Urban Jungles: Zoos and American Society

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Hyson's dissertation looks at the place of zoological parks in American culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1970s. He addresses such issues as their relationships to amusements, such as circuses and botanic gardens, their role as urban parks, showmanship at zoos, and how they portrayed exotic natural environments and animals to a popular audience. He compares the histories of several zoos, including the Bronz Zoo (New York Zoological Society), Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, National Zoological Park, Philadelphia Zoological Garden, St. Louis Zoological Park, and San Diego Zoological Park. He discusses the influence of such figures as P. T. Barnum, Carl Hagenbeck, and Frederick Law Olmsted on zoo design and practice.


  • Hagenbeck, Carl
  • Barnum, P. T
  • Olmsted, Frederick Law 1822-1903
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • San Diego Zoological Park
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Philadelphia Zoological Garden
  • St. Louis Zoological Park
  • Bronx Zoo (New York Zoological Society)
  • New York Zoological Society
  • Brookfield Zoo


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Ph.D. dissertation

Contact information

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


  • 1999
  • 19th century


  • Amusements
  • Popular culture
  • Animals
  • Zoos
  • Landscape architecture
  • Circus
  • Botanical gardens
  • Cities and towns
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • History
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)--Early History
  • Cities and towns--History


United States

Physical description

513 pages

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