Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 9615
National Zoological Park, Easter Monday Oral History Interviews, 2003
After the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park opened in 1891, families began visiting the National Zoo on the Monday after Easter Sunday. Many of the visitors were African Americans who worked as domestics and had the day off after the Easter Sunday. Easter Monday at the National Zoo soon became a traditional African American family event. Especially popular among the many children were the Easter egg rolls down Lion-Tiger Hill in the park. The Easter Monday tradition has continued to the present, especially as an African American family celebration.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also reminiscences and interviews recorded by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
The National Zoological Park Easter Monday Oral History Interviews were recorded by the Smithsonian History Division to document this cultural tradition in Washington, D.C.
On April 21, 2003, Pamela M. Henson, of the Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Jeffrey Hyson, assistant professor at St. Joseph's College, conducted interviews with twelve zoo visitors on Easter Monday about their families' Easter Monday traditions and reminiscences of past Easter Monday visits to the National Zoo. Interviewees were Justine Love, Tyrone Parker, Donald Isaac, Clarence Miles, Antoinette Archie, Delois Jackson, Joyce Madyun, Benet Durant, John Matthews, Marie Reardon Dudley, Harold Flood, and Lorraine Miller.
This collection contains twelve interview sessions, totaling approximately 6 hours of recording. The interviews have not been transcribed.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Henson, Pamela M., interviewer
- Hyson, Jeffrey Nugent, interviewer
- Archie, Antoinette
- Dudley, Marie Reardon
- Durant, Benet
- Flood, Harold
- Issac, Donald
- Jackson, Delois
- Love, Justine
- Madyun, Joyce
- Matthews, John
- Miller, Lorraine
- Parker, Tyrone
- National Zoological Park (U.S.)
- African Americans -- History
- African American families -- Social life and customs
- Family recreation
- Easter eggs
- Easter Monday
- African Americans
- African Americans -- Washington (D.C.)
- Oral history
- African Americans -- History
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9615, National Zoological Park, Easter Monday Oral History Interviews