Queer Places:
112 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114
Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063, USA
Harvard University, Cambridge
Oak Grove Cemetery, Gloucester, MA 01930
Amelia Peabody Plywood House, 145 Powisset St, Dover, MA 02030
William Adams Copeland House, 14 Lawrence Rd, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Chester N. Greenough House, 10 Juniper Rd, Belmont, MA 02478
Edwin E. Jack House, 99 Sargent Rd, Brookline, MA 02445
John Muir House, 334 Hammond St, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Chapelbrook, Harry T. Curtiss, 2 Ashfield Rd, Williamsburg, MA 01096
William T. Rice House, 127 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Mary P. Cunningham (1888 - July 16, 1934) was a landscape architect and a Cambridge School graduate. She became a professor of architecture at Smith College.

In 1913 she entered the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton. Afterward she studied at the Cambridge School of Architecture, completing her course there in 1918. She taught at Smith College for two years, and then opened her own office, first in Cambridge and later in Boston.

Her twin sister, Florence, was an educator. They lived on the ground floor of 112 Charles Street, restored by Eleanor Raymond. Raymond transformed the derelict property into a townhouse she would share with friends and relatives for 30 years. Raymond, her sister Rachel and her partner Ethel Power lived on the third and fourth floors. On the second floor lived Raymond's mother. The residents shared common areas on the ground floor, the laundry and a small garden.

In 1923 she studied at the Bussey Institute of Harvard University, and received a Master’s Degree in Dendrology from Radcliffe, being the only woman to receive this degree through Bussey. In 1924 she became a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. She taught Plant Design at the Cambridge School from 1919 till the time of her death, and at Lowthorpe from 1932 to 1933. Ethel Power, for many years editor of House Beautiful, writes of her; “Miss Cunningham was a born teacher, and had the happy faculty of making her students see not only the outward, distinguishing features of our native plants, but also the less apparent characteristics of their structure, and especially their quintessence as potential elements of design. So far did she lead her students into new realms of the plant world, enlightening the way with her discriminating observations, that students at the Cambridge School, in referring to her course, spoke always of ‘taking Miss Cunningham.’ ”

She has a department in House Beautiful, “Month by Month In the Garden.” She visited most of the European countries, and Hawaii, Bermuda and North Africa. Her knowledge of garden design as exemplified in the great formal gardens of Italy, France and England, and also of the various informal uses of the indigenous material of different countries, was wide and put to constant practical use.

Among her gardens were those for Miss Amy Peabody, Dover; Mrs. William Adams Copeland, Chestnut Hill; Mrs. Chester N. Greenough, Belmont; Mrs. Edwin E. Jack, Brookline; Mrs. John Moir, Chestnut Hill; Mr. Ralph Hornblower, Plymouth; Mrs. Edward C. Moore, South Duxbury; Mr. Harry T. Curtiss, Ashfield; Mr. William T. Rice, Pittsfield; and Mr. Thomas Hewes, Farmington, Conn.

On the evening of July 16, 1934, Mary Cunningham passed away in the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She had been run over by a motor truck a few hours earlier.


  1. The First American Women Architects, by Sarah Allaback, University of Illinois Press, 2008
  2. Vassar Quarterly, Volume XIX, Number 4, 1 November 1934