Gallaudet University
Washington, D.C.
Gallaudet University
Washington, District of Columbia
United States

Gallaudet University is a bilingual research university and the world’s premier higher educational institution for deaf and hard of hearing students.

About Gallaudet University 

Gallaudet University’s first and longest-serving president, Edward Miner Gallaudet, was a childhood friend of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and after seeing Olmsted and Vaux’s work in Central Park, Gallaudet officially engaged the firm in 1866.

Gallaudet wrote to Olmsted and asked specifically that he come to help design the landscape: “It is with no lack of appreciation of Mr. Vaux’s abilities that I express a preference for your coming if you can do so. Memories of my childhood associations with you and your family when our family lived near yours in Chapel St. Hartford, lead me strongly to desire to renew the acquaintances of long ago.” Olmsted wrote back: “It will give me great pleasure to meet you again.”  

Olmsted’s design embodied his idea of campus as community— various buildings buffered from the surrounding environment by careful landscaping. The plan called for dense border plantings and a meandering circulation network designed to provide choreographed passages of scenery. To fit Olmsted’s design, Gallaudet engaged Vaux’s architectural partner, Frederick Clarke Withers, who proposed an attractive High Victorian Gothic style featuring red brick, brownstone, and a great deal of external embellishment.  

Today, the original Olmsted-designed campus is identified as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. It is safe to say that Olmsted’s work has shaped, and continues to shape, the identity of Gallaudet University.


    Chapel Hall

    Historic photo of College Hall

    Historic photo of College Hall, Chapel Hall and Flower Hall


Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site  

Fairsted— now called the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site— houses a massive collection of approximately 1,000,000 working documents.

Gray Gardens

This Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood is an example of residential subdivisions that became the firm’s primary focus during the 1920s.