John Nolen, Jr. papers
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence, publications, meeting minutes, reports, studies, and newsletters from the working life of urban planner John Nolen, Jr. The material dates from 1906 through 2000 with the bulk of the material falling between 1935 and 1968. The subjects in this collection include transportation including highways and subway systems, housing, and urban planning. Much of the material relates to the city of Washington with a subseries devoted to Nolen's work with the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, now known as the National Planning Commission.
Throughout his life, John Nolen Jr. was a member of many professional organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Planners, the American Planning and Civic Association, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, and the Torch Club. Some of the records of his interaction with these organizations are part of this collection. Some of this material is from a professional relationship while others are personal.
Much of the material relates to the work life of John Nolen in his various capacities in the Federal Government and especially his time with the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. These records includes correspondence with government officials and speechs and articles written by Nolen for presentation at conferences.
- Creation: 1906-2000
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1935 - 1968
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Biographical / Historical
John Nolen Jr. (1898-1986) was the director of the National Capital Planning Commission from 1951-58. His work with the National Capital Planning Commission began in 1931 when the commission was called the National Park and Planning Commission. During his tenure, the Commission worked in the planning of parkways, highways, parks, playgrounds, and public buildings. He was supportive of the construction of the George Washington Parkway in both Virginia and Maryland, and supervised the preparations of early plans for what would become Metro.
Throughout his career, Nolen was a member of many professional societies including American Institute of Planners, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Society of Planning Officials, and International Fraternity of Lambda Alpha (Land economics). With the American Society of Civil Engineers, Nolen held various positions such as chairman of the City Planning Division, chairman of the Bicentennial Committee and chairman of the NCS City Planning and Urban Planning and Development Committees.
After leaving the National Planning Commission in 1958, Nolen became an independent planning consultant until he returned to government service in 1962 as Director of Transportation in what became the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He held this position for six years.
Much of his work was devoted to conservation of area water resources. He served on the Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Commission and was involved in the restoration efforts in Georgetown and other areas near the C&O Canal.
John Nolen Jr. was born in Ardmore, Pa., and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from MIT. He died on June 20, 1986.
20 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
This collection contains materials related to the work of John Nolen as an urban planner in Washington D.C. The materials date from 1906-2000 with the bulk of the material falling between 1935 and 1968. The materials in this collection include official records from organizations such as the Committee of 100 on the Federal City and the National Capital Park and Planning Commission (now the National Planning Commission) for which John Nolen worked as well as material from organizations of which Nolen was a member such as the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Society of Landscape Architects. There are also records for various topics that Nolen dealt with during his career such as urban mass transit, housing (such as alley dwelling in Washington, D.C.) and highway transportation.
Organized into five series: Biography and correspondence, Planning organizations, Transportation, Housing and oversize maps and planning drawers.
Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of John Nolen Jr., 1985.
- Nolen, John (Donor, Person)
- United States. National Capital Park and Planning Commission (Organization)
- Alley Dwelling Authority (Washington, D.C.) (Organization)
- Washington Housing Association (Organization)
- Committee of 100 on the Federal City (Washington, D.C.) (Organization)
- National Research Council (U.S.). Highway Research Board (Organization)
- American Society of Civil Engineers (Organization)
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Organization)
- American Institute of Planners (Organization)
- American City Planning Institute (Organization)
- United States. National Capital Planning Commission (Organization)
- United States. National Capital Park Commission (Organization)
- Guide to the John Nolen Jr. papers, 1906-2000
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English