101. Red Maple: Dig Deeper

Who was Arnold? Learn more about the Arboretum’s founders.​

Benjamin Bussey (1757-1842)donated this land to Harvard College in 1842. A wealthy businessman, Bussey owned several properties. He used this parcel of land for horticultural experiments, and left it open for the public to explore.

James Arnold (1781-1868) was a whaling merchant who made his fortune in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Together with his wife, Sarah Rotch Arnold, Arnold developed an interest in horticulture and public works. When he died in 1868, he left Harvard College a large sum of money for “horticultural advancement” which would become the money allotted to create the Arboretum.

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927) was the first director of the Arboretum. Appointed in 1873, Sargent stewarded the Arboretum for over 50 years, overseeing its design, negotiating its establishment as a city park, and planting thousands of trees in the landscape.

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is often called the “father of landscape architecture.” Breaking with the conventions of heavily-groomed botanic gardens, he created naturalistic landscapes for Central Park, the grounds of the United States Capitol, and the Arnold Arboretum.

Learn more about the Arboretum’s early personalities.