numerous periodicals and of books on many varied subjects running well up to 30 volumes. A select list of titles include: Landscape gardening (1898), Plums and Plum Culture (1899), Systematic Pomology (1903), The American Apple Orchard (1908), The Landscape Beautiful (1910), Rural Improvement (1914), The Agricultural College (1916), Outdoor Theaters (1917), and The Natural Style in Landscape Gardening (1917). He also edited editions of several older works and contributed substantially to some other authors.
He and his wife, Alice, had two daughters and four sons: Dorothy, Esther, Dan, Frederick, Albert, and Sidney. Frank A. Waugh died East Chester Bronxville, New York on March 20, 1943 at the age of 73. Waugh is buried in Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Biographical sketch from Arthur K. Harrison's 1939 tribute to Waugh at the time of his retirement from Massachusetts State College.
The bulk of the collection consists of an extensive representation of the many articles and books Waugh published. Rounding out these written works are materials that document Waugh's contributions to the Massachusetts Agricultural College, later Massachusetts State College, as well as to profession at large through corresppondence, a report to the trustees, meeting minutes, and lectures.
If the collection is measured by sheer artistic heft alone, then the weight of the collection lies in Waugh's photographs and etchings. Photographic prints range from portraits of Mass Aggie faculty and distiguished guests to laborers and carpenters. A series of photographs capture the R.S. Moore Estates in Menlo Park California and scenes from Japan among numerous other locations. The nearly 1,000 color lantern slides, however, reveal Waugh's sensitivity to nature and the landscape around him. In them, he captured fields, animals, cultivated gardens, wild flowers, and trees in their natural settings.
Portions of the collections donated by Hal Mosher, Debbie Smith, Samuel P. Snow, and Marie Welsh.
Processed by Rebecca Tran, December 2009.
Frank Waugh's photographs have been digitized and are available in Credo
Cite as: Frank A. Waugh Papers (FS 88). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.