Elbert Peets

CFA Service: 1950–1958

Elbert Peets was a landscape architect, city planner, and author who contributed significantly to garden city development in the U.S. in the early twentieth century and to the understanding of civic art. In 1916 he opened an office with architect Werner Hegemann; the two worked together until the early 1920s, when Hegemann returned to Europe. In 1922 they published a seminal work, The American Vitruvius: An Architect’s Handbook of Civic Art. Peets continued to practice on his own until the mid-1930s and he continued to write, producing books on city planning and tree care. During the Great Depression, he joined the U.S. Farm Resettlement Administration (1935–38) and then became the chief of the site planning section, U.S. Housing Authority, until 1944. After World War II he worked as a consultant to such clients as the National Capital Planning Commission. He taught at Harvard and Yale Universities from 1950 to 1960. His projects include the new towns of Kohler, Washington Highlands, and Greendale in Wisconsin; Park Forest, Illinois; Bannockburn, Maryland; and Wyomissing Park in Reading, Pennsylvania. Late in his career, he developed the site plan for the Capitol Columns at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Peets received an undergraduate degree from Western Reserve University in 1912 and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University in 1915. His papers are in the collection of Cornell University.