Wildlife Conservation Society


Wildlife Conservation Society Library Collections

  • WCS Library, Bronx Zoo Maps
    The Bronx Zoo opened on November 8, 1899. Over the course of its history, the Zoo's shape and appearance have undergone major changes as exhibits have come and gone. Brought about by such factors as technological developments in zoo design and exhibit creation, advances in understanding about animals and their care, and cultural shifts, these changes are reflected in the maps on display here.
  • WCS Library, New York Aquarium Postcards
    The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The Aquarium is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
    Originally owned by the City of New York, the New York Aquarium opened on December 10, 1896, at Castle Garden in Battery Park. On October 31, 1902, the City transferred control and operation of the Aquarium to WCS (then known as the New York Zoological Society). At that time, the Aquarium housed only 150 specimens of wildlife. During the tenure of its most famous director, the distinguished zoologist Charles Haskins Townsend, the collections grew considerably, and the Aquarium attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
    In October 1941, the Aquarium at Battery Park was closed by NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in preparation for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Many of the Aquarium’s inhabitants were temporarily housed at the Bronx Zoo's Lion House until the new aquarium was built after World War II. On June 6, 1957, the New York Aquarium opened at its new location in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
    The Aquarium has a long history as a beloved New York City attraction, and the postcards on display here show off the sights that have dazzled its viewers over the years.
  • WCS and NYBG Libraries, Bronx Park Postcards
    Inspired by the late-nineteenth-century urban park movement, Bronx Park was formally created by the City of New York in the late 1880s. In 1891, the City allotted 250 acres of the park to The New York Botanical Garden. An additional 250 acres were allotted to the New York Zoological Society in 1897 for the creation of what is now known as the Bronx Zoo.
    This digital collection brings together postcards held by the Wildlife Conservation Society Library (which houses the archives of the Bronx Zoo) and The New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library. These 450 postcards, which range in date from 1903 to the 1980s, depict Bronx Park's natural beauty and highlight the buildings, landscapes, and inhabitants of the two iconic institutions located on this land.