This week 90 years ago, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, otherwise known as the Norbeck-Andresen Sanctuary Bill, was passed. Bronx Zoo Director William Hornaday campaigned for nearly a decade for the bill, which laid the foundation for the creation of protected areas for birds. Here we have a 1928 letter from Hornaday to Norbeck as well as an article he wrote about the bill, both showing his characteristic passion for wildlife conservation.
Manta ray fins emerge from the ocean with Arcturus in the background. The Department of Tropical Research went on the Arcturus Expedition to investigate the Sargasso Sea, Humboldt Current, and the Hudson Canyon in 1925.
We’re celebrating the 122nd anniversary of the New York Aquarium! In December 1896 the Aquarium opened in Castle Clinton at Battery Park, and WCS took over its management from the city in 1902. After being closed in 1941 and temporarily relocated to the Lion House at the Bronx Zoo, the Aquarium reopened at Coney Island in 1957. This postcard depicts the Aquarium and its surrounding area at Battery Park circa 1931.
We are excited to share that the Charles Townsend records have been processed and a finding aid can be viewed online!
Charles Haskins Townsend was the first director of the New York Aquarium (NYA) under New York Zoological Society management in 1902 and remained in the position until 1937. He found a love for nature early in life, stating in an autobiographical article that “I was too fully occupied with the natural world to consider the supernatural,” in regards to not following his family’s tradition to join the clergy.
Prior to coming to NYA, Townsend worked for the United States Fish Commission and was part of two scientific expeditions. In 1885 Townsend went on his first expedition aboard the U.S.S. Corwin to the Arctic. The following year in 1886 he joined as the naturalist for an expedition on the U.S.S. Albatross, which spent ten years traveling to the Bahamas and the Canadian Maritime Provinces before voyaging to the Pacific, making stops around the Galapagos Islands, islands off the California coast, up the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Townsend’s records feature photos taken during these expeditions, including images of the locations they visited and the wildlife they saw there. Continue reading →
Today is the anniversary of the Bronx Zoo opening in 1899! Here is what crowds looked like ten years later on a Sunday by the Sea Lion Pool and Old Bird House in what was then referred to as Baird Court (now Astor Court).
Happy National Bison Day! In 1905, leaders of WCS helped to form the American Bison Society. Their work prevented the extinction of this iconic species by establishing several small herds — sometimes with animals from the Bronx Zoo — in widely separated preserves across the country. Shown here are bison sent from the Bronx Zoo to Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in 1907. National Bison Day, which is celebrated on the first Saturday in November, commemorates the ecological, cultural, historical, and economic contribution of the American bison to the US.