William Lyman Phillips papers - 1886-1992

Identity elements

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William Lyman Phillips papers - 1886-1992


  • 1886-1992 (predominant: 1922-1966) (Creation)


32 boxes, 155 plans and maps

Name of creator

Biographical history

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The bulk of papers pertain to W. L. Phillips' career, from his work at Harvard University in the early 1900s to his involvement in numerous landscaping projects through the late 1950s, with substantial portions of this data relating to the Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Royal Palm State Park.

Among the records are letters, invoices, notes, clippings, sketches, reports, planting lists, contracts, specifications, photographic prints, negatives, pamphlets, and ephemera. Documents related to professional organizations and awards are also included. A set of alphabetized index cards bears notes concerning landscape architecture, astronomy, investment information, property data, and other topics. In addition, notebooks of Harvard class notes, classified plant lists, and field notes and sketches augment the collection.

Supplementing the papers regarding professional projects are original plans and blueprints, as well as several maps. Where indicated in the files, photocopies of some plans substitute for the originals, which are located at the University of Miami library.

Also maintained in the collection are papers documenting Phillips' personal life spanning the early 1900s to the mid-1960s. Correspondence with family members and friends, school records and notebooks, an address book, birth and death records, passports, identification cards, certificates, travel brochures, clippings, and other ephemera comprise this material. Financial and property records include bank statements, correspondence, mortgage papers, investment documents, and tax information. In addition, the personal data contains a 1992 historic designation report for Phillips' North Miami residence. Two pencil drawings found among the papers depict the figure of an unknown youth and a signed portrait of William Lyman Phillips.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged into nine series: (1) residential projects -- private; (2) residential projects -- commercial; (3) commercial projects; (4) professional correspondence; (5) professional papers; (6) clippings; (7) photographic prints; (8) research notes; and (9) plans and maps. Within each series, files possess an alphabetical order by subject followed by a chronological arrangement where dates are indicated.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Boxes 1-26, the plans and the maps are open for research. Boxes 27-32 are closed for research until Mrs. Coyle’s death or the year 2025, whichever comes first.

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Acquisition and appraisal elements

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Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of his daughter, Juliette Phillips Coyle, through Faith Jackson, 1994.

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Related archival materials

The following items have been separated from the papers and filed in Oversized Ephemera, box 2: two pencil drawings, one of an unidentified youth and and other a portrait of W. L. Phillips; Certificate of Fellowship presented by the American Society of Landscape Architects, 1951.

Phillips’ landscape drawings are at the University of Miami, Richter Library, Special Collections, Coral Gables, Florida. Phillips' papers relating to Fairchild Tropical Garden are housed in the archives of Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, Florida. Additional papers and plans are in Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Related descriptions

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Other Information


Papers 1994-335
Photographs and Negatives 1994-753-1 thru 365
Notebooks 1994-790-1 thru 3
Drawings and Certificate 1994-791-1 thru 3
Plans 1994-788-1 thru 128
Maps 1994-796-1 thru 27

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 HistoryMiami Archives & Research Center. All rights reserved.

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