Join us to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted.
Hartford born and buried, Frederick Law Olmsted was ranked #49 on a list of the “most influential figures in American history.” Most famous as the designer of Central Park in New York City, he went on to found the most successful landscape architecture firm, which, for more than a century, designed parks, college campuses, estates and landscape plans for capitols, mental hospitals and more. His 1865 report as chair of the Yosemite Commission was the first big step in the direction that eventually gave birth to the National Park Service. His travels and investigations of the slave South and Texas for the then-new New York Times – yielded a book that has been compared to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin for its influence on the abolition movement. It is the most closely-observed view of American slavery and the culture and economy of the antebellum South in our literature. His leadership of the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil war helped give birth to the Red Cross. This presentation focuses mostly on Olmsted’s writings and work as a journalist and the diversity of talents and accomplishments that earned him a place on that list. Its a Hartford-centric perspective on one of the great champions of America – a man who believed passionately in the American idea and ideas and who fulfilled his own stated mission “to make myself useful in the world, to make others happy & to help advance the condition of society.”