• Friends of Fairsted Programs



Thursday, December 2, 2021

Beauty, Efficiency, and Economy: A Life of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Landscape Architect, Planner and Conservationist

A talk by Elizabeth Hope Cushing, landscape historian

To view the lecture


Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957), was preordained to landscape architecture by his famous father (1833-1903). Fortunately, he proved a talented professional in his own right, making a significant mark through innovative and creative work in city and community planning, in park development, and through his life-long advocacy for land preservation and conservation. For too long the fact that he shared the name of one of the most prominent figures in the practice of landscape architecture in America has obscured his major contributions to the field. Cushing’s new book focuses on the life and professional career of this talented son of a famous father. Her talk provides an overview of his life and contributions to the national landscape, highlighting his importance in American landscape history. As respondent, Keith Morgan, professor emeritus, Boston University, will explore some of the challenges Olmsted, Jr. overcame in building on and expanding his father’s legacy in landscape architecture.

Elizabeth-Hope-CushingElizabeth Hope Cushing is a practicing landscape historian, and author of the newly published Beauty, Efficiency, and Economy: A Life of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Landscape Architect, Planner, and Conservationist and Arthur A. Shurcliff, Design Preservation, and the Creation of the Colonial Williamsburg Landscape. She is co-author of Community by Design: The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts and editor of No Race of Imitators: Lynn and Her People, An Anthology. Cushing has contributed articles to numerous journals, magazines, and books. She has researched and written cultural landscape history reports include work for the National Park Service; for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management’s restoration of Olmsted parks in Massachusetts; for Endicott House, the MIT Conference Center in Dedham, Massachusetts; for restoration work on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, Massachusetts, and for the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Keith-MorganKeith N. Morgan, a former national president and fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians, is a professor emeritus of History of Art & Architecture and of American & New England Studies at Boston University. He served as the Director of Preservation Studies, the Director of American and New England Studies, and the Chairman of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. His publications include Charles A. Platt. The Artist as Architect (MIT, 1985); Boston Architecture, 1975-1990 with Naomi Miller (Prestel Verlag, 1990); Shaping an American Landscape: The Art and Architecture of Charles A. Platt (Hood Museum of Art, 1995); new introductions for Italian Gardens by Charles A. Platt (Sagapress, 1993) and for Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999); and editor and lead author for Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, (University of Virginia Press, 2009) and for Community by Design: The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts with Elizabeth Hope Cushing and Roger Reed (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), which was awarded the Ruth Emery Book Prize of the Victorian Society in America.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

To order “Beauty, Efficiency, and Economy: A Life of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Landscape Architect, Planner and Conservationist”
Books ordered by December 9, 2021 with the code OlmstedDec2021 receive a 10% discount.


Make a contribution to support the Friends of Fairsted Lecture Series.

We thank our co-sponsors for the 2021-2022 Lecture Series:
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Old City Publishing, Inc.
Nancy McGovern
Pat Suhrcke

April 2021:
Ecologies of Memory

Sara Zewde

December 2020:
The Olmsted Brothers’ Planning in California: A Prescient Approach to Ecological Design

Christine E. O’Hara

November 2019:
Climate Change and Urban Landscapes: Extending Olmsted’s Legacy

Chris Reed

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