Archive Materials



Founding Years




Gracious Living

Broader Diversity

Forward Looking





Student Life

Historical Contexts

Wider World



A Time of Transition

The Olmsted "Stamp" on Mount Holyoke's Campus



View of Trees Near Mary Lyon's Grave. Courtesy of MHC Archives.


There was no official planning for the sites of the new Mount Holyoke buildings, but Frederick Law Olmsted’s successor, Frederick , Jr. assisted in the placement of the Gothic structures that faced College Street in a single row. He had an experienced eye in making certain that open green spaces and trees were a part of the landscape and equally distanced between the buildings. From the beginning, John Olmsted, Fred’s brother, acted as an advisor and technical consultant and his expertise was essential in the designing of the highly constructed nature of the campus. Olmsted promoted the addition of lakes and rolling hills to the campus, similar to his stepfather, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. In the earlier years of the College’s campus expansion, Olmsted’s philosophy was “what’s your hurry?’ Olmsted wanted the Mount Holyoke community to enjoy their surroundings as they strolled through the various pathways situated around the campus.

It would seem the Olmsted brothers’ love of nature complimented the feminine manner of thinking, but it was A. Lyman Williston, treasurer and a devoted trustee of Mount Holyoke College, who expressed a strong desire to preserve the pastoral setting on the campus. Undoubtedly, the Olmsted “stamp” was inscribed into the MHC landscape. by John and Frederick, Jr., successors of Frederick Law Olmsted, although the firm wasn’t considered to be among the major designers.

Atlas Home Page

Home Page

The History of Gothic Architecture:
Cambridge and Princeton
About Ralph Cram

A Time of Transition:
Bryn Mawr
Mary E. Woolley
Frederick Olmsted Jr.

The Envisioned Plan:
Program for Campus Development
Designs for the Library and Chapel
Shurtleff and Cram Present Their Ideas

The Implemented Plan:
Meetings and Discussions
Collens' Library Designs(Exterior)
Collens' Library Designs (Interior)
Bertha Blakely's Influence
Abbey Memorial Chapel
Charles Collens Dedication Speech and closing comments

Trivial Pursuit Question





This page was created by Ellie Perrier '07 FP in History 283, Spring 2006