Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York, c. 1870-1890.  Stereograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In celebration of Olmsted 200 and Earth Day, the Library of Congress (LOC)  is presenting the Olmsted Bicentennial exhibit for visitors in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson building. In addition to the exhibit, LOC is also hosting a series of weekly By the People crowdsourcing transcription challenges for the By Design: Frederick Law Olmsted and Associates campaign. These challenges can be participated in virtually by anyone across the country or around the world. 

Olmsted Bicentennial Exhibit

The Olmsted Bicentennial exhibit is on display on two sides of the Great Hall, on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress, from March 15 to June 4, 2022.  Presented by the nation’s largest public library, the exhibit emphasizes Olmsted’s life, love of nature, and vision of public parks and public spaces.  The five-case display features collection items from the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Prints and Photographs Division, General Collections, and reproductions of items from the National Park Service, including the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Olmsted Archives, Brookline, Massachusetts.  Check the Library of Congress main web portal at  for more information guiding visitors to the Library, including advance appointment requirements that may be in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Olmsted “By Design” Crowdsourcing Transcription Challenge

The Library of Congress By the People crowdsourcing transcription project invites Olmsted enthusiasts to transcribe and review materials from the subject file of the Library’s Frederick Law Olmsted Papers collection featured in the By Design Olmsted campaign, with special weekly challenges during Olmsted’s bicentennial birthday month of April 2022. Transcribing Olmsted’s notes, correspondence, and received materials will make these important documents more accessible and discoverable for all. Each week in the month of April, the Library challenges volunteers to contribute to the Olmsted transcription in different ways. 

Week 1 (April 4-8): Help complete the printed pages in the Olmsted campaign! Library staff will share links to typed or printed pages like this folder from Olmsted’s work in Boston or this folder related to his park designs in Brooklyn. Printed material provides a more easily discernible alternative to some of the difficult handwriting in the collection.

Week 2 (April 11-15): Get started on some of the untouched items in the Olmsted files! This week, we’re encouraging volunteers to help us get going on some of the folders and items that have seen little transcription activity since the By Design: Frederick Law Olmsted and Associates crowdsourcing campaign was launched in December. Examples include this folder of fragments from Olmsted’s writings and a file on his work on the Connecticut state capitol in Hartford

Week 3 (April 18-22): Travel with Olmsted! We encourage volunteers to explore and transcribe Olmsted materials from places they’ve never been. To help you find something to work on, we’ve created a geographic guide to the campaign which identifies material by US state and city. 

Watch the Library’s crowdsourcing website (By the People) or follow along on Twitter to participate in the Olmsted challenge in April. Happy transcribing! 

About the Library of Congress: The Library of Congress Manuscript Division is the home to the largest collections of papers of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and the successor firm of talented designers led by his sons. The digitized Frederick Law Olmsted Papers and the Olmsted Associates Records collections document the wide multi-disciplinary collaborations of partners, patrons, arborists, architects, civic leaders, park commissioners, and other associates the Olmsteds worked with across two generations of time as well as the myriad of private and public projects around the country that they discussed, proposed, or completed.