Frederick Law Olmsted's monumental Greensward Plan of Central Park, dated 1858, was featured in the second gallery of the recent Romantic Gardens exhibition at the Morgan Library (Figure 1). The assembly there of a significant and sumptuous array of prints, drawings, manuscripts, treatises, maps, and recent color photographs reveals that America's most celebrated backyard has deep stylistic affinities with earlier European landscape gardens, from the private estates of eighteenth-century England to the parks and gardens of France and Germany. This concept is not new to landscape historians; however, most visitors will come away with a new understanding of Central Park.

It is largely owing to the energy of Betsy Barlow Rogers, an eminent landscape preservationist, historian, and founder in 1980 of the Central Park Conservancy, that the park has been restored and has regained its position on par with...

You do not currently have access to this content.