Sara A. Butler


In her article, “Sargent’s Foot Soldiers: Japanese Plants, Newport Gardeners, and Growing the Arnold Arboretum,” Sara A. Butler also skillfully connects Newport residents to a larger, regional movement, but of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She demonstrates that Bristol and Newport residents were key collaborators in an effort to establish a world-class arboretum in Boston that would include exotic shrubs and plants, brought over from Japan and other countries, some of which were propagated here in Newport and the surrounding area. Dr. Butler describes the painstaking work involved in obtaining, planting and cultivating these rare specimens, and the incredible dedication of those who hunted for and imported them. Sara A. Butler is Professor Emerita at Roger Williams University where she taught courses on art and architectural history, Newport art, architecture and landscapes, and on the history of landscape architecture. She has lectured and published numerous articles on American architecture and landscapes, commemoration and memory, and American public art and race. The article that she wrote for this issue is one in a trilogy of essays on horticultural exchange at the turn of the twentieth century between East and West, specifically between eastern New England and Japan.