NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Volume II: Slavery and the
South, x852-r857. Edited by Charles E. Beveridge and Charles
Capen McLaughlin. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1981. Pp. xxi+503. Introduction, biographical directory,
illustrations, appendixes, index. $27.50.)
During the relatively brief period from 1852 to 1857, Frederick Law
Olmsted became the most prolific and influential of all the northern
observers who traveled through the antebellum South. He spent ap-
proximately fourteen months on two trips that took him into all the
slave states below the Potomac except Florida and Arkansas and re-
sulted in the publication of three volumes: A Journey in the Seaboard
Slave States (1856), A Journey Through Texas (1857), and A Journey
in the Back Country (186o). These books, all of which reflected the
strong antislavery and antisouthern views of their author, have served
as virtual "Bibles" for generations of scholars. It seems that no study
of slavery or the antebellum South is complete without a quotation
from Frederick Law Olmsted.
Slavery and the South, 1852-z857, the second in a projected twelve-
volume compilation of Olmsted's papers, deals with his years as a
traveler and commentator on the South. It contains many personal let-
ters from that period, as well as what the editors believe to be all of
Olmsted's important writings on the South and slavery that do not
appear in his three travel accounts or in the abridgment of those ac-
counts that appeared in 1861 as The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller's
Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States.
Thus, there is little overlap with Olmsted's antebellum publications;
instead this volume is intended as a supplement to those works.
Texas historians will be most interested in Chapters IV and VII.
The first of these contains letters written by Olmsted during his visit
to the Lone Star State in 1854. He found slaveholding East Texas
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/. Accessed July 22, 2014.