1893 - 1977

Gertrude Deimel Kuh

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Kuh entered Sweet Briar College in Virginia in 1912, transferring the following year to the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts. She interned in the office of Ellen Shipman, and received her degree in 1917. Kuh was then hired at the office of Francis Robinson in Des Moines, Iowa. She returned to Chicago in 1921 and started her own practice. Her first designs were for private gardens in Pennsylvania, where she had family connections. Working from her home office, Kuh began designing gardens, landscape plans, and site plans for projects in Chicago and along the city’s North Shore. In the 1930s she designed several gardens for shoe manufacturer Irving Florsheim’s estate in Libertyville, Illinois. In addition to creating landscape plans for existing homes, Kuh also collaborated with architects on new construction. She was so well established by 1940 that she was often hired before the project architect with the understanding that she would assist in choosing the architect. By 1950, Kuh became associated with landscape architect Mary Rogers. Over the course of their 25-plus year collaboration, they completed over 200 designs together. Although most of her work was residential, Kuh completed commissions for several hospitals and religious institutions, including the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago (1963). She continued to design until 1973, often integrating existing landscape features into her designs and rarely including flowers, preferring to utilize tonalities of greens and browns to create fluctuating textures.

Kuh became a member of the North Shore Garden Club early in her career, and served as its president during the 1930s. Many of her commissions came from her active participation with the club. Kuh passed away at the age of 84 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.