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Olmsted Papers Volume VIII Has Landed

View of Fairsted, Brookline, MA.

View of Fairsted, Brookline, MA. Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

Ethan Carr, FASLA, associate professor of landscape architecture at University of Massachusetts Amherst and one of the nation’s leading Olmsted scholars, edited the most recent volume of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers, published in early November. Volume VIII: The Early Boston Years, 1882–1890, chronicles a significant period in Olmsted’s professional and personal life, says Carr, who is also LALH vice president. “The volume focuses on the period that Olmsted was moving from New York to Fairsted, his home and office in Brookline. He was setting up the office and writing about that to his stepson, John Charles Olmsted, and to his associate Charles Eliot.”

Before moving to Fairsted, the senior Olmsted ran his practice on an ad hoc basis, working mainly out of his home. At Fairsted, Olmsted created a model for landscape architecture offices that is still in use today, with an emphasis on division of labor. It was here that the firm designed much of the Boston park system, one of the most important works the firm did during these years, and about a third of the letters in Volume VIII relate to that. Also included are letters to and about Olmsted’s friend and Brookline neighbor, the architect H. H. Richardson, a very significant influence in his life.

Ellicottdale through Ellicott Arch, Franklin Park

Ellicottdale through Ellicott Arch, Franklin Park. Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

In the course of editing the volume, Carr worked with the Papers’ series editor Charles E. Beveridge.”It was a great education to work with him, because he has established such high editorial standards for this project.”

Carr and Beveridge will be speaking about the project on December 2 at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston (Weld Hill Research Building).

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