William B. McCroskey papers, 1986-1988

Overview of the Collection

Olmsted Brothers; Olmsted, John Charles, 1852-1920, John Charles, 1852-1920; McLean, James Alexander; Carlyle, W. L.; Lindley, E. H.
William B. McCroskey papers
1986-1988 (inclusive)
.25 linear feet
Collection Number
UG 78
Includes correspondences between the Olmsted Brothers firm and University of Idaho Presidents, photocopies of material on the Olmsted plan for the university, and other miscellaneous papers from McCroskey.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

William B. McCroskey was the Associate Dean for the College of Letters and Science at the University of Idaho. McCroskey had great interest in landscape and building architecture, and was an architect by training. His interest and involvement with the Olmsted Brother's influence on the University of Idaho campus resulted in finding such documentation held within the Idaho State Historical Society. He kept these photocopied documents in his personal papers.

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was founder of the Olmsted Brother's firm and co-founder of the profession of landscape architecture. His nephew, John C. Olmsted, and son, Frederick Law Jr., were charter members of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA), formed in 1899. John was ASLA's first president.

John was first contacted by University of Idaho President, James Alexander McLean in December of 1906. Olmsted came to the university and inspected and submitted reports, plans, and sketches regarding various aspects of the campus from 1907 to 1917. His initial calculations was that the university needed about 900 acres which would include the main campus, recreational grounds, botanical, and farm lands. As of 2020, the university acreage was just about 800.

One influence Olmsted had that can be seen in old campus photographs is the Hello Walk. He suggested the main sidewalk be curved, and it was eventually made to curve. Later on however, the walk was straightened back out. Though the campus plans Olmsted submitted never came into fruition, the legacy of the firm thrives in the University of Idaho's Landscape Architecture program.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection includes letters between UI President James McLean and John Charles Olmsted; Olmsted's field notes from his 1907; his sketch and report to McLean from 1908; notes on a conference with McLean in 1913; a report to President William Carlyle; a response from Professor David Steinman, and a reponse to Steinman from 1913; and a note from Dean F. G. Miller to Olmsted in 1917 acknowledging receipt of blueprints.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Description of Item], William B. McCroskey papers, UG 078, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I: Olmsted PapersReturn to Top

Abstract: Photocopies of correspondence between Olmsted and UI presidents, from the Idaho State Historical Society.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Campus Planning Sketch
1908 (photocopied)
1 2
Conference Notes
June 11, 1913 (photocopied)
1 3
1907-1920 (photocopied)
1 4
1907-1908 (photocopied)

Series II: Personal PapersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 5
1 6
Klondike Cabin
1 7
Olmsted Research

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Landscape architecture
  • University of Idaho