Olmsted National Historic Site

At the height of his career, 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 home and office, known as Fairsted, became a National Historic Site in 1979.

Olmsted Trail

The History of FLONHS

When did Fairsted become the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site? What landscape design elements did the firm implement on property? Learn more about this site's rich history by visiting our Olmsted Trail.

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    Charlie Beveridge at Fairsted

    Please credit: Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.


Olmsted Archives at Fairsted

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.

The National Park Service has cataloged and conserved the majority of the Olmsted archive and collections, which contain 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, among other objects. 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). Read on to learn more about the various 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 at Olmsted National Historic Site 

Research into the Olmsted firm’s landscape design projects begins with the comprehensive catalog of records, the Olmsted Research Guide Online (ORGO). Digitized project-related photographs and plans can be found on Flickr. Associated correspondence held at the U. S. Library of Congress can be found here.

To ensure long-term preservation of materials, researchers may be provided existing digital surrogate copies in lieu of using original documents; items not yet digitized will be added to a queue of documents awaiting digitization. In most cases, on-site research appointments are not necessary.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site:
99 Warren St.
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 566-1689

To expedite service, please include the following information:

Name and affiliation
Mailing address, e-mail address
Scope and purpose of research
Specific document information (plan or photo number, folder title, specific record information)


Olmsted Job Number(s), if known
Client name at the time of firm’s activity
City and State of Olmsted job