Water Lilies Among the Wheat Fields


John Scott Bradstreet’s Japanese Gardening in Minneapolis


in Journal of Japonisme
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While John Scott Bradstreet’s introduction of the Japanese jin-di-sugi method of woodworking at the Minneapolis Craftshouse has been well chronicled, his work in the more ephemeral arena of Japanese gardening has not been similarly illuminated. This article considers Bradstreet’s activities as a Japanese gardener in the context of his eleven trips to Japan, examining three gardens in Minneapolis. The broader context of the introduction of Japanese gardens to the American public at World’s Fairs is also considered, along with the development of a critical perspective among design reform advocates who discriminated between an educated approach informed by the history and symbolism of Japanese gardening, versus the popular Japoniste fad for picturesque effects.


References
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    In the summer of 1903The Minneapolis Journal interviewed Bradstreet upon his return from his seventh trip to Japan. “Japan of To-Day” p. 7. When the following summer The Minneapolis Journal reported on vandalism at the Craftshouse garden Bradstreet is described as recently returned from a trip to the East likely the American East Coast. “Buddha Fares Ill in Strange Land” in The Minneapolis Journal June 1 1904 p. 6.

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    Bradstreet remarked“Another thing which has gone up over there is the United States in the estimation of the Japs and the foreign colony and this has been due in part to the development of the American navy. Fourteen years ago when I made my first visit to Japan we found but two war ships in the harbor as we steamed in. One was a British boat which was a very fine machine for those days; quite modern. The other was the old side-wheeler the Monarchy of the United States navy. Douglas Sladon the poet laureate of Australia was on the boat at that time and I shall never forget how he guyed me about our navy. On this trip there were nine big war ships in the harbor when we arrived and five of them were flying the colors of the United States. I tell you it makes a difference – that and some other things – and I believe in a big navy. The Russian boats were very much in evidence during the time I was in Japan and we would often see them anchored in the harbors. But I noticed one thing: Whenever a Russian war ship dropped anchor in a Japanese harbor there was a Japanese ship anchored on each side of her. They are very suspicious of Russia just now and they are very active. I spent one day in the castle at Osaka the military headquarters and there was nothing but infantry cavalry and artillery drilling going on all the time. The Japs have their interest centered on Manchuria and seem to feel that something is going to happen soon.” “Japan of To-Day” p. 7.

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Figures
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    Entrance to the Bradstreet Craftshouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, c. 1904. Hennepin County Library Special Collections

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    Japanese garden at the Bradstreet Craftshouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, c. 1910. Hennepin County Library Special Collections.

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    Undated portrait of John Scott Bradstreet. Hennepin County Library Special Collections.

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    John S. Bradstreet and Company, Lotus Table, c. 1903–1907. Cypress wood, 28 3/8 × 30 × 30 in. (72.07 × 76.2 × 76.2 cm). Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Gift of funds from Wheaton Wood, by exchange 82.43.11. Minneapolis Institute Of Arts.

  • View in gallery
    Illustration of the fountain in the Japanese garden at the Minneapolis Craftshouse from Gustave Stickley’s “A Garden Foundation,” published in The Craftsman (October 1904). Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

  • View in gallery
    View of F.F. Fletcher’s garden from “Bit of Japan is Brought to Minneapolis in Temple Garden Surrounding Residence,” The Minneapolis Journal (25 August 1913).

  • View in gallery
    View of the Craftshouse Japanese Garden from the “Resting Shed,” photographed by Henry H. Saylor and published in “The Japanese Garden in America,” Country Life in America 15.4 (March 1909). Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

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    Anonymous illustration from the article “Bradstreet Island,” by W.P. Kirkwood, published in The Bellman (20 January 1912). Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

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    Japanese Gardens at Como Park, St. Paul, c. 1908. Minnesota Historical Society

  • View in gallery
    Jessie Tarbox Beals, Two Japanese Women in the Japanese Garden at the 1904 World’s Fair, c. 1904. Louisiana Purchase Exposition Collection. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis

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