Edwin Birger Olsen (1902 - 1996) was an American artist, draftsman, and architect and collaborated with Blake E. Clark on a series of pictorial city plans. Born in New York, Olsen graduated from Harvard in 1923 with a degree in architecture. He then continued his education at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City. Olsen and his collaborator Blake Everett Clark (1900 - 1979) had an influential impact on the world of pictorial cartography. Olsen spent a short time teaching in Idaho architecture at the University of Idaho and it was during his time in Idaho that he began to formulate his ideas about pictorial cartography. In the an interview that appeared on page two of the Boston Evening Transcript on April 21, 1926, Olsen stated

On that trip, the idea. That had been buzzing in my head came to a resolution. If you visit a city and want really to taste its flavor, to feel its history and at the same time see it in its modern aspects, you have to take a few auto trips...Then you read eight or ten books and roam a little on your own. I wondered why a map - one map and not two or three supplemented by guidebooks and pamphlets-could not give what I was after, you know, the spirit, the color of a city. A map could be picturesque and yet informative, could avoid the stereotyped network of dull, straight lines, and still keep the city within bounds. Well, I thought it could be done, at least that the combination of Blake and myself...could do it.
Olsen and Blake collaborated on three maps: The Colour of An Old City: A Map of Boston Decorative and Historical, A Kite View of Philadelphia and the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition, and Map of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia shewing the Architecture and History from the most Ancient Times down the Present. After his time working with Clark on these three maps, Olsen worked for the architectural firms Eggers and Higgins, John Russell Pope, and McKim, Meade, and White and collaborated on such projects as the National Gallery of Art and Jaqueline Kennedy's restoration of the White House.

Out of Stock Maps