Craig Olson Books Newsletter

Staten Island to Stanford University

When most people say the name Frederick Law Olmsted they immediately think of New York's Central Park.

Rightly so.

But many have no idea how prolific Olmsted and his firm were in the 19th and early 20th century.  Even fewer know that he had no training in landscape architecture.  Entirely self-taught, Olmsted gained much of his knowledge from owning a farm on Staten Island that also served as a plant nursery.

It's hard to think of a major city in the United States where he didn't have an influence:  Boston, Chicago, New York, Stanford University, Louisville, and the Biltmore Estate near Asheville. 

Sweeping vistas, constructed natural environments that look as though they have been there for millennia; driving and walking paths that don't interfere with one another, fields for games and boulders for climbing. 

I was fortunate to acquire two libraries in the past few months from a retired landscape architect and an architect -- both had wonderful material on Olmsted. I thought I knew a lot about Olmsted before I started, cataloging this material has opened up some whole new worlds.

Fun Fact:  Did you know that during the Civil War Olmsted gave up his practice and moved to Washington, DC, to run the U.S. Sanitary Commission, later to become the American Red Cross, to care for the wounded?

A few selections are listed below, to see all of my material on Olmsted you can jump to this link:

Frederick Law Olmsted

As always, to order or view additional photographs click on the image below.

I fly home Saturday, which explains this email being a day early -- I'm off for some more desert time...



Olmsted, Frederick Law; Beveridge, Charles E. (Editor); McLaughlin, Charles Capen (Editor); Schuyler, David (Editor).
The Papers of Frederick Law Olmstead (Volumes I-VI).
Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977-1992.
Hardcover. First Edition. The Formative Years, 1822-1852 (Volume I), Second Printing, 1983, xx, 423 pp.; Slavery and the South 1852-1857 (Volume II), xxi, 503 pp.; Creating Central Park, 1857-1861 (Volume III), xxvii, 470 pp.; Defending the Union, 1861-1863 (Volume IV), xxv, 757 pp.; The California Frontier, 1863-1865 (Volume V), xxvi, 8vo pp.; The Years of Olmsted, Vaux & Company, 1865-1874 (Volume VI), xxvii, 729 pp. 8vo. Clean, crisp copies with light scuffing to dust jackets, now in mylar covers.

An important run of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), his influence on the new profession of landscape architecture in the United States, the creation of Central Park, and the other hundreds of parks, greenways, and college campuses created by Olmsted and his firm. Rarely found in an unbroken run.
Price: $900.00  
Miller, Sara Cedar.
Central Park, An American Masterpiece.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
Hardcover. First Edition. First Printing. 255 pp. 4to. Clean, crisp copy. Dust jacket is price clipped, in mylar cover.

Signed by the author on the half-title page. A wonderfully illustrated history of Frederick Law Olmsted's masterwork.
Price: $50.00  
Olmsted, Frederick Law.
Proposed Improvements for Newport: A Report Prepared for the Newport Improvement Association by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Cambridge, MA: The University Press, 1913.
Wraps. First Edition. v, 54 pp. Folio. Brown heavy paper wraps with title in dark brown. "Olmstead" [sic} written in ink on upper left corner of front cover, slight soiling, small paint spot at lower right corner. Olmsted Office stamp from 1964 at lower right corner of first free endpaper, interior very clean.

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr's (Senior died in 1903) recommendations for updating civic infrastructure at the outset of the 20th century for Newport, Rhode Island. The Olmsted Family and their landscape planning firm had a long history with Newport, even then, so it is likely that many of these recommendations were enacted.
Price: $200.00  
Craig Olson Books
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