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Hello, new member from UK looking for source advice.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by vicki, 30 Oct 2014.

  1. vicki

    vicki New Member

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    Location:
    Solihull
    Hi,

    I am Vicki, I am in the final stages of my history degree with the OU. While I was studying I realised that what I really wanted to study and write about is the history of British Zoos and Aquaria and how we moved away from captive animals purely for entertainment as curiosities towards conservation.

    In order to do this I need to gather relevant sources, at the moment I have been looking out for old guide books and maps. I would like to find a couple of modern overviews of the subject as well as contemporary (19th and 20th century) books on animal care particularly those aimed at zookeepers. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of appropriate authors.

    Also are there any long running journals/publications that would illustrate the changes?

    Although it would be quite a way into my research when I have a more solid understanding of the subject. I would also be interested in whether zoos hold records of old collections and whether it is likely they allow public access to the information. I am in the Midlands so can fairly easily visit, Birmingham Nature Centre (I know it has a new name but can't remember it), Twycross, Dudley, West Midlands Safari Park and Birmingham Sea life centre.
    I also holiday on the south coast and so can again fairly easily reach the zoos and parks in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    As good a starting point as any is London Zoo in Old Photographs 1852 - 1914, written by John Edwards. A second edition was recently published. It is a treasure. Not only is it a thoroughly superb overview of the development of the oldest collection in the UK, but it will point you in the direction of other sources. It is also, quite simply a joy to read, something that cannot be said for all history texts.

    The books of Philip Street are also worth browsing. They were written in the 1950s and 1960s, and show it, but they were written by a history teacher who knew how to evaluate his sources and is capable of analysis.

    And the books of Gerald Durrell - particularly the epilogues - are worth looking at, showing as they do the story of a wealthy child of Empire, obsessed with animals and wanting to make a living from them, making the journey from animal collector to revered sage, preaching the need for zoos to change as the world's animals' wild homes were being destroyed.

    Finally - when in doubt, ALWAYS consult the ZSL Library !
     
  3. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I concur with Ian’s points, especially his recommendation of the excellent London Zoo from Old Photographs and his advice to consult the Zoological Society of London Library.

    You may also find the thread below of interest:-

    http://www.zoochat.com/53/must-have-zoo-books-386334/

    In one of my posts in this thread I recommend various books about zoo history that you might well find useful.
     
  4. vicki

    vicki New Member

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    Many thanks to both of you.
    I shall certainly order a copy of the John Edwards book. Thank you Tim for the link to the other thread and as you have both said the ZSL library seems an excellent resource and I hope to be able to use it.
     
    Last edited: 30 Oct 2014
  5. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ZooChat and good luck with your research. Contacting the Bartlett Society should be helpful.
     
  6. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Hello, new member....

    Clinton Keeling's writings may be of interest, again via the Bartlett Society.
     
  7. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    When I worked at the Bronx Zoo (NY) I spent some time reading the original correspondance of the founding director, William Hornaday. In his communications with animal dealers and other zoo directors it was fascinating how his awareness of the state of wildlife both in zoos and in the world changed. You might consider some original research in addition to books once you find your feet on the topic.
     
  8. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Why didn't I think of that? I have all of his history books on my shelves.