“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newark in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Magnolia Circle

University of Delaware

The Magnolia Circle Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 1, 2019
1. The Magnolia Circle Marker
The beauty of the surrounding landscape on the University's South Green is the result of careful planning in the 1920s by one of the first female landscape architects in the United States, Marian Cruger Coffin. Miss Coffin designed and directed UD landscaping projects until 1952.

Born in New York on Sept. 16, 1876, of a socially prominent family, Miss Coffin chose a career in landscape architecture at a time when it was not fashionable for a woman to do so. She was the only woman in a class of 500 in 1904 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in landscape architecture.

Miss Coffin's commission for the design of the Newark campus, considered a hallmark of the history of American landscape design, was awarded after her work in landscaping the private residences of the three prominent Delaware College trustees: Chairman H. Rodney Sharp's Gibraltar, Henry duPont's Winterthur and the estate of Lammot duPont.

Miss Coffin's design for plantings, arrangements and walkways of the college campus greatly enhanced the character of the landscape, integrating the formal
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style of the original 1917 architect's plan for the Men's Campus with a softer, more "romantic" character on the Women's Campus.

The union of these two campuses was also clearly envisioned by Marian Coffin. Her design masterpiece, this Magnolia Circle at the heart of the University of Delaware Green, creates the illusion of a continuous axis between what was once Delaware College and the Women's College.

During the renovation of nearby Memorial Hall, completed in 1999, significant landscaping restoration reflecting her original plan was accomplished. Despite the years of growth and change, Marian Cruger Coffin's fluid design continues to contribute to the beauty of this campus, by gracefully integrating architecture and plantings to create what has been called "absolutely the most gorgeous campus anywhere."*

* The Princeton Review, 1999

The Magnolia Circle unites separate sections of the campus on a continuous axis, originally shown in Marian Coffin's 1920 landscape plan.
Erected by University of Delaware.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureEducationWomen. In addition, it is included in the University of Delaware series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 16, 1876.
Location. 39° 
The Magnolia Circle Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 1, 2019
2. The Magnolia Circle Marker
40.642′ N, 75° 45.134′ W. Marker is in Newark, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker can be reached from South College Avenue north of Sunset Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 181 South College Avenue, Newark DE 19717, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. University of Delaware (within shouting distance of this marker); Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) (within shouting distance of this marker); Winifred J. Robinson (1867-1962) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hugh Martin Morris (1878-1966) (about 300 feet away); The Roselle Grove (about 300 feet away); New Castle Hall (about 300 feet away); Rev. Dr. Francis Alison (1705-1779) (about 500 feet away); Kent Hall (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newark.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 201 times since then and 28 times this year. Last updated on August 3, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 1, 2023