New York Zoological Society. Department of Ornithology. Office of Curator. Joseph Bell, Donald Bruning, and Christine Sheppard records
Scope and Contents
The collection holds the professional correspondence, department files, and subject files of Joseph Bell and Donald Bruning and the correspondence of Christine Sheppard while they were Curators of the Department of Ornithology.
Series I: Joseph Bell is composed of materials created by Bell and created by the department while he was Curator. Subseries 1.1 Correspondence: Includes correspondence while Bell was Curator as well as when he became Chairman of Ornithology. The material in this series includes correspondence between Bell and various institutions and organizations, general public, and fellow wildlife professionals. Memos and interoffice memos can also be found in this subseries. Subseries 1.2 Department Files: Contains material related to Department of Ornithology operations. Subseries 1.3 Subject Files: Includes materials on various topics related to ornithology and wildlife care.
Series 2: Donald Bruning is composed of materials created by Bruning while he was assistant curator, associate curator, and curator of the Department of Ornithology. Subseries 2.1 Correspondence includes Bell's correspondence while he held his curatorial level positions. This series also contains the correspondence of Bell and Christine Sheppard while they were curator and assistant curator respectively. Subseries 2.2 includes material related to the Department of Ornithology while Bruning was curator. Subseries 2.3 Subject Files contains on various topics related to ornithology and wildlife care.
Series 3: Christine Sheppard Correspondence is composed of correspondence while Sheppard was associate curator and curator of the Department of Ornithology.
- 1952 - 1988
- Majority of material found within 1970 - 1985
- Bell, Joseph L. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Portions of this collection are restricted. Please consult the WCS Archives for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult the WCS Archives regarding possible usage restrictions.
Biographical / Historical
Joseph Bell started at the Bronx Zoo as an assistant keeper in 1942 and eventually rose to the role of Department of Ornithology Curator in 1973. Bell was appointed Chairman of Ornithology and Deputy Director of Zoology in 1975 and an Honorary Chairman in 1981 until he retired in 1984. While at the New York Zoological Society (NYZS), his research included oilbirds from Trinidad and husbandry of the torrent duck from South America.
Donald Bruning came to NYZS as an ornithologist in 1967 and became Curator of Ornithology in 1975. In 1986 he became Chairman of Ornithology, a position he held until retirement in 2003. Bruning supervised the NYZS Travel Program from 1977 to 1984 as well as serving as an adjunct professor at Fordham University from 1974 to 1986. He testified to Congress to help the passage of the Wild Bird Conservation Act. Bruning also served as a representative in a variety of organizations and events including the Cooperative Working Group on the Bird Trade and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Christine Sheppard came to the Bronx Zoo in 1978 and was Assistant and Associate Curator before becoming the Curator of Ornithology in 1986. Sheppard remained in the curator position until 2009 when she became the Bird Collisions Campaign Manager for the American Bird Conservancy.
10.1 Linear Feet (24 Hollinger Boxes)
Language of Materials
The collection holds the professional correspondence, department files, and subject files of Joseph Bell and Donald Bruning and the correspondence of Christine Sheppard. Bell's material documents his time as Curator of Ornithology and Chairman of Ornithology. Bruning held the position of Assistant Curator under Bell and became full Curator following Bell. Bruning also began work on bird conservation at New York Zoological Society. Sheppard was Assistant Curator and Associate Curator under Bruning's tenure as Curator, and she became full Curator in 1986 while Bruning became Chairman of Ornithology. The records of the Department of Ornithology during the various curator positions of Bell, Bruning, and Sheppard include materials about the growth of the department as World of Birds opened and developed, as well as research and general material related to the Bronx Zoo and ornithology.
This collection is arranged in three series:
- Series 1:
- Joseph Bell, 1952-1981 (bulk 1979-1980)
- Subseries 1.1:
- Correspondence, 1967-1981
- Subseries 1.2:
- Department Files, 1952-1980 (bulk 1970-1980)
- Subseries 1.3:
- Subject Files, 1973-1980
- Series 2:
- Donald Bruning, 1969-1988 (bulk 1971-1984)
- Subseries 2.1:
- Correspondence, 1971-1984
- Subseries 2.2:
- Department Files, 1969-1988
- Subseries 2.3:
- Subject Files, 1976-1986
- Series 3:
- Christine Sheppard Correspondence, 1978-1985
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Internal transfers (Acc. 1983.008, 1983.013, 1991.009, 1991.013).
Animal Kingdom Reports, staff article reprints, and NYZS ephemera items were transferred to 2016/Publications-Printed Ephemera collection.
- Bell, Joseph L. (Person)
- Bruning, Donald F. (Person)
- Sheppard, Christine (Person)
- New York Zoological Society. Ornithology Department (Organization)
- Guide to the Records of New York Zoological Society Ornithology Curators Joseph Bell, Donald Bruning, and Christine Sheppard
- Sana Masood, Processing Archivist.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note