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New York Zoological Society. International Conservation bluebooks

Identifier: 4041

Scope and Content

The collection holds records of the international programs of the New York Zoological Society (NYZS). (The records are also referred to internally as the “bluebook” records because the files were originally kept in blue folders). Most records relate to grant funding for wildlife conservation and management fieldwork, with projects including animal population surveys, studies of the ecology or behavior of specific species, or analysis of wildlife management in a particular region. Several projects also involve the creation of national parks or wildlife reserves, the promotion of conservation legislation, or education about conservation or wildlife management. A small number of grants involve funding for publications or academic support. Records were created between 1962 and 1993, with the majority of records created between 1973 and 1989.

Correspondence between NYZS staff and field researchers makes up much of collection. The primary NYZS correspondents include Archie Carr III, Mary Pearl, William Conway, and F. Wayne King. Topics include grant enquiries, status updates from the field, and general conservation discussion. Internal correspondence between NYZS staff members includes deliberations on grant proposals and discussions about the work of various researchers and their relationships to NYZS.

Administrative records include grant proposals (generally containing project descriptions, examples of previous research, curriculum vitas, and projected budgets), NYZS Conservation Committee grant assessments, NYSZ grant contracts, expenditure lists, and collections of receipts for expenses. Education and conservation awareness projects often include ephemera, or drafts for ephemera. Progress or final reports submitted by grantees include written descriptions of the work completed and analysis of findings, often supplemented with data tables, charts and images (either illustrations or photographs). Copies of academic or general interests publications resulting from NYZS-sponsored research are often included as well. Some folders contain architectural sketches, usually conveying plans for field research facilities.

The geographical scope of the materials is extensive, with an emphasis on projects in East Africa, Southeast and East Asia and Central and South America. Within Africa, the countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, and Mauritius are heavily represented—especially in the Tana River, Kibale Forest and Amboseli National Park areas. Elsewhere, Costa Rica, Peru, India and Thailand are prominently featured or frequently included as research locations. North American projects focus on mountain or coastal regions. The research projects report on diverse species, with a large proportion of projects devoted to primates, large mammals (especially elephants, rhinoceroses, and bears), birds, and reptiles (especially turtles and crocodiles). Most materials are written in English, with the most common exceptions being Spanish-language items.

Several files are devoted to David Western’s conservation work in East Africa, including work with the African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group and Amboseli National Park. Other prominent research projects include Dale Lewis’s conservation development projects and elephant research in Zambia; Russell A. Mittermeier’s research and conservation efforts involving primates in Central and South America; Bernard Peyton’s research on the spectacled bear in South America; Tim Clark’s research on the black-footed ferret in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States; and Thomas T. Struhsaker’s primate research and forest conservation work in Uganda. Materials also relate to the Gombe Stream Research Centre, involving primate research by Jane Goodall and Derek Bryceson; elephant conservation studies in Africa by Iain Douglas-Hamilton; and several conservation efforts in Sudan, involving researchers John Fryxell, A. R. E. Sinclair, Jesse Chris Hillman, and Alison Karen Kesenyonye Hillman.


  • Majority of material found within 1973 - 1989
  • 1962 - 1993


Access Restrictions

Portions of this collection are restricted. Please contact the WCS Archives for more information.

Usage Restrictions

Please contact the WCS Archives regarding possible usage restrictions.

Historical Note

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New York Zoological Society (NYZS) sponsored many international wildlife conservation projects. NYZS grants provided aid for hundreds of field researchers and supported conservation efforts in dozens of countries. These projects furthered scientific studies, expanded wildlife conservation awareness, promoted conservation legislation, and aided in the creation of several new parks and reserves.

General Director William Conway led the growth of the Society’s international programs in the 1970s. With the creation of the Center for Field Biology and Conservation, as well as a separate Conservation Department, the Society expanded its role in global fieldwork and conservation efforts. This work continued when the two units combined to form the Center for Conservation and Wildlife Research (briefly) and the Animal Research and Conservation Center, which later evolved into Wildlife Conservation International and the International Conservation Division. The field grants funded by the Society supplemented work by NYZS staff—with grants usually intended to fund special research projects or support in a specific conservation goal.

Chronology of conservation units at the Wildlife Conservation Society

1972 - 1979
Center for Field Biology and Conservation
1974 - 1979
Department of Conservation
Center for Conservation and Wildlife Research
1979 - 1984
Animal Research and Conservation Center
1984 - 1992
Wildlife Conservation International
1992 - 1997
International Conservation


21.55 linear feet (17 cartons, 2 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection holds of the records of the international programs of the New York Zoological Society (NYZS), with records relating to NYZS sponsorship of field research and wildlife conservation projects carried out from the 1970s to the early 1990s. These grants funded ecological studies of animals and regions, as well as projects promoting wildlife conservation education, conservation legislation, and the creation of protected areas. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between NYZS officials and project grantees, administrative records relating to grant approval and funding processes, and the resulting field reports and publications.


The collection is in one series. The collection is arranged alphabetically (primarily by last name, with some folders by project name or subject). Box 19 was added at a later date and is alphabetized separately from the rest of the collection.

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, 1985 (Acc. 1985.007)

Internal transfer, 1987 (Acc. 1987.006)

Internal transfer, 1989 (Acc. 1989.010)

Internal transfers, 1990 (Acc. 1990.001, 1990.009, 1990.010)

Internal transfers, 1991 (Acc. 1991.017, 1991.018)

Internal transfers, 1993 (Acc. 1993.004, 1993.009, 1993.013)

Processing Information

Finding aid created and collection processed by Alexanne Brown, Pratt Institute Archives Intern. May 2014
Guide to the New York Zoological Society International Conservation bluebooks
Finding aid prepared by Alexanne Brown, Pratt Institute
May 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives Repository

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