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Lattis, Richard L. Central Park Zoo Director records, 1964-2003  

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Guide to the records of the Central Park Zoo Director, Richard L. Lattis, 1964-2003

Guide to the Records of the Central Park Zoo Director Richard L. Lattis, 1964-2003 3010

Guide to the Records of the Central Park Zoo Director Richard L. Lattis, 1964-2003
3010

Collection Overview

Repository
Wildlife Conservation Society Archives
Creator
Lattis, Richard L.
Collection Number
3010
Title
Wildlife Conservation Society. Central Park Zoo. Director. Richard L. Lattis records
Date
1964-2003
Extent
16.25 linear feet (13 cartons)
Language
English
Abstract
The collection contains the records of Richard Lattis, primarily in his roles as director of the New York Zoological Society’s City Zoos Project and of the Central Park Zoo. In these capacities, Lattis spearheaded the Society’s takeover of the Central Park, Prospect Park, and Flushing Meadows Zoos, which had previously been run by New York City. Lattis coordinated the closure of the old zoos, their redesign, and their construction, and was Director of the Central Park Zoo from its reopening in 1988 until the end of the City Zoos Project in 1994. The records cover the design, planning, and construction of the new Central Park Zoo, efforts leading up to its opening, and its subsequent operation, including the workings of its animal, education, guest services, public relations, and security departments. There are similar materials pertaining to the planning, construction, opening, and subsequent operation of the Prospect Park Zoo. The collection also documents Lattis’s career with the Society before and after the City Zoos Project, first in his role as Curator and Chairman of the Education Department, and later as he moved into the ranks of senior Society leadership.

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Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York Zoological Society. City Zoos Project.
  • New York Zoological Society. Education Department.
  • New York Zoological Society.
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (New York, N.Y.). Central Park Zoo.
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (New York, N.Y.). Prospect Park Zoo.
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (New York, N.Y.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Lattis, Richard L.

Subject(s)

  • Zoo animals
  • Zoo directors
  • Zoo exhibits
  • Zoo visitors
  • Zoos -- Administration
  • Zoos -- Design and construction
  • Zoos -- Employees

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

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

Usage Restrictions

Please contact the WCS Archives regarding possible usage restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Collection transferred to the Archives between Fall 1993 and May 1994, but apparently not accessioned at that time.

Repository Contact

Wildlife Conservation Society Archives

2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY, 10460
718.220.6874
library@wcs.org

Related Collections

Collection 1028. William G. Conway records, 1900-2004.

Collection 3003. City Zoos collections, 1933-2005.

The Small Collections File, Collection 2015, also includes some City Zoos materials.

 

Preferred Citation

[Item], [Date]. Richard L. Lattis records, 1964-2003. Collection 3010. Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, New York.

Items Separated

The CPZ staff newsletter (Staff Gaff and other titles), and the Spring 1988 issue of ZooNooz--the newsletter of the Bronx Zoo chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK)--were transferred to the Publications and Printed Ephemera collection. Several files of personnel documents have been removed for Human Resources review. See the series description for additional separations.

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Biographical Note

Richard L. Lattis began his career at the New York Zoological Society in the early 1970s working as an instructor in the Education Department. Among his accomplishments as Curator of Education were a complete redesign of the Bronx Zoo’s Children’s Zoo and a concomitant expansion of the Friends of the Zoo program; one of the innovations of the new Children’s Zoo was the fact that it was staffed completely by volunteer docents. Lattis’s next major task was to spearhead the New York Zoological Society’s City Zoos Project when the Society took over management of the Central Park, Prospect Park, and Flushing Meadows (Queens) Zoos from New York City. Lattis coordinated the closure of the three old city zoos, their redesign, and their construction, and was Director of the Central Park Zoo from its reopening in 1988 until the end of the City Zoos Project in 1994. For the remainder of his career at the Society, Lattis rose through several positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President and Director of Conservation Centers, Associate Director and later General Director of the Bronx Zoo, and finally Senior Vice President and General Director of Living Institutions. Lattis also held various posts within the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (now the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), including that of President.

NYZS / WCS Career Chronology
1974-1976 Assistant Curator, Education
1977-1978 Chairman and Associate Curator, Education
1979-1982 Curator, Education
1982-1986 Chairman, Education
1980-1994 Director, City Zoos Project
1988-1994 Director, Central Park Zoo
1994-1997 Vice President, Conservation Centers
1997-1999 Vice President and Director, Conservation Centers
1998-1999 Associate Director, Bronx Zoo
1999-2000 Vice President and General Director, Zoos and Aquarium
2000-unknown (2005 at latest) Director, Bronx Zoo
2000 Senior Vice President and General Director, Zoos and Aquarium
2001-2007 Senior Vice President and General Director, Living Institutions

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Scope and Content

The collection contains the records of Richard Lattis, primarily in his roles as director of both the New York Zoological Society’s City Zoos Project and of the Central Park Zoo. The records cover all phases and aspects of the design, planning, and construction of the Central Park Zoo after the Society took it over from the New York City Parks Department, as well as the efforts leading up to its opening and its subsequent operation. Specific topics covered include the agreement with the city, budget and cost estimates, the process of planning the zoo’s program and of designing, constructing and funding its exhibits, the transfer of the old zoo’s animals to other locations, and the relations between the Society, the city, the designers, architects, construction managers, exhibit fabricators, and others. Post-opening, the records detail the workings of the Central Park Zoo’s various departments, including its animal, education, guest services, operations and maintenance, public relations, and security departments. Also included are Lattis’s reports to the NYZS Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee, as well as his participation in various staff committees. The collection also includes a small amount of similar materials pertaining to the planning, construction, opening, and subsequent operation of the Prospect Park Zoo.

Other records document Lattis’s career with the Society before and after the City Zoos Project, first in his role as Curator and Chairman of the Education Department, and later as he moved into the ranks of senior Society leadership. The Education-related materials document the Society’s long-range strategic planning as it embarked on the Second Century Campaign and renovated Astor Court, as well as Lattis’s participation in several zoo committees and in the NYZS travel tour programs. The later materials document public affairs for the City Zoos, the Society’s print review process, and the Wildlife Survival Center at Saint Catherines Island, and also include Bronx Zoo animal censuses and visitor surveys. Finally, the collection also contains records documenting Lattis’s involvement with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (now the Association of Zoos and Aquariums). These materials include files on talks and presentations he gave at various AAZPA annual meetings (especially on the topic of children’s zoos).

Visual materials documenting the Central Park Zoo (CPZ) planning, construction, landscaping, and other related processes, including plans, sketches, and sections can be found in many files throughout the records.

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Arrangement

The processed collection retains the original file structure’s inconsistencies on whether folders pertaining to New York City departments should fall under ‘D’ for ‘Department’ or under the initial letter of the rest of the department name (e.g. ‘P’ for ‘Parks’ or ‘C’ for ‘Cultural Affairs’).

This collection is arranged into 6 series:

Series 1:
 Central Park Zoo Planning and Construction Records, 1977-1989
Series 2:
 Central Park Zoo Director’s 1988-1991 Annual Files, 1981-1992
Series 3:
 Richard Lattis New York Zoological Society Records, 1977-2003
Series 4:
 Richard Lattis Personal Papers, 1975-1989
Series 5:
 Prospect Park Zoo Planning and Construction Records, 1987-1993
Series 6:
 Later Additions: New York Zoological Society, Central Park Children’s Zoo, etc., 1964-2000 (bulk 1983-1997)

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Other Finding Aids note

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

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Wildlife Conservation Society Library & Archives | 2300 Southern Blvd. Bronx, NY 10460 | library[at]wcs[dot]org


Description

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