Love Every Leaf: The Life of Land­scape Archi­tect Cor­nelia Hahn Oberlander

Kathy Stin­son
  • Review
By – February 13, 2012
It was a plea­sure to be intro­duced to Cor­nelia Hahn Ober­lan­der through Love Every Leaf. In our nor­mal dai­ly events, her name would not usu­al­ly cross paths with most people’s lives. Yet, the truth is, this one woman has had a pro­found impact on how human­i­ty has been engaged with the envi­ron­ment for years and she is respon­si­ble for many of the major devel­op­ments in play­ground, park, city, and pri­vate land­scape archi­tec­ture and plan­ning. Stin­son doc­u­ments Oberlander’s per­son­al life, her child­hood in Berlin, Ger­many and her migra­tion to the Unit­ed States in 1939 at the age of 18. The book builds upon the events of her life while weav­ing her pas­sion for chil­dren, their need for unstruc­tured play and land­scape archi­tec­ture, which results in the biog­ra­phy of a thought­ful, respon­si­ble and pro­gres­sive woman, who was far ahead of her time. The con­cepts of play, good earth­ly stew­ard­ship and con­ser­va­tion that Ober­lan­der sought to pro­mote are appar­ent in each per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al deci­sion that Stin­son choos­es to high­light. The read­er must be pre­pared for Stinson’s injec­tions of infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent events of the times, which call for a mature his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge base in order to segue into the text. Ages 12 & up.
Chris­tine Maas­dam holds a Mas­ters in Human­i­ties, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in Muse­um Stud­ies and Cul­tur­al Prop­er­ty Pro­tec­tion. She is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing her M.L.I.S. Her inter­ests are phi­los­o­phy and the impact of art and tech­nol­o­gy on culture.

Discussion Questions