Frederick Law Olmsted left an invaluable resource of personal and professional papers, which provide a unique perspective on American society in the 19th century. Launched in 1972, The Frederick Law Olmsted Papers Project aimed to identify the most significant of these writings and present them in a readable 12-volume format. For 40 years, Dr. Charles E. Beveridge served as series editor of the Papers, working to make this dream a reality. In 2020, the Papers were completed and have since helped support the informed protection of Olmsted parks and places. Now, in 2023, the Olmsted Network is happy to report that the Papers are easier to access and use than ever before. 

To mark the conclusion of the Olmsted 200 bicentennial, we partnered with the University of Virginia Press’ Rotunda imprint to make The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted available to all users free of charge. Thanks to a generous subvention from the Olmsted Network, with support from The Caroline Loughlin Fund, everyone from independent scholars to landscape architects, and parks professionals will now have open access to a vast collection of Olmsted’s written materials. This digitized version of the Papers includes Volumes 1- 9 and Supplementary Series 1.

“The Olmsted Network is dedicated to championing Olmsted parks, places and principles through education, advocacy and stewardship,” said President & CEO Anne “Dede” Neal Petri. “Working with UVA Press, we are pleased to make these papers available free of charge.  Olmsted is a pivotal but still underappreciated figure in 19th-century America whose focus on social justice, the built environment and democratic spaces has real relevance to today’s challenges. With this gift, we aim to spark research and writing across a wide range of topics. Going forward, the Olmsted Network will continue to champion Olmsted’s vision of parks for all people and ensure that every American has equitable and safe access to open spaces.”  

The University of Virginia Press is just one of the hundreds of organizations, across the country and abroad, that supported the “Olmsted 200: Parks for All People” bicentennial campaign. Partnering with UVA Press was a natural fit. Since 2004, the Rotunda imprint has published nearly three dozen publications in the core areas of architecture, American history and 19th-century literature and culture. 

“American history and architecture have been cornerstone subjects for UVA Press and its Rotunda imprint,” said UVA Press Director Eric Brandt. “In Frederick Law Olmsted, whose pioneering landscape designs helped shape the nation, these themes come together in a profoundly significant way. It is an honor to work with the Olmsted Network to bring the writings of this visionary American to the public in an innovative open-access resource.” 

Interested readers can easily access The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted here. For those wishing to learn more about the Papers or Dr. Charles E. Beveridge, please visit our website here.