Local organizations come together to honor park designer and writer Donald Grant Mitchell

Eight distinctive businesses are web hosting activities to honor the Yalie, who remained in New Haven and designed prolific parks such as Edgewood and East Rock.

Sai Rayala

12:28 am, Apr 22, 2022

Personnel Reporter

Courtesy of Barbara Lamb

Donald Grant Mitchell’s legacy can be witnessed during New Haven, irrespective of whether it is at his namesake Mitchell Library or at the East Rock and Edgewood parks that he made. When he is a somewhat unknown determine, various regional organizations are producing guaranteed his bicentennial celebration receives the notice it justifies. 

Mitchell would have turned 200 on April 12. To commemorate the event, 8 organizations throughout New Haven, which include the New Haven Museum, the Beinecke Uncommon Reserve and Manuscript Library and the New Haven Preservation Rely on, are organizing many activities all through April and May perhaps as portion of the Donald Grant Mitchell Bicentennial Committee.

“We are really thrilled at Yale and in the library to sign up for with this kind of a great set of neighbors to rejoice Mitchell and frankly to rejoice New Haven,” explained Michael Morand, communications director at the Beinecke library. “It is seriously a fantastic illustration of neighborhood community partnership.”

The celebration began with a birthday occasion very last 7 days for Mitchell at the Mitchell Library department of the New Haven Community Libraries. From April 11 to Could 1, the Beinecke library has a pop-up display on the mezzanine of some objects from the specific collections at Yale, which include a photograph of Mitchell and drawings of Edgewood. On Might 5, Yale history professor Jay Gitlin will be giving a presentation on Mitchell at the New Haven Museum. 

Morand reported that Barbara Lamb, the former director of arts and cultural affairs for New Haven, experienced attained out to numerous companies to arrange the celebration. Morand stated that the Beinecke had celebrated Mitchell’s birthday each yr on social media, but all the organizations agreed that a specific celebration need to be held for his 200th birthday. 

Lamb reported that she very first got intrigued in Mitchell when she researched and wrote about him as an undergraduate at the University of New Haven. The paper was later on posted by the New Haven Museum and Lamb reported she gave a couple displays, but as she moved on to other issues in her everyday living, she “kind of forgot about him.”

Lamb stated that it was only this earlier December, as she was sitting in on a assembly with the New Haven Preservation Have confidence in, that another person brought up how this 12 months would be Mitchell’s 200th birthday. Lamb volunteered to manage the celebrations and started out achieving out to several community companies. 

“The more people today I talked to, the more I recognized that there are a whole lot of men and women that are fascinated in this person, so it came with each other pretty quickly,” Lamb mentioned.

Born in Norwich, Mitchell attended Yale University the place he graduated as valedictorian of his class of 1841. All through his time at Yale, he contributed prolifically to the Yale Literary Magazine. He later on went to provide in the American consulate in Liverpool, England in the course of which he wrote thoroughly about his European travels. 

Upon returning from England, he bought the farm he known as Edgewood — which would afterwards flip into the existing Edgewood Park. According to the official site, Mitchell also went on to operate with the New Haven Parks Fee, by way of which he planned and designed considerably of the New Haven Parks method which include Edgewood Park, East Rock Park, Fort Hale Park, Bayview Park and other people. Alongside with these parks, Mitchell also intended private gardens and parks in other metropolitan areas as well. 

Morand defined that Mitchell was also a map-maker who made large hand-drawn and hand-coloured maps of New Haven spaces. 4 of his maps are at the Beinecke library and Morand says that the library strategies to display these maps in May possibly. 

Along with remaining an city farmer and a landscape designer, Gitlin talked about how Mitchell was a prolific and popular writer in the 19th century.  

“He was really a fascinating man,” mentioned Gitlin, who will be talking about Mitchell’s legacy on the New Haven landscape for the duration of his chat. “He sort of wished to do it all.” 

The Donald Grant Mitchell Papers at the Beinecke library keep 15 boxes of product comprising first correspondence and manuscripts by Mitchell. 


Sai Rayala stories on Yale-New Haven relations. She formerly lined local climate and environmental attempts in New Haven. Initially from Powell, Ohio, she is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight School majoring in Historical past.