April 28, 2022, by Neely Tucker
This is a guest post by Barbara Bair, a historian in the Manuscript Division.
This month, the Library is recognizing this week’s bicentennial of the birth of writer, administrator and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of the U.S. Capitol grounds and public parks and spaces around the country.
Activities include an Olmsted Bicentennial exhibit in the Jefferson Building and a series of By the People crowdsourcing transcription challenges for online volunteers.
The Library holds the largest collection of manuscript materials in the nation related to Olmsted’s long career, as well as the records of the 20th-century successor firm operated by his sons. The Manuscript Division holds both Olmsted’s personal papers and the records of Olmsted Associates. The landscape architecture firm based in Brookline, Massachusetts, was operated by Olmsted sons Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and John Charles Olmsted, and featured many talented associates.
These collections are digitized and available online. The bicentennial exhibit charts Olmsted’s life from his youth through modern reinterpretations of the public parks he designed. The five-case display is on view on both sides of the Great Hall through June 4. It features items from the Manuscript Division, the Prints and Photographs Division and the general collections in combination with reproductions of drawings and photographs from the National Park Service’s Olmsted Archives at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline.