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Male, born 1870-07-24, died 1957-12-25

Associated with the firm network

Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects

Professional History


Student Intern, Daniel H. Burnham, Architect, Chicago, IL, c. 1892; while on summer break from Harvard, Olmsted, Jr., worked as an assistant for Burnham during his firm's preparations for the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. He accompanied his father while he worked on the commission for George W. Vanderbilt's estate, Biltmore, a 125,000-acre parcel near Asheville, NC. Olmsted, Sr., began work at Biltmore c. 1888, and wrote an report “Project of Operations for Improving the Forest of Biltmore," a year later, that proved methodologically significant in the history of forest management. Work on this gigantic estate by the Olmsteds continued through the decade. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1894, he spent 13 months working at Biltmore.

Designer, Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, Landscape Architects, 1895-1898; after his father's retirement and Charles Eliot, Jr.'s death in 1897, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., became a partner in the reconstituted firm of the Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, still headquartered in Brookline, MA; he also took on many added responsibilities representing the firm on public committees and professional boards.

Consultant, United States Housing Corporation, Washington, DC, 1918. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer said of a visit that Olmsted made to the city in 1918 working on behalf of the US Housing Corporation: "Frederick Law Olmsted, noted landscape architect, who is in charge of town planning for the housing corporation of the United States shipping board emergency fleet-corporation, arrived in Seattle last evening to supervise plans for building projects of the housing corporation in the West. He is accompanied by S.S. Thorpe, of Minneapolis, one of the officials of the corporation. They are guests at the New Washington hotel. Mr. Olmsted comes from the East, where he made plans for the construction of model communities for shipyard workers, combining artistic details with the maximum of comfort, convenience and low cost. He come West to undertake similar work here in carrying out the government's project of building homes in various war industries centers to relieve the housing problem. He said last night he will not know the details of his work here until he confers with housing corporation officials in this district. Mr. Olmsted has designed many public parks and other municipal improvements and was the consulting engineer in the planning of Seattle's boulevard and park system. He was a member of the commission on the improvement of Washington, D.C., and member of the group plan of Cleveland. He is a past president of the American Society of Landscape Architects and author of many reports and articles on park and municipal improvements, city planning and landscape architecture." (See "Noted Architect Here on Housing," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/22/1918, p. 13.)

Partner, Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, Brookline, MA, and Somerville, MA, 1898-1949; Frederick, Jr., became the Olmsted Brother's Senior Partner following the death of his half-brother, John Charles (1852-1920), in 1920. The Olmsted Brothers firm was responsible for over 3,000 commissions; Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., became a highly influential figure in the foundation of both landscape architecture and urban planning as a professions in the US, through not only his firm's large-scale environmental planning projects, but his writings and efforts as a teacher at Harvard University.


Frederick, Jr., became an instructor in the new landscape architecture program at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1900, where he taught until 1914. He was an alumnus and knew Harvard President Charles William Eliot (1834-1936) well, as his son, Charles (1859-1897), worked as a partner of his father in the Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot firm.

Professional Activities

Landscape Architect, Metropolitan Park Commission, Boston, MA, 1897- ;

Member, United States Senate Park Commission (aka "the McMillan Commission"), Washington, DC, 1901-1902; led by Michigan Senator James McMillan (1838-1902), this group reconsidered the environmental planning of Washington, DC, creating the National Mall linking the major monuments of government. Other members of the blue-ribbon McMillan Commission included such artistic luminaries as the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), architect Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912), and architect Charles Follen McKim (1847-1909). Olmsted was by far the youngest member of the group. In later years, he stayed very engaged in planning efforts in Washington, DC, seeing to it that the McMillan Commission's work remained intact.

Founding President, American City Planning Institute, 1917 (this group was renamed the "American Institute of Planners" in 1939.)

Founding Member, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), 1899; He was one of 11 founding members of ASLA, which included his half-brother, John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920), who served as its first President. He became President of ASLA on two occasions, from 1908–1909 and 1919–1923. He participated in the planning of the first National Conference on City Planning held in Washington, DC, 05/21-22/1909. (See American Planning Association, "A Familiar Ring: A Retrospective on the First National Conference on City Planning (1909),"accessed 10/04/2012.)

Member, National Commission of Fine Arts, Washington, DC, 1910-1918.

Member, National Capital Park Planning Commission (1926–1932).

Professional Awards

Recipient, American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), Cornelius Amory Pugsley Gold Medal Award, 1953.


High School/College

Graduate, Roxbury Latin School, Boston, MA, in 1890.

A.B., Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1890-1894.

College Awards

Magna cum Laude, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1894.



Frederick, Jr., was born in the Borough of Staten Island, NY, and lived in 1880 at 209 46th Street there with his parents, step-brother, John, sister Marion, and two servants, Mary Casey (born c. 1844 in Ireland) and Harry "Galeogly" (born c. 1863 in NY to parents of Irish descent). The Olmsteds moved to Boston by the time Frederick, Jr., was in high school. He attended Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, graduating in 1894. Olmsted had a remarkable career, and was in demand as a planner and landscape architect throughout the US. He traveled a great deal, but maintained his home in MA. He lived at 99 Warren Street in Brookline, MA, for many years. In 1900, he lived here with his mother and a servant, Greenwood W. Kitt (born 09/1873 in MS). According to the US Census of 1910, he lived in the same spot, with his mother and two servants, Emma Olsen (born c. 1889 in Sweden) and Greenwood Kitt. (See also Harvard Alumni Directory, [Cambridge, MA: Harvard Alumni Association, 1919]. p. 530.)

Ten years later, the house at 99 Warren Street was occupied by him, his wife,daughter, nephew, Edward Bryant (born c. 1887 in MA, who worked as a forester), his 89-year-old mother, and two servants, Katherine McDonald (born c. 1891 in Canada) and Elizabeth Sellers (born c. 1859 in ME).

He developed a strong interest in the natural resources of CA during the 1920s. While surveying CA to determine properties suitable for a state park system, he and his family lived in Palos Verdes Estates, a suburb planned by the Olmsted Brothers firm. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., died at age 87 in Malibu, CA, while visiting friends. His body was transported transcontinentally and buried in the family plot in Hartford, CT.


He was the son of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., (1822-1903), the great landscape architect who operated a busy office in Brookline, MA. His mother was Mary Cleveland Perkins (1830-1921), who first married Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.'s brother, Dr. John Hull Olmsted (1825-1857) on 10/15/1851. This marriage lasted only six years, when John died in Nice, France, on 11/24/1857. John and Mary had three children, a daughter (Charlotte Olmsted, b. 03/15/1855; d. 05/05/1908) and two sons, one of whom would become a landscape architect and lifetime business partner, John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920). (The other was Owen Frederick Olmsted, b. 08/10/1857, Geneva, Switzerland; d. 11/21/1881, Albany, NY.) Seeking to support his brother's widow and her children, Frederick, Sr., proposed marriage about a year and a half after John's death. Frederick, Sr., and Mary had four children, three sons and a daughter, John Theodore (06/14/1860-08/14-1860), Marion (10/28/1861-1948), unnamed son (11/24/1866-11/25/1866), and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Born "Henry Perkins Olmsted," Frederick, Jr., was renamed at the insistence of his father, who desperately wanted an heir to carry on his name and professional legacy, particularly after the early deaths of his two previous sons.


Frederick, Jr., married his wife, Sarah Hall Sharples (born 11/11/1875 in Cambridge, MA), on 03/30/1911. Sarah's father was from PA, her mother, MA.


He had one child with Sarah, a daughter, Charlotte, (born 03/02/1912 in Brookline, MA.)

Biographical Notes

Olmsted traveled with his family from London to New York aboard the S.S. Old North State between 04/29/1922-05/09/1922.) He journeyed between San Francisco, CA, and Honolulu, HI, between 06/22/1929 and 06/26/1929. In addition to his wife and daughter, he traveled to the islands with his brother-in-law, William Hall Sharples (b. 10/28/1878 in Cambridge, MA). His party arrived back in San Francisco (without Sharples) on 07/24/1929. One of Olmsted's greatest accomplishments on the West Coast was his master planning effort for the California's state park system beginning in 1928. According to the State of California's Department of Parks and Recreation: "[In 1928], a newly-established State Park Commission began gathering support for the first state park bond issue. Its efforts were rewarded in 1928 when Californians voted nearly three-to-one in favor of a $6 million park bond act. In addition, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., completed a statewide survey of potential park lands that defined basic long-range goals and provided guidance for the acquisition and development of state parks. With Newton Drury [1889-1978] serving as acquisition officer the new system of state parks rapidly began to grow." (See State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation, "A State Park System is Born,"Accessed 2012-10-05.) Federal efforts to assist in obtaining land for the state led to the publication of the report, "Selection of certain lands in the State of California for the use of the California state park system. February 15, 1933." In his later years, he developed a special attachment to the redwood trees of California, seeking their preservation. A grove in Redwood National Park was named in his honor in 1953.

Associated Locations

  • Malibu, CA (Architect's Death)
    Malibu, CA

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  • Staten Island, New York, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Staten Island, New York, NY

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PCAD id: 2495

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), Manufactures Building, Seattle, WA 1908-1909SeattleWA
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