Charles W Eliot, Jr. was born 1 November 1859 in Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts to Charles William Eliot (1834-1926) and Ellen Derby Peabody (1836-1869) and died 24 March 1897 Massachusetts of spinal meningitis. He married Mary Yale Pitkin (1865-) 1886 in Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.


Charles Eliot (November 1, 1859 – March 25, 1897) was an American landscape architect, known for pioneering principles of regional planning and laying the groundwork for conservancies across the world. He played a central role in shaping the Boston Metropolitan Park System, designed a number of public and private landscapes, and wrote prolifically on a variety of topics.

Eliot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1859 to Charles W. Eliot and Ellen Derby Peabody. His father became President of Harvard University in 1869, the same year his mother died. He was part of the Eliot family, a prominent family originating from Boston. His father's cousin, Charles Eliot Norton, was professor of art history at Harvard, and a well-known literary figure. On graduation from Harvard in 1882, Eliot pursued horticultural courses at the Bussey Institute at Harvard to prepare himself for the profession of landscape architecture.

In 1883 Eliot became an apprentice for Frederick Law Olmsted and Company, where he worked on designs for Cushing Island, Maine (1883), Franklin Park (1884), the Arnold Arboretum (1885), and the Fens (1883) in Boston, and Belle Isle Park (1884) in Detroit. In 1885, on Olmsted's advice, Eliot traveled to Europe to observe natural scenery as well as the landscape designs of Capability Brown, Humphry Repton, Joseph Paxton, and Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau. Eliot's travel diaries provide one of the best visual assessments of European landscapes in the late 19th century.

Returning to Boston in 1886, Eliot opened his own office. His commissions included White Park (1888) in Concord, New Hampshire, Youngstown Gorge (1891), now called Mill Creek Park, in Youngstown, Ohio, and Salt Lake City's plan for a new town (1890).

After the death of their partner Henry Sargent Codman, Olmsted's son Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and stepson John Charles Olmsted asked Eliot to become a full partner in their firm. In March 1893, the firm's name was changed to Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot. Within a few months, Eliot assumed the leadership role as the elder Olmsted's health continued to fail.

Eliot died March 25, 1897, at age 38 from spinal meningitis.


Offspring of Charles W Eliot, Jr. and Mary Yale Pitkin (1865-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ruth Eliot (1890-)
Ellen Peabody Eliot (1894-)
Carola Eliot (1896-)




Footnotes (including sources)