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Les Ormes, Garden Images

Landscape architect:
Wheeler, Perry H., 1914-1989  Search this
Former owner:
Mesta, Perle, 1889-1975  Search this
Tyson, George, 1869-1963  Search this
Tyson, Marguerite Skirvin, d. 1963  Search this
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973  Search this
Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-2007  Search this
Collection Landscape architect:
Wheeler, Perry H., 1914-1989  Search this
Collection Photographer:
Stengle, James M., Dr.  Search this
Collection Creator:
University of Georgia  Search this
Garden Club of America  Search this
Emory University  Search this
American Society of Landscape Architects  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
Les Ormes (Washington, D.C.)
United States of America -- District of Columbia -- Washington
Scope and Contents:
The folders include worksheets, magazine and newspaper clippings, plans (drawings), and other information.
General:
Les Ormes (The Elms) was the home of George and Marguerite Skirvin Tyson and Mrs. Tyson's sister, the well-known Washington hostess and political figure Perle Skirvin Mesta. Perry Wheeler created the landscape design for the property, which was situated in the hilly Spring Valley section of the city, and gave it a French flavor in keeping with the style of the house and the taste of its owners. Taking advantage of the natural slope of the site, Wheeler designed a series of terraces which incorporated existing flowering trees amidst flagstone surfaces and gravel walkways. Seating areas were placed throughout, while spring bulbs--Thalia daffodils, tulips, and grape hyacinths--provided abundant color. At one end of the house the terraces descended to a fountain pool and summer house punctuated with large holly standards. The property was sold in the early 1960s to then Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ladybird Johnson. The Tyson-Mesta menage moved to an apartment for which Perry Wheeler did one design, for a terrace roof, included in the Archives of American Gardens as series DC120.
Persons associated with the garden include Perry H. Wheeler (landscape architect, 1955-1956); Perle Skirvin Mesta (former owner, ca. 1955-1961); and George and Marguerite Skirvin Tyson (former owners, ca. 1955-1961); and Lyndon Baines and Ladybird Johnson (former owners, ca. 1961-1963).
Related Materials:
Les Ormes related holdings consist of 3 folders (19 slides (photographs); 10 safety film negatives; 11 plans (drawings))
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Topic:
Gardens -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Perry H. Wheeler collection.
Identifier:
AAG.WHE, File DC023
See more items in:
Perry H. Wheeler collection
Perry H. Wheeler collection / Project Files / District of Columbia / DC023: Washington -- Les Ormes (The Elms)
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb685ba933d-b3ba-4db3-b798-c1df45bc4c2e
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-whe-ref1014

Perry H. Wheeler collection

Landscape architect:
Wheeler, Perry H., 1914-1989  Search this
Photographer:
Stengle, James M., Dr.  Search this
Creator:
University of Georgia  Search this
Garden Club of America  Search this
Emory University  Search this
American Society of Landscape Architects  Search this
Names:
Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, Va.)  Search this
National Arboretum (U.S.)  Search this
Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Bonnet, Henri, Ambassador  Search this
Bonnet, Henri, Madam  Search this
Estes, Billie Sol  Search this
Harriman, Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward, 1920-1997  Search this
Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-  Search this
Mellon, Paul  Search this
Mellon, Rachel Lambert  Search this
Mesta, Perle, 1889-1975  Search this
Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994  Search this
Palmer, Bertha HonorĂ©, 1849-1918  Search this
Truman, Margaret  Search this
Extent:
25.75 Cubic feet
3,958 Photographic items
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Lists
Awards
Certificates
Invoices
Negatives
Correspondence
Clippings
Photographs
Invitations
Slides (photographs)
Photographic prints
Plans (drawings)
Place:
Canada
White House (Washington, D.C.)
Africa
Europe
Caribbean
South America
West (U.S.)
Georgetown (Washington, D.C.)
Date:
1880-1984
bulk 1950-1965
Summary:
The Perry H. Wheeler Collection includes the design, client and business records of Perry H. Wheeler, a landscape architect best known for his work on numerous townhouse gardens in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., during the 1960s as well as the redesign of the White House Rose Garden in collaboration with Rachel Lambert ('Bunny') Mellon during the Kennedy administration.
Scope and Contents note:
The Perry H. Wheeler Collection includes the design, client and business records of Perry H. Wheeler, a landscape architect best known for his work on numerous townhouse gardens in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. during the 1960s as well as the redesign of the White House Rose Garen in collaboration with Rachel ('Bunny') Lambert Mellon during the Kennedy adminstration. The collection includes photographic images, plans, drawings, client correspondence, plant lists, invoices, newspaper and magazine clippings, certificates, awards, and invitations. The bulk of the collection and most of the professional papers date from about 1950 to 1965 and relate to various garden design projects by Wheeler, many of them located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Of particular note are documents for Wheeler's public design work including the White House grounds, Washington National Cathedral, U. S. National Arboretum, President John F. Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery, and the British and Cambodian Embassies in Washington, D.C. Noteworthy correspondents include President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, Ladybird Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, and Margaret Truman.

There are also over 3,000 35mm slides dating from the 1950s and 1960s that document Wheeler's personal travels to Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the American West.
Biographical/Historical note:
Perry Hunt Wheeler (1913-1989), a Georgia native, began his higher education at Emory University, going on to graduate from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1937. Immediately afterward Wheeler enrolled in Harvard University from which he earned a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture in 1938. After graduation, Wheeler collaborated on garden projects in Atlanta, Georgia with fellow landscape architect Helen Hawkins Clarke. During World War II, Wheeler moved to Washington, D.C. to serve under the Office of Civilian Defense and the Office of Strategic Services Camouflage Division. Following the war, Wheeler worked at Garden House a Georgetown shop where he advised homeowners on tasteful garden design, accessories, and furnishings. By 1948 Wheeler had established a landscape architecture practice in Washington, D.C. His practice grew via word of mouth through Washington's social circles and through a shared office with landscape architect Rose Ishbel Greely, and later with architect Gertrude Sawyer.

In 1947, he formed a 'bachelor household' in Georgetown with James Snitzler. Later, at the invitation of Rachel Lambert "Bunny" Mellon, he and Snitzler created a second home outside of Washington called "Spring Hill" on property owned by Mellon. Shortly after Snitzler's death in 1968, Wheeler moved permanently to Middleburg, Virginia and continued to travel, lecture, and consult with clients. Wheeler semi-retired in 1981 to 'Budfield,' a property in Rectortown, Virginia where he passed away in 1989, leaving his estate to his partner, James M. Stengle.

Wheeler is best known for his work on private gardens in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood. He frequently employed the use of intricate brickwork, low-maintenance planting, and simple water features in creating his charming and functional designs. His most noteworthy commissions outside the private realm include collaboration with Bunny Mellon on the White House Rose Garden, designing a Garden Club of America-commissioned gazebo and its surroundings for the U.S. National Arboretum, and plantings for the National Cathedral and President John F. Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.
Provenance:
Gift from the estate of James M. Stengle, 1993.
Restrictions:
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Topic:
Presidents -- United States  Search this
Landscape architects  Search this
Presidents' spouses -- United States  Search this
Gardens -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Lists
Awards
Certificates
Invoices
Negatives
Correspondence
Clippings
Photographs
Invitations
Slides (photographs)
Photographic prints
Plans (drawings)
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Perry H. Wheeler collection.
Identifier:
AAG.WHE
See more items in:
Perry H. Wheeler collection
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb62b29cd93-c01c-4a8c-ae82-fdd6e8499072
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aag-whe
Online Media:

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