Langley Recruits Olmsted for NZP

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Smithsonian Secretary Samuel P. Langley writes letters to landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect William Ralph Emerson inviting them to work on the physical development of the newly formed National Zoological Park. Olmsted eagerly accepts, having suggested some thirty years earlier the creation of a park in Rock Creek. Olmsted's work, and most significantly his Central Park design for New York City, perfectly represents Langley's vision for the fledgling Park.


  • Emerson, William Ralph 1833-1917
  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • Olmsted, Frederick Law 1822-1903
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1890. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1891, p. 40
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 74, Langley letterpress books
  • Ewing, Heather P. An Architectural History of the National Zoological Park, p. 13-17

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


May 5, 1890


  • Landscape architecture
  • Architecture
  • Grounds
  • Buildings
  • Building


Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.)

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