Bibliography

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The following is a list of relevant books by and about Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his partner, Calvert Vaux; his sons John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., and their work. It is a work in progress. Please contact NAOP with recommended additions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Master List of Design Projects

The Master List of Design Projects of the Olmsted Firm 1857–1979. Edited by Lucy Lawliss, Caroline Loughlin, and Lauren Meier. NAOP and National Park Service, 2008.

Works by Frederick Law Olmsted

Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England. Reprint of 1852 edition with introduction by Charles C. McLaughlin. LALH/University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 2002.

A Journey through Texas, or a Saddle-Trip on the Western Frontier. Edited by Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell. DeGolyer Library &William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2004.

The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles E. Beveridge, Senior Series Editor

Additional editors in the series: Charles Capen McLaughlin, Charles E. Beveridge, David Schuyler, Jane Turner Censer, Victoria Post Ranney, Ethan Carr, Amanda Gagel, and Michael Shapiro. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977–2007.

  • Frederick Law Olmsted: Essential Texts. Robert Twombly.  New York. W. W. Norton & Co., 2010.

Olmsted Biographies and Writings on His Career

  • FLO—A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted. Laura Wood Roper. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1973.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing the American Landscape. Charles Beveridge and Paul Rocheleau. Rizzoli International, 1995.
  • Genius of Place, The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Justin Martin. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, 2011.
  • A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century. Witold Rybczynski. Scribner, New York, 1999.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect, 1822–1903. Ed. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and Theodora Kimball, New York, B Blom, 1970 (1922-28).
  • Frederick Law Olmsted Partner With Nature. Johanna Johnston. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1975
  • Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.: Founder of Landscape Architecture in America. Julius Gy. Fabos, Gordon T. Milde, and V. Michael Weinmayr. The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1968.
  • The Man Who Made Central Park. M.M. Graff. Greensward Foundation, Inc. New York, 1982.
  • The Nature of Recreation: A Handbook in Honor of Frederick Law Olmsted Using Examples from His Work. Richard Saul Wurman. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1972.
  • Olmsted South: Old South Critic/New South Planner. Editors Dana F. White and Victor Kramer. Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1979.
  • Looking Southward.  An essay by John Stauffer. 2005

Works on Calvert Vaux

  • Country, Park, and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux. Francis R. Kowsky. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Works on John Charles Olmsted

  • For and overview of his work and reference to park reports see the entry by Arleyn Levee in Pioneers of American Landscape Design. Editors Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Karson. McGraw-Hill, New York, 2002.
  • Greenscapes: Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest. Joan Hockaday. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2009.

Works on Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

  • For and overview of his work and reference to park reports see the entry by Susan L. Klaus in Pioneers of American Landscape Design. Editors Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Karson. McGraw-Hill, New York, 2002.
  • A Modern Arcadia: Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and the Plan for Forest Hills Gardens. Susan L. Klaus. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst in Association with the Library of Landscape History, Amherst, 2002.

Works on Other Members of the Olmsted Firm

Park/Place Guides

Alabama
The Birmingham Historical Society's Trilogy on the Olmsted Plan (available through the BHS, www.bhistorical.org.):

  • A Park System for Birmingham. Olmsted Brothers. Originally published by the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, 1925. Republished by Birmingham Historical Society, 2005.
  • The Olmsted Vision – Parks for Birmingham. A publication about the Early Years and Today. Marjorie White and Heather McArn. Introduction by Charles Beveridge. Birmingham Historical Society, 2006.
  • Hand Down Unharmed: Olmsted Files on Birmingham Parks 1920-1925. Birmingham Historical Society. Foreword by Arleyn Levee. Introduction by Marjorie L. White. Birmingham, AL: Birmingham Historical Society, 2008.

California

  • A Vision Achieved: Fifty Years of the East Bay Regional Park District. Mimi Stein. East Bay Regional Park District (1984) ISBN 0-914531-01-8 (Paper). Early chapters cover Olmsted Sr’s trip to California and discussion of the Olmsted-Hall Report.
  • Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region. Greg Hise and William Deverell. University of California Press, 2000.
  • Old Torrance: Olmsted Districts. Bonnie May Barnard, Save Historic Old Torrance. Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
  • Piedmont Way and the Berkeley Property Tract. The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (1995). Introduction by Lesley Emmington Jones. PO Box 1137, Berkeley, CA, 94701 (510) 841-2242
  • Report of State Parks Survey of California. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1929).
  • NAOP Reprints from the:  Report of the Director of the Survey to the California State Park Commission, Frederick Law Olmsted [Jr.], December 29, 1928
  • Report on Proposed Park Reservations for East Bay Cities. Olmsted Brothers (The Olmsted-Hall Report, 1930).

Delaware

  • Within the Reach of All – An illustrated history of Brandywine Park. The 119-page book details the founding of the park and Olmsted's role. It has more than 80 illustrations, many vintage images from the park's early years, and includes an 8-page color section. The Friends of Wilmington Parks, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of parks in the city, has acted as publisher for the book. To obtain a copy, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 302-656-3665. 

District of Columbia

Georgia

  • Residential Work of the Olmsted Firm in Georgia, 1893-1937. Lucy Lawliss. Magnolia Essays Number 1 (Spring 1993), Southern Garden History Society.
  • Historic Grant Park. Jennifer Goad Cuthbertson and Philip M. Cuthbertson. Arcadia Publishing, 2011.

Illinois

Chicago

Kentucky

Maryland

  • Baltimore’s Public Landscapes: The Olmsted Influence A Driving Tour Through Northern Baltimore.
  • Baltimore’s Public Landscapes: From Private Estates to the Public Domain—A Driving Tour of West Baltimore’s Olmsted Legacy.
  • Charles Street: A Boulevard Revisited.
  • From Private Estates to the Public Domain—A Driving Tour of West Baltimore's Olmsted Legacy.
  • Report Upon the Development of Public Grounds for Greater Baltimore, 1904.
  • Report and Recommendations on Park Extension for Baltimore, 1926.
  • The Olmsted Influence--A Driving Tour Through Northern Baltimore.
  • Waterfront and Neighborhood Parks--A Driving Tour of Southern Baltimore's Olmsted Legacy.

All of the above are available through the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes: www.olmstedmaryland.org

  • Olmsted's Sudbrook: The Making of a Community. Melanie Anson. Foreword by Charles Beveridge. Sudbrook Park, Inc., 1997 (reprinted 2005).
  • Baltimore’s Patterson Park. Tim Almaguer. Chicago and elsewhere: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

Massachussetts

Maine

  • Designing the Maine Landscape. Theresa Mattor and Lucie Teegarden, with a preface by Earle Shettleworth Jr. and foreword by Charles E. Beveridge. Camden, ME: Down East Books and the Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks & Landscapes, 2009.

Missouri

  • Henry Shaw's Victorian Landscapes: The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park. Carol Grove. University of Massachusetts Press in association with the Library of America Landscape History, 2005.

New Jersey

New York

Buffalo

Niagara Falls

New York City

  • Central Park: The Birth, Decline, and Renewal of a National Treasure. Eugene Kinkead. WW Norton & Company, Inc. NY, 1990.
  • The Central Park Book. Elizabeth Barlow with Vernon Gray, Roger Pasquier, Lewis Sharp. The Central Park Task Force, 1977.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted’s New York. Elizabeth Barlow. Praeger Publishers, Inc., NY, 1972.
  • The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1992.
  • Seeing Central Park: The Official Guide to the World’s Greatest Urban Park. Sara Cedar Miller. New York: Abrams, 2009.
  • Central Park: An American Masterpiece. Sara Cedar Miller, with a preface by Kenneth T. Jackson and an epilogue by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers. New York: Abrams, in association with the Central Park Conservancy, 2003.

Oregon (also see Pacific Northwest)

  • Guzowski, Kenneth James. Portland’s Olmsted Vision, 1847-1915: A Study of the Public Landscapes Designed By Emmanuel T. Mische in Portland, Oregon. Master’s Thesis, University of Oregon, 1990.
  • Portland Park Board and Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects. Report of the Park Board, Portland, Oregon, 1903, with the Report of Messrs. Olmsted Bros., Landscape Architects, Outlining a System of Parkways, Boulevards and Parks for the City of Portland. Portland: Portland Park Board, 1903.
  • Greenscapes: Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest. Joan Hockaday. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2009.
  • Olmsted in the Pacific Northwest: Private Estates and Residential Communities, 1873-1959: An Inventory. Catherine Joy Johnson. Seattle: Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks, 1997.

Pennsylvania

  • Capital’s Utopia: Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, 1855-1916. Anne E. Mosher, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Washington

  • Washington State Capitol, Olympia, WA: West Capitol Campus Historic Landscape Preservation Master Plan.  General Administration, State of Washington; Arbutus Design LLC; Mithun.  June 2009.
  • Volunteer Park City Landmark Nomination, Seattle, WA, November 2011.
  • Greenscapes: Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest. Joan Hockaday. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2009.
  • Olmsted in the Pacific Northwest: Private Estates and Residential Communities, 1873-1959: An Inventory. Catherine Joy Johnson. Seattle: Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks, 1997.

Wisconsin

  • Milwaukee County Parks. Laurie Muench Albano. Charleston, SC, etc: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

NAOP Publications—Workbook Series 1–5

Miscellaneous Olmsted Literature

Non Fiction
The Devil in the White City.
Erik Larson. Crown Publishers, NY, 2003

Fiction
City of Light
. Lauren Belfer. Random House Group, NY, 2003 (paperback)