American Society of Landscape Architects

  2004 ASLA Professional Awards

Communications Award of Honor

Half My World: The Garden of Anne Spencer, A History and Guide
Reuben M. Rainey, ASLA, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, and Rebecca T. Frischkorn, Charlottesville, VA
Warwick House Publishing

Great contribution in social-cultural garden scholarship. . . The mix of poetry, personal history, and gardening is irresistible. . . Richly written. . . This book represents an important contribution to the profession and African American studies in general. The authors' writing style is endearing, well organized, and well researched.
           2004 Professional Awards Jury Comments

This book explores the close relationship between the poetry of Harlem Renaissance author Anne Spencer and her creative work as a garden designer. Spencer's highly original and engaging garden was a restorative sanctuary, as well as a key source of inspiration for her poetry, which is filled with powerful images of growth, transformation, and the healing power of nature. The authors provide an affordable and accessible study for a wide range of readers, including high school students and an adult lay audience.


Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer and her husband Edward, shown here with two of their grandchildren in 1940, were a design team. Anne designed her garden and Edward constructed it to provide her with a sanctuary to write her poetry and to entertain such distinguished African-American scholars, artists, and political leaders such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Weldon Johnson. (Photo: Courtesy of Jane Baber White, Archives of the Southern Memorial Association.)

This plan depicts Anne Spencer's garden in its current state of preservation. The 195' x 40' garden consists of four well-defined garden rooms, three of which are arranged along a central axis, defined by pergolas and a small pool. (Plan: Emmanuel Didier.)

One unique feature of the garden is its synthesis of high art design and recycled architectural fragments. This column and Gothic screen, salvaged from demolished residences in Lynchburg, adorn Anne Spencer's garden study. (Photo: Reuben M. Rainey.)

This 1937 photograph shows Anne and her husband Edward in the Pool Garden, the fourth garden room. This is one of the most serene areas of her garden and was a favorite place for conversation with Anne's distinguished visitors. (Photo: Courtesy of Jane Baber White, Archives of the Southern Memorial Association)

The view from the bench of the Pool Garden affords today's visitor a full-length vista of the restored garden. Boxwood has replaced the former privet hedge for ease of maintenance. (Photo: Reuben M. Rainey)

This cast-iron head made by the African Ebo tribe was a gift from Anne's friend W.E.B. Du Bois. The sculpture functioned as part of the fountain in the fourth garden room. (Photo: Reuben M. Rainey)

A statue of the Roman goddess Minerva in the center of the garden's pergola was the gift of a friend in celebration of Anne Spencer's creativity and intelligence. (Photo: Courtesy of Jane Baber White, Archives of the Southern Memorial Association)

Edankraal was Anne Spencer's garden study where she composed her poetry with a full-length view of the garden from the window above her desk. She often worked late into the night and slept in the modest one room cottage in the midst of her garden. (Photo: Reuben M. Rainey)

Anne Spencer often wrote her poems in rough draft form on scraps of paper and on the pages of books and catalogues. This color plate from Dreer's Garden Book of 1931 contains an unpublished fragment of her poetry. (Courtesy of: Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, Inc.)

Anne Spencer's garden design and poetry attracted international attention. This photograph of the poet was included in a 1929 article entitled "Afrika in Amerika" by Dr. Bruno Altmann in the widely circulating German periodical Die Woche. (Courtesy of: Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, Inc.)


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