Question: Was Frederick Law Olmsted the father of ‘landscape architecture’ or the originator of the term?
Short answer. No. But he was the father of the organised profession and he was the man who chose the name “landscape architecture” for this profession.
Frederick Law Olmsted was born over 30,000 years too late to father the art of landscape architecture. But he WAS the Father of the Landscape Architecture Profession and his brilliant projects for Central Park in New York and the Emerald Necklace in Boston had a determining influence on the interpretation of the landscape profession’s name.
There are two theories about the origin of the term landscape architecture and the use of landscape architect as a professional term by Olmsted. (1) Joseph Disponzio traces a French origin: from Jean-Marie Morel to Olmsted via Louis-Sulpice Varé, Edouard André. (2) Tom Turner identifies a Scottish origin: from Gilbert Laing Meason to Olmsted via John Claudius Loudon, Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. From Frederick Law Olmsted, it was brought back to Britain by Patrick Geddes and Thomas Mawson in the first decade of the twentieth century.