Secretary Samuel P. Langley

ID: 2002-12172

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1901

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 15, Folder: 10

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Secretary Samuel P. Langley studying and photographing birds in flight from a tower on the grounds of the National Zoological Park. Secretary Langley (third Secretary of the Smithsonian, 1887-1906), in establishing the Zoo in Rock Creek Park, had remarked on the suitability of the isolated spot for his astrophysical observatory. Although that arrangement never came to fruition, in 1901 he directed that two towers be erected in the park for flight observation experiments. During the years leading up to 1903, when Langley attempted flight with the aerodrome he designed, the Secretary was intently studying birds in flight.


  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Original is in the National Air Museum Photography Collection, NASM Acc. No. XXXX-0572, Glass Plate Series, NAM A-18883. Condition notes (from 2006) describe it as: 7 x 5 inch glass plate negative, soft focus (seems to be slightly blurred by movement of camera); very bad silver mirroring, especially at edges, severe fingerprints on emulsion side and glass side; scratched. Copy negative number is A18883, but that negative has been lost.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 15, Folder: 10

Contact information

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



Restrictions & Rights

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  • Secretariats
  • Zoos
  • Animals
  • Secretaries
  • Flight
  • Grounds
  • Birds


Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.)


  • Photographic print
  • Exterior

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Exterior; Medium: Photographic print

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