Olmsted 200 invites you to join the sixth webinar in our Conversations with Olmsted series. In this series, we examine different aspects of Olmsted’s far-reaching influence on America’s physical landscape and social fabric.

Civil War, Abolition and the National Park Idea will be moderated by Olmsted 200 Honorary Committee Member Sara Zewde and feature Ethan Carr and Rolf Diamant.

Carr and Diamant are the co-authors of a new book— Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition and the National Park Idea, which can be purchased here. Just in time for the bicentennial, the book examines the turbulent pre- and post- Civil War times when Olmsted designed Central Park and wrote the groundbreaking 1865 Yosemite Report. The authors explore Olmsted’s vision of public parks as “keystone institutions of a liberal democracy” and argue that Olmsted’s critical— now largely forgotten— role in the funding of national parks was “manipulated to erase references to an activist government working on behalf of freedom, civil rights, and the remaking of the republic.” 

Our panelists include:   

  • Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master’s of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and former Board Chair for the National Association for Olmsted Parks. Ethan was the lead editor for The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890, Volume 8 of The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted (2013). He has also written Wilderness by Design (1998), Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma (2007), and The Greatest Beach, a History of the Cape Cod National Seashore (2019) describing the twentieth-century history of planning and design in the U.S. national park system. In 2023, Ethan will add another book toOlmsted scholarship:  Boston’s Franklin Park: Olmsted, Recreation, and the Modern City (2023).
  • Rolf Diamant is a former superintendent of Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, where he spearheaded a multi-year project to conserve and open the Olmsted Archives to the public. He is a member of the National Association for Olmsted Parks Advisory Council.   Rolf is a  landscape architect and historian who spent 37 years in the National Park Service working on the development of urban national parks, national heritage areas and partnership-based wild and scenic rivers. He currently serves as an adjunct associate professor in the University of Vermont’s Historic Preservation Program. His column on national parks regularly appears in the journal Parks Stewardship Forum. He is also co-editor and contributing author of A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks.
  • Sara Zewde, moderator, is founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City, practicing landscape architecture, urbanism, and public art.  She and her firm were named a 2021 Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York. Sara serves as Assistant Professor in Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and is writing a forthcoming book on Frederick Law Olmsted’s travels through the South and the implications for Olmsted’s later career in landscape architecture. Sara was named the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and in 2018, was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s inaugural “40 Under 40” list. Most recently, she was named a 2020 United States Artists Fellow. 

Register today to join the conversation.

Share your thoughts and questions about the event using #ConvoswithFLO. Also, don’t forget to follow us and tag us @Olmsted200.

To learn more about the Olmsted 200 bicentennial celebration and find nationwide events honoring the life and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, please visit olmsted200.org