With heavy hearts, the Olmsted Network announces the passing of W. Edward (Ed) Orser, a dedicated Olmsted champion and beloved professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
Ed’s journey with the Olmsted Network began when the organization was known as the National Association for Olmsted Parks. As a faithful member, he served as an advisor, bringing his passion for Olmsted landscapes to the forefront of the organization’s initiatives.
Ed’s involvement extended beyond the Olmsted Network through his association with the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes (FMOPL). As the organization’s president, he played a pivotal role in transferring its archives to the Baltimore City Archives. His dedication also led to the placement of an Olmsted map in the Maryland Department of Planning conference room and the recognition of Baltimore’s Olmsted Parkways as a city landmark.
As a professor at UMBC, Ed dedicated over four decades to the Department of American Studies, leaving an indelible impact on his students and serving as the honoree of the Orser Center for the Study of Community, Place, and Culture. His commitment to education extended to the Johns Hopkins Odyssey program, where he taught classes on Olmsted.
Ed’s scholarly contributions were significant, with several articles and books to his name, including A Tale of Two Park Plans: The Olmsteds’ Vision for Baltimore and Seattle, 1903; Exploring the Olmsted Legacy in Maryland: How the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes Can Help; Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmonson Village Story; and The Gwynns Falls: Baltimore Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Olmsted Network joins in remembering and celebrating the remarkable life and work of our dear friend Ed Orser, whose tireless efforts to preserve and promote Olmsted parks will not be forgotten.
From FMOPL: In Loving Memory of Ed Orser (1941-2024)