Jay, Mary Rutherfurd

Mary Rutherfurd Jay

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Dates of Birth and Death



Fair Haven, Connecticut


  • Bussey Institute, MIT/Harvard University, Forest Hills, MA


  • Mary Rutherford Jay Practice, New York, NY

Professional organizations

  • Royal Horticultural Society (Fellow), London, England

Major projects

  • Plaisance, Greenwich, CT
  • Worldwide Tour


Bussey Institute, CED, Connecticut, Greenwich, Harvard, John Jay, MIT, Massachusetts, New Haven, New Jersey, New York, Plaisance, Rhode Island, Royal Horticularly Society, The Garden Handbook, garden, garden architec, landscape, landscape architect, residential, t garden design


Early life and education

Mary Rutherfurd Jay was born in 1872 to Reverend Peter Augustus and Julia Post Jay New Haven, Connecticut.  Her family is known to be descendants of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States.

Career in Architecture

Jay studied architecture at MIT and Harvard’s Bussey Institute in Forest Hills, Massachusetts. Jay always considered herself a garden architect, with most of her projects being residential and her educational background and liking toward distinctive landscape elements from Europe and Asia.[1] Many of her clients resided in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  Some clients were in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Her first project was planting a plaisance, or “pleasure garden”, on the grounds of a friend living in Connecticut.  In 1908, she opened her practice.[2] In 1912, she presented her worldwide tour, traveling and presenting her illustrated lectures that pertained to global gardens.  In addition to being a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society in London, she held membership positions in several horticultural societies and garden clubs.

In 1931, she published a book titled The Garden Handbook that presented landscape and garden designs from the United States and around the world.  For 20 years, she presented illustrated lectures to many garden clubs.

Major Buildings and Projects

Plaisance, Greenwich, Connecticut, United States (1907)

Worldwide tour (1912)


The Garden Handbook, Harper & Brothers (1931)

Institutional Affiliations

Mary Rutherfurd Jay Practice, New York (1908)



[1] “Mary Rutherfurd Jay – Garden Architect” Exhibit Catalog, Jay Heritage Center, 2015

[2] “Environmental Design Archives.” CED Archives Blog. Accessed July 10, 2015.