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Henry S. Codman

Henry S. Codman, initially a student of Frederick Law Olmsted, and later Omsted’s partner, was directly involved in the designs and construction of South Park and Cazenovia Park in Buffalo. He also represented the Olmsted firm when the design of Cazenovia Park was being challenged within the Park Board by a rival design. With the able aid of Park Superintendent William McMillan, the opposing design was shelved and the Olmsted firm’s plan adopted.

Here is his obituary, from Garden and Forest, Volume 6, Issue 256. [January 18, 1893], p. 36:

Henry Sargent Codman died suddenly, after an operation for appendicitis, on the I3th instant, at Chicago, where he had charge of the landscape department of the Columbian Exposition. No man at his age had ever accomplished more in his profession, or gave brighter promise of what could confidently be expected from his matured powers.

Mr. Codman was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on the 19th of June, I864. He graduated at the Institute of Technology in I884, and almost immediately entered the office of Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted. In the summer of I887 he traveled with his uncle, Professor C. S. Sargent, through England, France, Germany and Italy to study living collections of plants, nurseries, parks and gardens. Soon after, he went to Paris and pursued his professional studies for more than a year under the direction of Edouard Andre, and on his return he was taken into partnership by Mr. Olmsted. Since then he has been intimately associated with Mr. Olmsted in all the important works that have been carried on by that firm, including the design of the Exposition Grounds in Chicago, in the construction of which he has been practically the executive head from the outset. Mr. Codman was tall, strong, of commanding appearance and apparently of great constitutional vigor. He had inherited a profound love of natural beauty, and his taste had been disciplined and refined by close observation and wide reading. He was thoroughly acquainted with the literature of his profession. His library in this department was unequaled in this country, and his index of works on the subject, published in this journal, was the most complete that has yet appeared. He invariably gained the confidence and esteem of all with whom he came in contact professionally, and he was remarkably successful in impressing his opinions upon them and leading them to see things from his point of view. That he won the affection as well as the respect of his associates was remarkably manifested in his Chicago work, where he came into warm comradeship with almost the entire corps of artists, and where he helped, no doubt, materially, to bring about that sympathetic co-operation and unity of purpose which has been so marked among them. This was due partly to the fact that from his position he stood for the one uniting element and represented among the various professions and crafts the general design in its comprehensiveness and consistency. But his professional position was made effective by his personal qualities and accomplishments-by that broad, liberal and catholic cultivation which brought him into cordial and appreciative relationship with all the artists in all their varied fields. His leadership was, therefore, natural and spontaneous, for, although he was modest almost to diffidence, he never shrank from assuming responsibility. He had the moral qualities which mark the master, in addition to the highest intellectual appreciation of the possibilities of his profession, and in view of what he was and of the relations he had established with so many of the foremost architects of the country, his untimely death must be lamented as a serious loss to rural art in America.