The 2020 Mount Vernon Symposium

John-Aubrey Stone's picture
Call for Papers
February 22, 2020
Virginia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Atlantic History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Urban Design and Planning


The 2020 Mount Vernon Symposium Emerging Scholars Panel


“Under my Vine & Fig Tree”: Gardens and Landscapes in the Age of Washington and Now

Friday, May 29-Sunday, May 31, 2020


Submission Deadline: Friday, February 22, 2020 (Washington’s Birthday)


The 2020 Mount Vernon Symposium explores the dynamic history of gardens and landscapes, in the Founding Era to the present. We welcome proposals on a range of topics, especially planning and design, patrons and pattern books, landscape architecture and furnishings, natural history and plant collecting, horticulture and agriculture, restoration and sustainability. This conference is hosted annually by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and rotates between the three topics of gardens, decorative arts, and art and architecture.  Now in its seventh year, this event features leading scholars from around the globe and attracts a cultivated audience of museum professionals, collectors, connoisseurs, historians, and researchers.

 Join leading gardeners, historians, horticulturalists, archaeologists, and preservationists as they reconsider the importance of gardening, landscapes, and design in early America. Learn how Washington and his contemporaries shaped the natural world to achieve beauty through gardening, profited through agriculture, and conveyed civic values through landscape design—and how these historic methods remain relevant in today’s world. Revisit long-lost gardens, explore contemporary creations inspired by the past, and come face-to-face with the most authentic 18th century plantation landscape in the United States.


For our Emerging Scholars’ Panel, the Washington Library invites graduate students, as well as professionals active in their fields for no more than five years, to propose a 15-minute presentation examining the importance of historic gardening, landscapes, and design. Submit a 250-word abstract along with a CV, by February 22, 2020. Chosen speakers will be offered full symposium participation, travel, and lodging. Presentations will be given on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at the Washington Library.