Mary Rutherfurd Jay Collection, 1905-1945

Processed by the Environmental Design Archives staff
Environmental Design Archives
College of Environmental Design
230 Wurster Hall #1820
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
Phone: (510) 642-5124
Fax: (510) 642-2824
© 1999
The Regents of California. All rights reserved.


Arts and Humanities--Architecture History--United States and North American History Area, Interdisciplinary, and Ethnic Studies--Women's Studies

Mary Rutherfurd Jay Collection, 1905-1945

Collection Number: 1955-3

Environmental Design Archives

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

  • Environmental Design Archives
  • College of Environmental Design
  • 230 Wurster Hall #1820
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
  • Phone: (510) 642-5124
  • Fax: (510) 642-2824
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Environmental Design Archives staff
Date Completed:
January 1999
Encoded by:
Campbell J. Crabtree
Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and by a grant from the Getty Foundation.
© 1999 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Title: Mary Rutherfurd Jay Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1905-1945
Collection Number: 1955-3
Creator: Jay, Mary Rutherfurd, 1872-1951
Extent: 4 boxes, 3 flat boxes, 1 oversize volume, 4 flat file drawers, approximately 10 tubes
Repository: Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Director.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Mary Rutherfurd Jay Collection, (1955-3), Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California

Access Points

Garden structures.
Landscape architecture--Northeastern States.
Women landscape architects.
Landscape architects--Northeastern States.
Reef Point Gardens Library


Mary Rutherfurd Jay was born in Fair Haven Connecticut to the Reverend Peter Augustus and Julia Post Jay. Her family descended from John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States. She studied architecture at MIT and Harvard's Bussey Institute* in Forest Hills, Massachusetts. Her first commission was planting a plaisance on the grounds of a friend living in Connecticut. She began her practice in New York in 1908 and referred to herself as a garden architect. Most of her work was residential for clients in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with some in New Jersey and Massachusetts. She spent an extended period travelling around the world in 1912 and throughout her life presented illustrated lectures related to international gardens.
At the close of World War I, she was in charge of the farmerettes working with the U.S. Army Garden Service in Versailles, a member of the American Committee for devastated France, and with the American Red Cross.
M.R. Jay was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society in London and held membership in numerous horticultural societies and garden clubs She was the author of The Garden Handbook, published in 1931. Her numerous commissions included a Japanese garden for Honerable G.W. Wickersham's Long Island estate and a New York City roof garden for the New York Times. She died October 4, 1953.

Who's Who in America v.25, 1948/1949
* Bussey Institution was established by Harvard in 1869 as a school of agriculture and horticulture on land donated by Benjamin Bussey; construction began in 1871. In 1907, Bussey changed from an undergraduate school to an institution for advanced instruction and research, and became part of the Graduate School of Applied Science.

Scope and Content

The Mary Rutherfurd Jay collection documents Jay's career as a landscape architect, her lectures on gardens, and her involvement in the profession. Research notes and images on gardens around the world and architectural drawings form the bulk of the collection. There are also photographs of her commissions but no textual project files. The collection is arranged into four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Project Records, and Art and Artifacts.
Jay's personal papers relate to her education at Harvard's Bussey Institute and include a photograph album of a vacation to Quebec, Canada with family and friends. Her professional papers include notes, research materials, and photographs related to her travel to gardens worldwide and her illustrated lectures about these gardens. Her most common specialty appears to have been Japanese gardens. This series also includes scrapbooks of clippings about her lectures, and copies of her published articles.
Jay's project records consist primarily of architectural drawings and photographs. The collection also contains horticultural plant cards and a plaque about her collection from the Reef Point Library. This collection was given to the University of California, Berkeley as part of the Reef Point Gift of Beatrix Farrand. Originally included in the Jay Collection was a collection of @ 2800 lantern slides which were transferred to the CED Slide Library and converted to 35mm. A list of these images is available upon request.

Related Collections

Title: Mary Rutherfurd Jay lantern slide collection,
Contributing Institution: College of Environmental Design Slide Library

Series Description

Box 1, 1 ov volume

I. Personal Papers , 1905-1907, 1929


A. Education

Scope and Content Note

Papers related to her studies at the Bussey Institute, 1905-1907.

B. Travel to England , 1929


C. Writings , 1918-1930s


D. Photographs of a hunting trip to Quebec

Boxes 2-3, 5-6

II. Professional Papers , 1912-1939

Scope and Content Note


Arranged alphabetically.

A. Travel and Lectures

Scope and Content Note

Papers related to her travel around the world to visit gardens and the lectures she gave using the information and images she collected. This sub-series contains photograph albums containing her photographs and purchased images of places she visited as well as some photographs of her projects and some personal images, lecture notes, correspondence, announcements for and clippings about her lectures, subject files related to gardens throughout the world. [Her lantern slides were transferred to the CED Architecture Slide Library (a list is available)]

B. Garden Clubs

Scope and Content Note

Consists of announcements and publications issued by various garden clubs.
Boxes 4-7, Flat Files, Tubes

III. Project Records , 1908-1945

Scope and Content Note


Arranged alphabetically by project.

A. Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Images of some of her completed gardens exist in standard and oversize photographs.

B. Drawings

Scope and Content Note

Contains sketches, plans, planting plans, and drawings for garden furniture, structures, and objects.

IV. Art and Artifacts , n.d.

Scope and Content Note

Wooden plaque for MRJ Collection from Reef Point Gardens Library and three tin boxes of plant cards.