Category Archives: Uncategorized

In the voices of animals

The vast majority of the documents in the WCS Archives are written by people speaking as themselves.  They may be speaking as representatives for a larger collective, such as the Society, or a professional organization, or even–in the cases of some Congressional testimony transcripts–as representatives for the zoo profession as a whole.  Every now and then, however, we come across examples of people speaking not in their own voices, but in those of animals.
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[If] Mars Attacks!

The Bronx Zoo, like many public facilities, has long had internal protocols for both standard operating procedures and emergency operating procedures [EOPs].  In the early 1970s, the Bronx Zoo’s newly-revitalized Safety Committee conducted a series of revisions of the Zoo’s Emergency Procedures Manual.  The revision process included gathering and codifying types of emergencies, ideal responses, and needed equipment from a wide variety of departments.  Continue reading

Celebrating the NPS Centennial in the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park

Wildlife Conservation Society_24782_Jackson Hole Wildlife Park Drawing by Lloyd Sanford_01 02 53This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and to celebrate this major event, we’re remembering the creation of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park.  In 1948, New York Zoological Society trustee and future NYZS president Laurance S. Rockefeller worked with NYZS and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to establish the park, and in 1962, the park was donated to the National Park Service for inclusion in Grand Teton National Park.

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How the American Bison Became Our National Mammal

Bison at the Bronx Zoo being crated for transport to the Wichita Forest  and Game Preserve (now known as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife  Reserve), October 1907. William Hornaday appears on the left.  WCS Photo Collection

Bison at the Bronx Zoo being crated for transport to the Wichita Forest and Game Preserve (now known as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve), October 1907. William Hornaday appears on the left. WCS Photo Collection

This week, President Obama signed a law making the bison the US’s first national mammal.  To celebrate this momentous event, we’re looking back on the history of protection for the American bison with a blog post over on Medium.  Check it out here:

The African Plains: “A New Vista to the Wonders of Nature”

wcs-2016-pc-091“A new vista to the wonders of Nature.”  This is how New York Zoological Society President Fairfield Osborn described the brand new African Plains exhibit when it opened at the Bronx Zoo 75 years ago next week, on May 1, 1941.  The exhibit—with its bringing together of several African species, including lions, zebras, nyalas, and many birds, into an expansive savannah landscape—was indeed a new vista for the Zoo.  Whereas previous Bronx Zoo exhibits were conceived around animal orders or families—what Osborn referred to as “man-made classification”—and often indoors—think of the old Lion House, the Monkey House—the African Plains brought together animals based on geography, and it placed them in a naturalistic setting. Continue reading

Zoo Letterhead – Western U.S., 1956-1971

Letterhead-USWestZoos-005-RioGrandePark-redacted-CroppedContinuing our series on graphic design in letterhead, this installment features stationery from zoos and aquaria in the western United States during the mid 1950s – early 1970s.   (Letterhead from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the subject of another post!)

Which is your favorite?  (You can right-click on the images to open them in new tabs and examine them more closely.)

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Zoo Letterhead – International Mid-Century Modern Edition

Letterhead-InternationalZoos-002-BirdlandIn the 20th Century, before the internet became ubiquitous, an organization’s written correspondence was one of its primary points of contact with its partners, suppliers, and the public.  Accordingly, stationery became an important medium for graphic design.  The Wildlife Conservation Society Archives contains numerous pieces of correspondence with striking, beautiful, or amusing examples of letterhead design.

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Eagle Sculptures at the Bronx Zoo (And Beyond), Part 2

IMG_0636This post was written by Kimio Honda,  Studio Manager in WCS’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department. This is part 2 of 2 posts on eagle sculptures at the Bronx Zoo and beyond.

Beyond the eagles I described in my previous post, there are a few other, though less visible, eagle sculptures at the Bronx Zoo. These belonged to the building behind the current Birds of Prey exhibit that was originally known as the Winter House for Eagles, built in 1912. (You can see original plans for the building on the NYC Design Flickr page.) Curator of Birds William Beebe took the building as a research space as early as 1914, and it later served as the headquarters for his Department of Tropical Research. The Beebe Lab, as it was known, later became the office for the Publications Department, and house now Digital Programs and Media Production.  Continue reading