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J. B. Jackson Papers

Identifier: MSS- 633 -BC

Scope and Content

The J.B. Jackson papers contain typed and handwritten drafts and manuscripts of books, lectures, essays and articles. Extensive subject files on topics related to his writings provide insight into his influences and methods of research. Topics reflect Jackson's work and personal interest in landscape studies, human geography, vernacular architecture, settlement patterns, and public spaces, focusing on Europe and the United States.

The manuscript collection is divided into six overlapping series: I. Lectures, Notes, and Manuscripts, II. Correspondence III. Subject files, IV. Illustrations, V. Library and Bibliography, and VI. Oversize. Materials found together at the time of Jackson's death were kept together in the collection. Thus, some subject files are housed with writings or notes, as Jackson may have used them. While this may not be the most efficient way to organize a collection for researchers, it does reflect Jackson's eclectic approach to research and analysis.

The first series contains Jackson's writings, including lectures and notes for lectures, book manuscripts, essays, magazine articles, essay notes, and writing fragments. This series also contains a journal from Jackson's travels around the United States in 1957. The Correspondence series contains mostly professional correspondence from the last decade of Jackson's career. The Subject Files series includes photocopied book excerpts, magazine articles, and student and colleague essays, as well as news clippings and correspondence. Subjects include housing, roads, automobiles, land use and city planning. An unorganized collection of illustrations clipped from books and magazines, was sorted into broad subject categories by UNM staff, and comprises the illustration series. The Library and Bibliography series contains copies of selected pages from books in Jackson's library and his bibliography cards. The Oversize series contains mostly illustrations and maps.

Helen Horowitz, Jackson's literary executor, inventoried his papers in 1996. Numbers referencing her inventory, which is found in Box 1, appear in the upper right hand corner of the files where applicable. A few items listed by Horowitz were not received at UNM. Materials are primarily in English, with some writing and subject files in German and French.

Landscape magazine, along with many of the books that came to UNM from Jackson's personal library, have been catalogued into the UNM University Libraries collections. These materials have an electronic bookplate in the library's online catalog that reads: John Brinckerhoff Jackson Memorial Collection.

In June 2003 additional material was added to the collection. The addition contains J.B. Jackson's class lecture notes from Harvard and U.C. Berkeley, several drafts of J.B. Jackson's manuscript, "A History of American Landscapes: The First Thousand Years," which seem to have been partially informed by his lecture notes from Harvard and U.C. Berkeley, and selected writings which include a speech given by Jackson at U.C. Berkeley's commencement ceremony (1986), and an essay entitled, "Fences" for the National Museum of Building (1995). These additional materials were "saved" from J. B. Jackson tossing them in a bonfire, and donated to the Center for Southwest Research subsequent to his death.

Personal Items and Mementos were added in January 2011. This series contains numerous personal items, trinkets and mementos kept by J.B. Jackson over his lifetime. Many were displayed on his mantel and are well-known among Jackson's friends and specifically referred to as the "mantel" items. Most attest to his love for kitsch and popular culture and some relate directly to his landscape related research, such as a set of china souvenir plates with images of trailers, mobile homes and campers. Indeed, many of the items are tourist souvenirs collected by Jackson on his trips through Europe and the United States. Other items include handmade arts and crafts, possibly received as gifts.


  • 1808-1996


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

J. B. (John Brinckerhoff) Jackson, author, editor, and educator, was born to American parents on September 25, 1909, in Dinard, France. He was educated at private schools in France, Switzerland, and the United States. In 1932 he received a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard. He studied architecture at MIT for one year before departing to work as a reporter, and then to travel by motorcycle across the country. Eventually, he settled in northeastern New Mexico, where he had previously spent time visiting his uncle, Wall Street lawyer Percy Jackson. During WWII, Jackson served as a field intelligence officer, an experience that may have been the catalyst for his lifelong interest in the landscape.

Credited with founding the field of landscape studies, Jackson elevated vernacular architecture and landscapes to a level of study once reserved for architect-designed buildings. Shortly after returning to New Mexico, he founded, published, and edited Landscape, a magazine that covered topics relating to cultural landscape. Jackson published Landscape from 1951-1968, when he turned the operation over to Blair Boyd, who continued it into the mid 1990s. La Cienega, New Mexico was Jackson's home base from 1965 until his death in August of 1996. From there he travelled seasonally to teach classes. He taught at UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design and Department of Geography, and also at Harvard (starting in 1969), both as a lecturer in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and in the Department of Landscape Architecture. His books include Landscapes (Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1970), American Space: The Centennial Year (New York: Norton, 1972), Discovering the Vernacular Landscape (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), and A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995).


13 boxes (12.5 cu. ft.), plus 1 oversized folder

Related Material

J. B. Jackson Pictorial Collection, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Collection of J.B. Jackson Pictorial Materials from various sources, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Collection of J. B. Jackson textual materials, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Chester H. Liebs Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

A small collection of Jackson's photographs have been transferred to the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Pictorial Collection.

The John Brinckerhoff Jackson book collection has been disbursed. Volumes retained by the UNM Library can be found under the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Memorial Collection. A complete list of his books can be found on the Anderson Reading Room database called, JBJBooks.

Processing Information

Additions processed June 2003; January 2011; October 2012
Finding Aid of the J. B. Jackson Papers, 1808-1996
Processed by Anne H. Boynton
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 633 BC::J. B. Jackson Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss633bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131