Donald Grant Mitchell Bicentennial Celebration

April 6, 2022

By Michael Morand

The Beinecke Library joins with partners throughout New Haven to mark the bicentennial of the birth of Donald Grant Mitchell.

Born on April 12, 1822, in Norwich, Connecticut, Mitchell was a life-long lover of nature and the environment. He graduated from Yale in 1841 and earned an early reputation as a travel writer depicting the splendor of Europe’s great cities, its country villages and distinctive natural destinations. Mitchell was one of the 19th century’s best-selling authors and popular lecturers, and his books sold more than a million copies in his times. A self-taught landscape and agricultural architect, Mitchell was known in his day for creating his beautiful farm of “Edgewood” on the outskirts of New Haven in Westville and went on to design much of the early New Haven park system, including East Rock and Edgewood parks. The Westville branch of the New Haven Free Public Library is named for Mitchell.

The Donald Grant Mitchell Papers (YCAL MSS 492) contain original correspondence and manuscripts by the prominent nineteenth-century New Haven-area author and comprise 5.26 linear feet (15 boxes) of material. The collection also includes biographical and bibliographical material, financial and legal records, photographs, and printed ephemera. The library also holds a number of manuscript maps made by Mitchell, a set of his scrapbooks, and first editions and other copies of his published works. The Whitney Library of the New Haven Museum also holds significant material by and about Mitchell (MSS 140).

From April 11 - May 1, visit Beinecke Library for a pop-up display on the mezzanine of some items from the special collections at Yale:

  • Photographs, interiors of Edgewood, undated, photographer not noted.
  • Poem: On the 80th birthday of Donald Grant Mitchell, by Waldo H. Dunn, April 12, 1902.
  • Photograph of Donald Grant Mitchell, 1903, photographer not noted.
  • Pictures of Edgewood, Donald Grant Mitchell, 1869. Za M692 +869. Cover and opening to map of Edgewood Farm (manuscript map by Mitchell also in collections, 766 N46 1865A).
  • Photograph, inscribed by Mitchell, “Edgewood, December 22nd, 1905,” photographer not noted, with engraving of Mitchell painted by C. L. Elliott, engraved by Capewell & Kimmel, undated. YCAL MSS 492

Visit the website of the citywide DGM Bicentennial Committee for a list of events and celebrations around New Haven this year.

To view digitized images of the manuscript maps by Mitchell in the Beinecke Library collections, visit the digital collections online: