502-8As-built plan of Central Park
G06-144_GGeneral Plan for the College of New Jersey
Acadia_plan_9138A-124-sh2_0001AAcadia National Park Plan
09199-FRLA45694Perspective sketch of sheter for the Kennedy Estate
Fairsted_image_for_Volunteer_AwardSouth lawn with Olmsted Elm
Olmsted_ExteriorFairsted House Exterior
_Masterlist2008-6Olmsted's Signature Elm
_Masterlist2008-9Historic View of Fairsted
Riverway_GTHUMBView Upstream from Longwood Avenue Bridge
G06-093_GWorld's Columbian Exposition
Horizontal_OfficeTHUMB1Olmsted Office at Fairsted
Fairsted_Education_ProgramTHUMB4Fairsted Staff Lead a Tour
 

Olmsted Archives at Fairsted, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, National Park Service

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At the height of his career, Frederick Law Olmsted established a full-scale professional office in Brookline, MA, which expanded and continued his landscape design ideals, philosophy, and influence over the course of a century. The Olmsted home and office, known as Fairsted, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Olmsted National Historic Site was established by Congress in 1979 to preserve and interpret the home and office of Frederick Law Olmsted, his sons and successor firm, and provide researchers with historic documentation for Olmsted-designed landscapes.

The Olmsted Archives

The Olmsted Archives at Fairsted contain over 1,000,000 original documents related to the more than 6,000 landscape design projects undertaken by the Olmsted firm from the 1850s to 1979. It contains approximately 140,000 landscape architectural drawings and plans, 30,000 photographic negatives, 60,000 photographic prints, 70,000 planting lists, lithographs, financial records, job correspondence, reports, and models.

The National Park Service has cataloged and conserved the majority of the collections, which contain landscape photographs, initial surveys, field sketches, general plans, planting lists, presentation drawings, business records and scale models. Researchers can study historic records related to parks, gardens, communities, estates and campuses designed by the Olmsted firm.

The collections are searchable through finding aids, databases and indices, such as:

the Olmsted Research Guide Online (ORGO)
The Master List of Design Projects of the Olmsted Firm 1857–1979

The Collections

Landscape Design Records
(1859–1979) help to illustrate the design process for over 5,000 projects undertaken by the firm. The design records contain:

plans and drawings
planting lists
correspondence
photographs
lithographs
published reports

    Plans may include initial surveys and topographic maps, field sketches and notes, as well as several versions of preliminary plans, general plans, planting plans and presentation drawings. These records also illustrate the Olmsted firm’s involvement in horticultural science and the development of the park movement, including the establishment of the National Park Service.

    Reference Collections
    (1839–1974) collected by the Olmsted firm exhibit a wide range of design examples and available landscape products and services. The reference materials contain:

    photographs of international landscapes
    advertisements
    atlases
    nursery catalogs
    reports
    articles
    newspaper clippings
    periodicals
    books

      Administrative Records
      (1880–1980) provide additional context for the landscape design process. The collection includes:

      ledger and accounting books
      billing records
      office memoranda
      advertising and promotional literature
      personnel files.

        As a whole, these records document the firm’s employment patterns and operational methods. Records in this collection also detail the purchase of specific materials used for landscape design projects.

        Personal Papers
        (1847–1980) include Olmsted family photographs, financial records, professional and personal association records, and selected papers of Olmsted firm principals, including Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870–1957), James Frederick Dawson (1874–1941), and Henry Vincent Hubbard (1875–1947).

        Research Appointments

        The Olmsted Archives is currently available on a limited basis for use by researchers with assistance from Museum Services archives staff.  Limited research visits may be arranged by advance appointment.

        Olmsted Archives Contact Information

        Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
        99 Warren Street
        Brookline, Massachusetts 02445
        phone: (617) 566-1689
        fax:  (617) 232-3964
        e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
        www.nps.gov/frla

        To expedite service, please include the following information:

        Name and affiliation
        Mailing address, e-mail address
        Scope and purpose of research
        Olmsted Job Number(s), if known
        Client name at the time of firm’s activity
        City and State of Olmsted job