The Wildlife Conservation Society Library and Archives is pleased to announce that we have completed a major project to process 15 significant historical collections from our holdings. Among these are three collections related to the Department of Tropical Research, a team of scientists and artists who led pioneering ecological expeditions across tropical regions from the 1910s through the 1960s. Also included are the records of Fairfield Osborn, former President of the New York Zoological Society (as WCS was previously known) and one of the foremost conservationists of the mid-twentieth century.
In addition, the newly processed collections hold records created by Bronx Zoo General Curator Lee S. Crandall; Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium Director James Oliver; NYZS President Robert G. Goelet, Director of Conservation F. Wayne King, and Assistant Secretary Harold C. Palmer; and NYZS’s Ornithology, Education, and Public Affairs Departments.
Together these collections cover pivotal events in the history of WCS that also represent important moments and trends in the cultural and scientific histories of New York City, the US, and the world.
Finding aids for the collections can be found here. Information about accessing our collections is available here.
This project was made possible by funding from the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The WCS Library and Archives is grateful to NHPRC for their support.
Happy Halloween from the WCS Archives! This vampire bat image was likely taken during a 1934 expedition to Trinidad, where the Bronx Zoo’s first Herpetology Curator Raymond Ditmars and his associate Arthur Greenhall studied the elusive species and brought back specimens for the zoo. WCS Archives Accession 2014.121.
The lobster featured on this New York Aquarium postcard from the 1910s weighed in at a whopping 21 lbs and was 38 inches long. WCS Archives Collection 2016. #lobsters #nationallobsterday #aquariumhistory #archives #postcards @nyaquarium
Follow us there to join our expedition through historical treasures from @thewcs and its parks, @bronxzoo, @nyaquarium, @centralparkzoo, @thequeenszoo, and @prospectparkzoo. Membership brochure featuring the Bronx Zoo’s Gibbon Island, early 1950s. WCS Archives Collection 2016. #bronxzoo #zoohistory #gibbonisland #gibbons #archives
Wild Asia conveys a feeling of remoteness wrapped in a pervasive and palpable stillness, which is broken only by the occasional snort or shrill of one of its 200 animals and birds of Asian provenance, the delighted gasp of visitors seated in the monorail train that makes a circuit of the region or the muted roar of traffic on the nearby Bronx River Parkway.
As we reported back in August 2015, the WCS Archives received a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We’re pleased now to report the completion of the project, in which we developed a Conceptual Preservation Design Plan for a new WCS Archives space. Situated in the Bronx Zoo’s Heads and Horns Building, this space would include a large collections storage area to provide safe, sustainable preservation conditions for our historical materials, proper fhich we currently lack) to host those consulting the collections as well as classes and small lectures, and a small exhibition area to showcase WCS’s historical treasures to invited audiences. Continue reading →
In fall of 1916, the Bronx Zoo opened its Animal Hospital—the first such facility to open at a US zoo. To celebrate this centennial, we’re looking back on some WCS Zoological Health Program images and materials from the WCS Archives.
In the first phase of a project whose eventual purpose is to conserve the WCS Archives’ collection of nearly 50,000 photographic negatives, the assessment of some 10,000-plus of these has been a mostly shared endeavor between myself and another intern. Dating from 1899 to 1946, this first batch of negatives is of interest from more than one perspective: not only do the images constitute a visual timeline of WCS’s history and the histories of zoos, aquariums, and wildlife conservation, the negatives themselves can also be seen as artifacts that represent milestones from within the discipline of photography. Among other things in the collection, we see the transition from the use of glass to film negatives, as well as early attempts at photo manipulation. Continue reading →
As an attendee, I can say that the event was a rousing success! In her latest post on the NDSR-NY Resident blog, Genevieve showcases the day’s highlights and links to slides and other resources from the presentations and workshops: