Tag Archives: department of tropical research

The World of Tomorrow, Today: Remembering the New York World’s Fair of 1939-1940

1. Photograph of the exterior of the Zoological Wonders building at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens, circa 1939-1940. Scanned from Saving Wildlife: A Century of Conservation, page 125. Donald Letcher Goddard, Wildlife Conservation Society. 1995.

In April 1939, the New York Zoological Society (NYZS) presented their Zoological Wonders pavilion to the public at the very first New York World’s Fair. The 1939-40 Fair brought highlights from the New York Zoological Park in the Bronx and the New York Aquarium in Manhattan to Flushing Meadows in Queens. In this month’s post from our NHPRC grant project, we are presenting a selection of materials unearthed from records from the NYZOs Corporation, a former NYZS subsidiary created to coordinate the Society’s participation in the 1939-1940 World’s Fair. Fairfield Osborn Jr., the Secretary of the Society’s Executive Committee at the time, managed that participation in his last task before becoming the Society’s President in 1940. As such, the World’s Fair materials illustrate the beginning of a new era at NYZS.
Continue reading

100 Years of Field Research at WCS

Theodore Roosevelt and his wife Edith were the first visitors to Kalacoon. Beebe is seated at the far end of the table, Mrs Roosevelt is seated nearest the camera and President Roosevelt is next to her. WCS Photo Collection

Why?  According to William Beebe, why was “the question which makes all science worthwhile.” Why, for instance, do tinamous of the genus Tinamus have rough skin on their lower legs while tinamous of the genus Crypturus have smooth skin?  Why do hoatzin populations seem to gather in nodes rather than being found throughout tropical forests?

Continue reading

Scan by Scan: Digitizing the Photographic Record of the Department of Tropical Research

1005-20-01-0322The Bronx Zoo itself is a nostalgic place for many people (myself included), where lifelong memories are made from childhood onward, and close-up animal experiences make nature come alive. It may sound like a cliché, but then again who among us can recall their favorite part of the zoo and not be overwhelmed by affection for the animals found there? My own longtime favorite part of the zoo as a kid was the (now closed) World of Darkness. So, as you can see here, the zoo and I go back quite a ways. Continue reading

Conservation of another kind

MS_150311_0490-edit-resized.jpgAs its name implies, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) holds the conservation of wildlife and wild places as its central mission.  Not surprisingly, many of the posts here on “Wild Things”—the blog for the WCS Archives—highlight WCS’s historical conservation efforts.  This post, however, features a different kind of ‘conservation’: recent work performed on some of the Archives’ own materials. Continue reading

Voyage to the Galapagos: Digitizing Photographic Gems from the Department of Tropical Research

1005-20-02-0124.tif Since September I have worked with the WCS Library and Archives in their ongoing effort to digitize historical photographic holdings. My focus has been on a collection documenting one of the expeditions made by the Society’s Department of Tropical Research. William Beebe led this 1925 expedition from New York to the Galapagos on a ship named Arcturus.   Continue reading

Collections processing updates

1985-10-01-Peyton-CarrAndPearl-Figure4-page2-detail.jpgOver the past several months the WCS Archives has processed six collections, five of which are wholly or partially open for research.   The finding aids for these collections have joined the descriptions of previously processed archival collections available through the WCS Library’s public website, www.wcs.org/library.  (The direct link to the Archives’ finding aids is: http://ielc.libguides.com/wcs/archives_fas.)  Included below are the abstracts for and links to the collections’ finding aids, plus an image or document from each. Continue reading

Trail blazing for women scientists: Gloria Hollister Anable’s papers

Gloria Hollister on a suspension bridge at Garraway, British Guiana, 1936. Scanned from WCS Archives Collection 1006

Processing the collection of Gloria Hollister Anable has been an enlightening experience not only because of her extraordinary life but also because of her obscurity. Relatively unknown outside of conservation circles, Hollister took part in several expeditions for the New York Zoological Society (NYZS), including Dr. William Beebe’s expeditions to Bermuda. During one such expedition to Nonsuch Island, Hollister descended in the Bathysphere, an underwater submersible, to a depth of 1,208 feet – at that time a record for a deep-sea dive completed by a woman. Hollister led her own expedition to British Guiana in 1936, worked in the first Red Cross blood bank during World War II, and in the 1950s was chairwoman of the Mianus River Gorge Conservation Committee. Continue reading

Celebrating a Milestone in the History of Marine Studies

William Beebe peers out of the Bathysphere, 1934. WCS Photo Collection

William Beebe peers out of the Bathysphere, 1934. WCS Photo Collection

Today we celebrate the historic scientific expeditions that William Beebe undertook in the Bathysphere–including his record-setting dive to the deepest depths ever ventured by a human on August 15, 1934. To read the rest of this post, check out the WCS Photo blog, Wild View.

And come visit the Bathysphere and see some of the Department of Tropical Research artwork this summer at the New York Aquarium! The exhibition Drawn from the Depths, curated by Katherine McLeod, opens today, and the Aquarium is hosting a special NYA@Night tonight.  For more information and tickets, visit NYA@Night.

Diving into the Past: Discovering the Department of Tropical Research through Digitization

1005-20-01-0016-blog.jpg Spending months working with historical photos from a specific collection almost creates an illusion that one may have participated in the scenes depicted in these prints.  This notion particularly holds strong when carefully scanning and assigning appropriate metadata to historical photos from scientific research expeditions in beautiful locales filled with wondrous wildlife. Having the privilege to spend my photo archives internship working with many prints from the famous Bathysphere dives conducted by William Beebe and Otis Barton provided me with an imaginary tropical escape while also teaching me invaluable metadata skills. Continue reading