Massachusetts Horticultural Society Library

Herbert Wendell Gleason Negative Collection

Herbert W. Gleason (1855-1937) was a renowned photographer and lecturer. He was born in Malden, Massachusetts and graduated from Williams College in 1877. After attending Union and Andover seminaries, he served as a congregational minister in Minnesota. After retiring from the ministry, he became a professional photographer. In 1899, he moved to Melrose, Massachusetts.

In addition to general photography, Gleason was a photographer for the National Parks Service (NPS), National Geographic, and other publications. He was particularly interested in Thoreau and photographed Walden Pond and other places Thoreau wrote about. His lectures featured slides of his photographs. He was close friends with the first Director of NPS Stephen Mather, noted botanist Luther Burbank, and the "Father of National Parks" John Muir. Later in life, he was the official photographer of the Arnold Arboretum and Massachusetts Horticultural Society, where he photographed many mid-twentieth century Flowers Shows and other activities.

Several institutions have collections of Gleason’s work. This Collection depicts large estate gardens in the Northeastern United States, many of which have disappeared.

For more information on Gleason and his work, see "Herbert Wendall Gleason, Photographer" in Arnoldia, Vol. 46, No. 3, Summer 1986, p. 49-50, found at

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