Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I. Correspondence, 1931-1939 1931-1939

Series II. Drawings, Lists, and Images

Series III. Documents

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Olmsted Brothers Landscaping in Houston (J. R. Neal Gardens) Records MS 172



Title: Olmstead Brothers landscaping in Houston records
Dates: 1931-1939
Abstract This collection consists of correspondence, design documents, planting lists, and photographs that cover the history of the gardens designed for J. Robert Neal in Houston from the initial contact of the Olmsted firm to inquiries by the present owners of the property concerning restoration.
Identification: MS 172
Quantity: 0.5 cubic ft. (1 box)
Language:
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical Sketch

Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects of Brookline, Massachusetts existed from 1857, when the firm designed Central Park in New York City, until 1950. The Neal gardens were the only residential project the firm did in Houston; there were three others in Texas, two in Dallas and one in San Antonio. The architect of the Olmsted firm who was chiefly responsible for the Neal project was J. F. Dawson.

J. Robert Neal (1894-1939) was made a vice president of Houston’s Second National Bank when his father used his share of the proceeds from selling the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company to buy controlling interest in the bank. From 1931 to 1939, the younger Neal devoted meticulous attention to the building of a home and gardens on a three-and-three-quarter-acre site in the River Oaks area, abutting the golf course of the River Oaks Country Club. He engaged noted Houston architect John F. Staub to design the house, and the Olmsted firm to design and plant the gardens.

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, design documents, planting lists, and photographs that cover the history of the gardens designed for J. Robert Neal in Houston from the initial contact of the Olmsted firm to inquiries by the present owners of the property concerning restoration. The correspondence covers all aspects of the design and furnishing of the gardens, including invoices for irrigation features and detailed lists of columns, urns and vases. There are also letters having to do with the featuring of the gardens in the April 1937 issue of Country Life in America and with planning for an Historic Landscape Report as a preliminary to restoration.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Olmsted Brothers Landscaping in Houston (J. R. Neal Gardens) Records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

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Index Terms

Subjects
Gardening -- Texas.
Landscaping industry.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Olmsted Brothers landscaping in Houston (J. R. Neal gardens) records, MS 172, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Source of Acquisition

This collection is part of the Hutcheson and Allied Families’ Papers, donated by Joanne Seale Wilson, November 16, 2010.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I. Correspondence, 1931-1939 1931-1939

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence – Alpha
2 Correspondence – Buckner Irrigation Co.
3 Correspondence – Howard Studios
4 Correspondence – Geo. A. Lewis
5 Correspondence – J. R. Neal
6 Correspondence – Olmsted Brothers
7 Correspondence – John Staub

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Series II. Drawings, Lists, and Images

Box Folder
1 8 Plans / Drawings – Neal – Dewhurst Gardens
9 Planting Lists – J. R. Neal Gardens
10 Images - J. R. Neal Property (Pre-House)
11 Renderings – J. R. Neal Gardens
12 Images – J. R. Neal House / Gardens
13 Images – J. R. Neal House / Gardens
14 Images

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Series III. Documents

Box Folder
1 15 Publicity – J. R. Neal House
16 Curtis & Windham Architects Reports
17 McDugald – Steele Landscape Architects
18 Lawson Carter Epstein Landscape Design
19 Olmsted Archives
20 Cultural Landscapes Treatment / Restoration
21 Southern Garden History Society

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