Preliminary Plan for the Development of the Grounds of Mrs. M.N. Newhall, Berkeley, CA, 1929
1890 - 1961

Harry Whitcomb Shepherd

Born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, Shepherd moved to California as a youth where he remained the rest of his life. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1914, as the first graduate of the brand-new Division of Landscape Gardening and Floriculture. Upon finishing school, Shepherd’s first job was as Assistant Director of the Los Angeles Beautification Committee.

Shepherd’s long career as both a practicing landscape architect and as a teacher would begin in earnest after his service in World War I. He opened a landscape engineering office in Lodi, and directed the vocational horticulture division at Lodi Union High School. This dual employment served as a model for his life’s work. A lifetime of association with the University of California (UC) system continued as Shepherd taught at UC-Davis from 1922 to 1925 before moving to the university’s Berkeley campus, where he served as an instructor until his retirement in 1955.  

Beyond his classroom work, Shepherd developed planting plans and designs for private, residential gardens as well as schools, institutions, public parks, and highways. From 1925 to 1929 he was a consultant and assistant to Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., at the Olmsted Brothers firm. Also, in the 1920s he was the landscape architect in charge of the California State Park Survey. Other significant consultancies in the profession included work for the California State Park Commission, the City of Berkeley’s Regional Park Commission, and the California State Highway District.

The horticulturist, instructor, and landscape architect became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1955 and retired the following year. He died in Berkeley, California, at the age of 70.

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