Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beyond Drawings: The Olmsted Archives as Muse and Vision

Lucinda Brockway
Cultural Resources Program Director, The Trustees of Reservations


The Olmsted Archives hold one of the richest resources for protecting and understanding America’s cultural landscapes. Preservation efforts over the last twenty years have vastly increased and enhanced access to this astonishing resource for visitors, scholars and landscape professionals. Today, digitization of plans and drawings, photographs and correspondence is bringing the Archives from the vault to the computer screen at an exciting pace.

But the Olmsted Archives—over 1,000,000 records in a wide range of media—are so much more than digital assets or fragile rolls of paper. Trade catalogs, material samples, procedural manuals, employment records, even cartoons, provide a window into a century of technical expertise and design sources from a notable working office whose relevance will continue for generations.

lucinda-brockwayLucinda Brockway, noted garden designer, landscape historian, and preservation specialist, began her career with an internship at Fairsted as it moved from a design office to part of the National Park Service. The Olmsted Archives play an invaluable role in her current work as Cultural Resources Program Director for The Trustees of Reservations, as they did in her previous private design practice. In this presentation, Lucinda will bring her research stories to life, illustrating the relevance of the Archives to historic preservation projects and design work, both present and future.

Image credit: © 2017

Thank you to Wheelock College for their generosity in hosting our lectures.


December 2018: Saving Central Park: A History and A Memoir
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

April 2018:
What Is a Park For? Olmsted, Obama, and the Meanings of Urban Landscape

Carlo Rotella
December 2017:
Beyond Drawings: The Olmsted Archives as Muse and Vision

Lucinda Brockway

March 2017:
Lewis Mumford’s Green Urbanism

Aaron Sachs
December 2016:
From the Granite Garden to West Philadelphia (with a nod to the Fens): Restoring Nature & Communities

Anne Whiston Spirn

April 2016:
Parks: Cornerstone of Civic Revitalization

Rolf Diamant
December 2015:
The “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

Ethan Carr

March 2015:

Gary Hilderbrand

December 2014:
Dwelling in Landscape

Daniel Bluestone

March 2014:
The Shaping of Regions: The New York Regional Plan and the Origins of Planning in America

Robert Yaro

November 2013:
From Buffalo to Boston: Olmsted’s Evolving Vision of Urban Park Systems

Francis R. Kowsky