Albert Harris: Visionary of a Modern Zoo

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Born in Britain in 1869, architect Albert Harris began work in 1900 at the Washington, D.C. firm of Hornblower and Marshall. He became a firm partner in 1911 and contributed to the completion of the Natural History Building. From 1921 until his death in 1934, Harris was Municipal Architect for the District of Columbia; the National Zoological Park was included within his jurisdiction. From the mid-1920's through the mid-30's, Director William Mann greatly expanded the zoo with emphasis on recreation and entertainment. The author states that Harris' unique architectural designs for the Bird House and Reptile House buildings embodied the zoo's message of education through entertainment.


  • Harris, Albert L
  • Mann, William M. 1886-1960
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Hornblower & Marshall
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Natural History Building


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article includes drawing of iron grillwork above the Natural History Building south entrance, executed by Albert Harris in 1909.

Contained within

Smithsonian Preservation Quarterly (Newsletter)

Contact information

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


Spring 1993


  • Design
  • Buildings, structures, etc
  • Architecture
  • Architects
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Architecture--Design and plans
  • Architectural firms
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)--Buildings
  • Biography


Washington (D.C.)

Physical description

pgs. 3 & 4

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