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New York Aquarium and Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences. Office of Director. George D. Ruggieri records

 Fonds
Identifier: 3008
The collection holds records and personal papers from George D. Ruggieri, S.J., Director of the New York Aquarium [NYA] and of the Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences [OLMS]. For both the Aquarium and the Labs, the primary set of documentation consists of Ruggieri’s annual files of correspondence, administrative records, and ephemera. The NYA annual files document the day-to-day operation of the Aquarium and its departments, as well as the Aquarium’s relations with local politicians and civic groups. The OLMS annual files include records pertaining to the research work of the Labs, as well as to the relationship of the Labs and the Aquarium to their parent organization, the New York Zoological Society [NYZS]. The series for the Aquarium and Labs each also include subject files, and the OLMS series also contains a subseries devoted to the Labs’ researchers and to its annual Dinner-Dances. Finally, the collection includes a series of Ruggieri’s personal papers, comprising publicity about Ruggieri and his manuscript and publication files. Other highlights include documentation on a species of nautilus named after Ruggieri and an angelfish named after NYZS trustee Nixon Griffis, as well as the shooting script and other material pertaining to the TV movie Out of the Darkness, a fictionalized account of Detective Ed Zigo’s role in apprehending the Son of Sam serial killer that featured Hector Elizondo as a character (‘Father George’) based on Ruggieri.

Dates

  • circa 1906-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1973 - 1983

Creator

Access Restrictions

Certain portions of this collection are subject to access restrictions. Please contact the WCS Archives regarding these restrictions.

Usage Restrictions

Please contact the WCS Archives regarding possible usage restrictions.

Extent

36.15 linear feet (27 record cartons, 6 Hollinger boxes)

Overview

The collection holds records and personal papers from George D. Ruggieri, S.J., Director of the New York Aquarium [NYA] and of the Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences [OLMS]. Ruggieri began his affiliation with OLMS during his graduate studies in marine biology and joined the staff shortly after his 1962 ordination as a Jesuit Priest. His research concentrated on marine natural products, especially the effects of various metabolites on the reproduction and development of other organisms and their potential uses in the fight against disease. Ruggieri’s NYA records document the Aquarium’s various departments and showcase its exhibits and animals and its relationships with peer institutions, Brooklyn community and business groups, zoo and conservation organizations, and local politicians. The OLMS records document the scientists who worked at the Labs, their research, the Labs’ funders and fundraising efforts, and its relationship with the departments, administration, and trustees of the New York Zoological Society. Finally, the collection also includes a series of Ruggieri’s personal papers, comprising publicity about Ruggieri and his manuscript and publication files.

Biography

George D. Ruggieri began his affiliation with the Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences [OLMS] during his graduate studies in marine biology; he conducted the research for his 1960 PhD thesis at OLMS and joined the staff shortly after his 1962 ordination as a Jesuit Priest. During his early career Ruggieri was also a professor at St. Joseph’s College of Philadelphia, and later had affiliations with various other Catholic universities in the New York City area, including Fordham and St. John’s. Under previous OLMS Director Ross F. Nigrelli, Ruggieri quickly gained increasing responsibilities at OLMS, becoming Coordinator of Research when the Labs joined the Aquarium in Coney Island in 1967, and assuming the OLMS Directorship when Nigrelli retired in 1973. Also in 1973, NYA Director James Oliver named Ruggieri Associate Director of the Aquarium; Ruggieri became NYA Director in turn when Oliver retired in 1976.

Ruggieri’s research concentrated on marine natural products, especially the effects of various metabolites on the reproduction and development of other organisms and their potential uses in the fight against disease. He was a prolific writer, producing scores of academic research papers and popular articles, as well as a book, The Healing Sea. The effect of pollution and other human impacts on marine and coastal creatures and ecosystems was another focus of Ruggieri’s research, and he was a tireless advocate for the wetlands of the New York-New Jersey Bight, especially the Gateway National Recreation Area. In December 1987 Ruggieri passed away after a brief struggle with cancer, a disease that was one of the focuses of the research he shepherded at OLMS.

NYZS Career Chronology
  • 1962 Collaborator, OLMS
  • 1963-1964 Visiting Research Associate, Marine Biochemistry & Ecology, OLMS
  • 1965 Research Associate, Experimental Morphogenesis, OLMS
  • 1966 Research Associate, Experimental Embryology & Teratology, OLMS
  • 1967-1969 Coordinator of Research (and Experimental Embryologist), OLMS
  • 1970-1972 Assistant Director, Experimental Embryologist, and Coordinator of Research, OLMS
  • 1973-1976 Associate Director, NYA
  • 1973-1982 Director and Experimental Embryologist, OLMS
  • 1976-1987 Director, NYA
  • 1982-1987 Director and Experimental Embryologist, Carter Chair of Marine Science, OLMS
NYZS Career Chronology
1962
Collaborator, OLMS
1963-1964
Visiting Research Associate, Marine Biochemistry & Ecology, OLMS
1965
Research Associate, Experimental Morphogenesis, OLMS
1966
Research Associate, Experimental Embryology & Teratology, OLMS
1967-1969
Coordinator of Research (and Experimental Embryologist), OLMS
1970-1972
Assistant Director, Experimental Embryologist, and Coordinator of Research, OLMS
1973-1976
Associate Director, NYA
1973-1982
Director and Experimental Embryologist, OLMS
1976-1987
Director, NYA
1982-1987
Director and Experimental Embryologist, Carter Chair of Marine Science, OLMS

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in three series, with a total of nine subseries
Series 1
New York Aquarium records, circa 1906-1908, 1950-1988 (bulk 1974-1987)
(Subseries 1.1)
1976-1987 Annual files, circa 1906-1908, 1950-1988 (bulk 1976-1987
(Subseries 1.2)
Subject files, 1964-1987 (bulk 1974-1987)
Series 2
Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences records, 1957-1988 (bulk 1964-1987)
(Subseries 2.1)
1975-1987 Annual files, 1964-1988 (bulk 1975-1987)
(Subseries 2.2)
Dinner-Dances, 1981-1987
(Subseries 2.3)
Personnel files, 1960-1987
(Subseries 2.4)
Subject files, 1957-1987
Series 3
George D. Ruggieri papers, 1960-1988
(Subseries 3.1)
Publicity files, 1966-1987
(Subseries 3.2)
Manuscripts, speeches, and pre-publication files, 1960-1987
(Subseries 3.3)
Publications, 1960-1988

Other Finding Aids note

The Wildlife Conservation Society Archives holds additional descriptive information pertaining to this collection; please contact the archivist for more detail.

Acquisition Information

Internal transfer, 1982 (Acc. 1982.005).

Internal transfers, 1985 (Acc. 1985.001, 1985.002, 1985.008, 1985.009).

Internal transfers, 1988 (Acc. 1988.003, 1988.004).

Internal transfer, 1996 (Acc. 1996.007).

Related Collections

Collection 3001. New York Aquarium records, circa 1900-1998 (bulk 1960-1990).

Collection 3007. Louis E. Garibaldi records, 1960-1999.

Collection 3011. James A. Oliver New York Aquarium records, 1966-1977 (bulk 1970-1976).

Collection 3021. Myron Gordon records, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1958).

Collection 3053. Ross F. Nigrelli records, 1929-1987 (bulk 1945-1980).

Collection 3054. New York Aquarium senior staff records, 1955-1979 (bulk 1964-1979).

Please contact the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives for information on additional holdings related to this collection.
Title
Guide to the Records of New York Aquarium Director and Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences Director George D. Ruggieri
Status
Published
Author
Collection processed and finding aid created by Leilani Dawson.
Date
2011-2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • April 2018: Finding aid entered into ArchivesSpace by Sana Masood.

Repository Details

Part of the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives Repository

Contact:
WCS Library/Archives
2300 Southern Blvd
Bronx New York 10460 United States