Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society: (Library of America #270)
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The biggest and best single-volume collection ever published of the fascinating and wide-ranging writings of a vitally important nineteenth century cultural figure whose work continues to shape our world today. Seaman, farmer, abolitionist, journalist, administrator, reformer, conservationist, and without question America’s foremost landscape architect and urban planner, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) was a man of unusually diverse talents and interests, and the arc of his life and writings traces the most significant developments of nineteenth century American history. As this volume reveals, the wide-ranging endeavors Olmsted was involved in—cofounding The Nation magazine, advocating against slavery, serving as executive secretary to the United States Sanitary Commission (precursor to the Red Cross) during the Civil War, championing the preservation of America’s great wild places at Yosemite and Yellowstone—emerged from his steadfast commitment to what he called “communitiveness,” the impulse to serve the needs of one’s fellow citizens. This philosophy had its ultimate expression is his brilliant designs for some of the country’s most beloved public spaces: New York’s Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Boston’s “Emerald Necklace,” the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, garden suburbs like Chicago’s Riverside, parkways (a term he invented) and college campuses, the “White City” of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and many others.
Gathering almost 100 original letters, newspaper dispatches, travel sketches, essays, editorials, design proposals, official reports, reflections on aesthetics, and autobiographical reminiscences, this deluxe Library of America volume is profusely illustrated with a 32-page color portfolio of Olmsted’s design sketches, architectural plans, and contemporary photographs. It also includes detailed explanatory notes and a chronology of Olmsted’s life and design projects.
answers, and so, someone says: “Must be about fifteen miles. I never was here before, looks like they had had a scrimmage here. There’s two bullet-holes through the target of that switch-handle. There was a little dépôt building that they burnt there.” The rail-road had been very thoroughly demolished by the enemy; for many miles there was a continuous series of the remains of fires made from the wooden ties and sleepers, with the iron rails laid on them and when thus heated, bent so as to be
custom which has been referred to is evident. It may be laid down, then, as a rule, to which there will be but few exceptions, and these only in the case of families not only of very unusual wealth, but of quite exceptional tastes, that for the daily use of a family, no matter how rich, if the site be well chosen, and the surrounding circumstances are favorable, a space of private ground of many acres in extent, is entirely undesirable. If the surrounding circumstances are not favorable—if
force opportunity and strain patience even to urge principles, plans & measures tending to the ruralizing of all our urban population and the urbanizing of our rustic population. For I regard it as doubtful which of two slants toward savage condition is most to be deplored and to be struggled with, that which we see in the dense, poor quarters of our great cities & manufacturing towns or that which is impending over the scattered agricultural population of—more especially the more sterile parts
of the country and I have so far parted company, that after sober consideration—examination of history—Greeley will be preferred to Grant or any other man who can be set up. I say the Post appears to me to tell the whole or more nearly the whole of your half truths. But it is, I swear! too bad to reason about. My whole reason is a woman’s reason. I know he is an imposter. You knew he was an imposter before you went to Cincinnati. As an imposter his method & the success of his method was amusing
is particularly the case in respect to all homestead comfort. Illustrations Present outlines Effect proposed 1. Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux, Greensward Study No. 1: View North across Pond from near Entrance at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, 1858. Present outlines Effect proposed 2. Greensward Study No. 2: View South across Playground in Southwest Section of Park. Present outlines Effect proposed 3. Greensward Study No. 3: View South toward