Virtual Program: Olmsted and Yosemite

Virtual Program: Olmsted and Yosemite

Thu, May 5, 2022
2:00 PM- 3:00 PM

Both Central Park in New York and Yosemite Valley in California became public parks during the tumultuous years before and during the Civil War. In their book, Ethan Carr and Rolf Diamant demonstrate how anti-slavery activism, war, and the remaking of the federal government gave rise to the American public park. In this webinar, the authors will closely examine Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1865 Yosemite Report—the key document that expresses the aspirational vision of making great public parks keystone institutions of a renewed liberal democracy. Yosemite, the prototype of the national park system, embodied the “new birth of freedom” that inspired the nation during its greatest crisis. The park epitomized the duty of Republican government to act to enhance the lives and well-being of all of its citizens, and its creation was rooted in contemporary ideology of Union, abolition, and progress.

Thursday, May 5, 2022
2:00 p.m. Eastern

Live on Zoom

Registration for this event has ended.

A recording of this webinar will be sent to all registrants a few days after the event. We encourage you to register, even if you cannot attend the live webinar. 

Members of the Frank & Anne Cabot Society for planned giving have complimentary access to Garden Conservancy webinars. All Cabot Society members will automatically be sent the link to participate on the morning of the webinar. For more information about the Cabot Society, please contact Sarah Parker at or 845.424.6500, ext. 214.

About the Speakers
Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA
, is a professor of landscape architecture and the director of the Master’s of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes. Three of his award-winning books, 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), describe the twentieth-century history of planning and design in the U.S. national park system as a context for considering its future. Carr was the lead editor for The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890, Volume 8 of The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted (2013). Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea (2022) was coauthored with Rolf Diamant and traces the origins of the American park movement. His latest book, Boston’s Franklin Park: Olmsted, Recreation, and the Modern City (2023) reconsiders the history of this landmark urban park. Carr consults with landscape architecture firms developing plans and designs for historic parks of all types.

Rolf Diamant is adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Historic Preservation Program. A landscape architect and historian, Rolf did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.  In his previous career with the National Park Service, Rolf was superintendent of five national parks, including Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. He is coauthor of Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea and coeditor and contributing author of A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks. Rolf also writes a column on the challenges facing national parks that regularly appears in the University of California’s journal Parks Stewardship Forum.