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Gordon, Myron. New York Aquarium Fish Genetics Laboratory Geneticist records, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1958)  

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Guide to the records of the New York Aquarium Fish Genetics Laboratory Geneticist Myron Gordon, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1958)

Guide to the records of the New York Aquarium Fish Genetics Laboratory Geneticist Myron Gordon, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1958) 3021

Guide to the records of the New York Aquarium Fish Genetics Laboratory Geneticist Myron Gordon, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1958)
3021

Collection Overview

Repository
Wildlife Conservation Society Archives
Creator
Gordon, Myron, 1899-1959
Creator
Kallman, Klaus D.
Collection Number
3021
Title
New York Aquarium. Fish Genetics Laboratory. Office of Geneticist. Myron Gordon records
Date
Bulk, 1940-1958
Date
1900-1978
Extent
3.65 linear feet 6 Hollinger boxes, 1 carton
Language
English
Abstract
The collection holds records from Myron Gordon, Geneticist at the New York Aquarium’s Fish Genetics Laboratory. Gordon, who also held a staff appointment at the American Museum of Natural History, was known for his research on the genetic aspects of and mechanisms for speciation, sex determination, and tumor development in platyfish and swordtails, the fishes that comprise the Xiphophorus genus. The collection includes correspondence, subject files, and records pertaining to Gordon’s professional travel, grant research, graduate students, and genetics laboratory. The material documents Gordon’s research and publications, his interest in the countries where he collected Xiphophorus stock, and his close relationships with both his students and with many of the leading ichthyologists of his time, as well as his time spent organizing conferences, his teaching career, and his duties at the New York Aquarium.

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Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York Aquarium. Fish Genetics Laboratory.

Personal Name(s)

  • Gordon, Myron, 1899-1959
  • Hubbs, Carl L., (Carl Leavitt), 1894-1979
  • Kallman, Klaus D.
  • Rosen, Donn Eric, 1929-1986

Subject(s)

  • Cancer in animals
  • Fishes -- Genetics
  • Geneticists
  • Ichthyologists
  • Melanoma -- Congresses
  • Scientific expeditions -- Central America
  • Xiphophorus

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

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

Usage Restrictions

Please contact the WCS Archives regarding possible usage restrictions.

Repository Contact

Wildlife Conservation Society Archives

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

Processing Information

Collection processed and finding aid created by Leilani Dawson, August 2014.

Related Collections

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

Collection 3008. George D. Ruggieri records, circa 1906-1988 (bulk 1973-1987).

Collection 3009. Charles M. Breder and Christopher W. Coates records, 1939-1956. 

Please contact the Wildlife Conservation Society Archives for information on additional holdings related to this collection.

Preferred Citation

[Item], [Date]. Myron Gordon records, 1900-1978 (bulk 1940-1978). Collection 3021. Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, New York.

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Biographical Note

Myron Gordon began his affiliation with the New York Aquarium [NYA] in 1939 as a visiting researcher during the early years of his appointment at the American Museum of Natural History [AMNH]. It was during this time that he established what would become the Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center, maintained first by Gordon and then by his student Klaus Kallman during the entirety of their tenure at NYA and its marine labs, and eventually transferred by Kallman to its current location at the University of Texas. Gordon joined the Aquarium’s staff as a Research Associate in Genetics in 1941 after the original Manhattan building of the NYA was closed and its parent organization, the New York Zoological Society, rented laboratory space for aquatic research at AMNH. In 1944--as part of the staff rearrangements following the resignation of NYA Director Charles M. Breder, who left to become AMNH’s Chairman of the Department of Fishes--Gordon became Assistant Curator at NYA while maintaining his AMNH position. (From the 1940s through the 1960s, NYA and AMNH staff were a close-knit group, with several staff members either holding dual appointments or moving back and forth from one institution to the other.)

By 1947 Gordon was the NYA’s Geneticist, in charge of the Fish Genetics Laboratory. Gordon’s research focused on the genetic aspects of and mechanisms for speciation, sex determination, and tumor development, with a particular interest in melanomas in platyfish and swordtails, the fishes that comprise the Xiphophorus genus (at the time they were considered two separate genera). While at the Aquarium, Gordon continued the collecting expeditions he had begun while a graduate student at Cornell University. These expeditions, which Gordon conducted from the late 1930s through the late 1950s, took him to Mexico and Central America to retrieve wild Xiphophorus stock free of the pedigree and hybridization uncertainties of the domestic stocks that supplied the pet trade of the era. At the same time, Gordon also held a teaching appointment at New York University and organized a series of conferences on the biology of normal and atypical pigment cell growth (what would later be recognized as the first four International Pigment Cell Conferences).

Gordon died suddenly in March, 1959, at the height of his output. In that same year James Atz, Donn Rosen, and Klaus Kallman all received their PhDs from NYU under Gordon’s mentorship. Rosen followed in Gordon’s footsteps at AMNH, chairing the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology from 1965 until 1975. Atz and Kallman took up Gordon’s research at the Aquarium, with Atz continuing his role as Associate Curator and Kallman succeeding Gordon at the Genetics Lab.

NYA Career Chronology
1939-1940 Visiting researcher
1941-1943 Research Associate in Genetics
1944-1946 Assistant Curator and Research Associate in Genetics
1947-1959 Geneticist

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Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, subject files, and records pertaining to Gordon’s professional travel, grant research, melanoma conferences, graduate students, and genetics laboratory. The correspondence highlights Gordon’s research and publication efforts, his interest in the countries where he collected Xiphophorus stock, and his close relationships with both his students and with many of the leading ichthyologists of his time. The subject files document Gordon’s research interests and duties at the New York Aquarium. His grant files include technical details of his multi-generational genetic research on platyfish and swordtails, while his travel and melanoma conference pertain to his collecting expeditions and his participation in and organization of symposia on genetics and cancer research. Finally, Gordon’s collection includes student papers from his duties as an adjunct professor at New York University and calendars and charts documenting the fish stocks his laboratory maintained.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged in seven series:

Series 1
 Correspondence, 1921-1959 (bulk 1947-1959)
Series 2
 Subject files, 1900-1959 (bulk 1930-1958)
Series 3
 Travel, 1930-1954
Series 4
 Grants, 1942-1959
Series 5
 Melanoma conferences, 1947-1959
Series 6
 Student papers, circa 1940s-1950s (bulk 1948-1957)
Series 7
 Calendars and charts, 1949-1969, 1976-1978

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Other Finding Aids

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

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1921-1959 (Bulk, 1947-1959)

Scope and Content

Gordon’s correspondence highlights his research and publication efforts, his interest in the countries where he collected Xiphophorus stock, and his close relationships with both his students and with many of the leading ichthyologists of his time. Especially prominent is evidence of Gordon’s ties to the Ichthyology Departments of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology [UMMZ], where he had performed a post-doctoral fellowship, and to the American Museum of Natural History [AMNH]. UMMZ Curators of Fishes Carl L. Hubbs (who later moved to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California San Diego) and Reeve M. Bailey are frequent correspondents, as is their colleague (and Hubbs’s son-in-law) Robert Rush Miller. Miller and Hubbs, working with W. L. Minkley of the University of Arizona, named the northern platyfish Xiphophorus gordoni in Gordon’s honor after his death.

Gordon’s correspondence with those he mentored is notable for the glimpses it provides into the conditions of wartime service: James Atz’s file includes letters from Atz’s time at Fort Bragg, N.C., during the Second World War, and the files of Donn Rosen and William Hildeman both include letters dating from their Korean War service. Gordon’s Central America and Mexico correspondence pertains to his collecting expeditions and also documents Gordon’s other interests in the area, especially eastern Mexico and British Honduras (modern day Belize). These include his efforts to export mahogany and his friendship with Reverend Gerald Fairweather and his son, Compton Fairweather, who assisted Gordon with his collection efforts and would go on to become influential in Belizean politics.

Academic Press, 1954 


Box Folder
Text 1 1

Alvarez del Villar, Jose, 1948-1955 


Box Folder
Text 1 2

American Museum of Natural History, 1947-1956 


Box Folder
Text 1 3

American Philosophical Society, 1951-1957 


Box Folder
Text 1 4

Aquarium Stock Company, 1948-1956 


Box Folder
Text 1 5

Ariel, Irving, 


Box Folder
Text 1 6

Atz, James W., 1943-late 1940s 


Box Folder
Text 1 7

Axelrod, Herbert, 1950-1958 


Box Folder
Text 1 8

Bailey, Reeve M., 1944-1958 


Box Folder
Text 1 9

Baker, Katherine France, 1956-1959 


Box Folder
Text 1 10

Bellamy, Albert W., 1925-1947 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 1 11

Butler, Elmer G., 1953 


Box Folder
Text 1 12

C, 1956-1957 


Box Folder
Text 1 13

Clark, Eugenie, 1947-1949 


Box Folder
Text 1 14

Coates, Christopher W., 1947-1954 


Box Folder
Text 1 15

Darnell, Rezneat M., 1951-1954 


Box Folder
Text 1 16

E, 1947-1958 


Box Folder
Text 1 17

Endeavor, 1949-1950 


Box Folder
Text 1 18

Ermin, Recai, 1950-1956 


Box Folder
Text 1 19

Everglades Aquatic Nurseries, 1948-1959 


Box Folder
Text 1 20

F, 1949-1959 


Box Folder
Text 1 21

Fairweather, Gerald and Compton, 1949-1957 


Box Folder
Text 1 22

Fishes of Eastern Mexico, 1951-1953 


Box Folder
Text 1 23

Food, 1957 


Box Folder
Text 1 24

Ghadially, F. N., 1955-1956 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 1 25

Goodrich, Hubert, 1940 


Box Folder
Text 1 26

Gordon, Myron -- Personal, 1921-1944 


Box Folder
Text 1 27

Haldane, J. B. S. and Helen [Spurway], 1947-1956 


Box Folder
Text 1 28

Harper and Brothers, 1954-1956 


Box Folder
Text 1 29

Hawaii, 1951-1956 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 1 30

Held, Edward E., 1953-1956 


Box Folder
Text 2 1

Hildemann, William, 1949-1955 


Box Folder
Text 2 2

Hoke, John, 1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 3

Hubbs, Carl, 1927-1948 


Box Folder
Text 2 4

Hubbs, Carl, 1949-1959 


Box Folder
Text 2 5

Ichthyologists, 


Box Folder
Text 2 6

Innes, William T. -- The Aquarium, 1948-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 7

M, 1947-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 8

Marchant Calculators, 1954 


Box Folder
Text 2 9

Marcus, Theodore, 1951-1952 


Box Folder
Text 2 10

Marcus, Theodore, 1954 


Box Folder
Text 2 11

McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1950-1953 


Box Folder
Text 2 12

Miller, Robert, 1950-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 13

Myers, George S., 1953-1954 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 2 14

Nichols, Henry, 


Box Folder
Text 2 15

Oztan, Nezihe, 1957-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 16

Pecini, Mario, 1954-1956 


Box Folder
Text 2 17

Q-R, 1948-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 18

Railway Express, 1952-1957 


Box Folder
Text 2 19

Raven, Ronald W., 1949-1953 


Box Folder
Text 2 20

Reprint requests, 1945-1957 


Box Folder
Text 2 21

Rosen, Donn E., 1951-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 22

Rosen, Donn E., 1946, 1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 23

Schramm, M. W. S., 1941 


Box Folder
Text 2 24

Water Life Magazine, 1949-1958 


Box Folder
Text 2 25

J. Wiley and Sons -- Winstar Institute, 1950-1956 


Box Folder
Text 2 26

Y, 1944-1959 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 2 27

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Series 2: Subjects, 1900-1959 (Bulk, 1930-1958)

Scope and Content

Gordon’s subject files predominantly document his research interests and his duties at the Aquarium. The documents include symposia papers, laboratory notes, typescripts, press clippings, exhibit labels, photographs, and illustrations; all document various fishes and their genetics.

Albinism, 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 3 1

Betta extracts, 1900-1954 (bulk 1930s and 1950s) 


Box Folder
Text 3 2

Bibliographies, 


Box Folder
Text 3 3

Conference on Elements of Population Genetics, 


Box Folder
Text 3 4

Goldfish, 


Box Folder
Text 3 5

Guppy fish genetics, 1954 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 3 6

Labels for fishes, 


Box Folder
Text 3 7

Laboratory notes, 1957-1959 


Box Folder
Text 3 8

Lebistes, circa 1958 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 3 9

Medaka, 


Box Folder
Text 3 10

New York University, 1957 


Box Folder
Text 3 11

Paradise fish, 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 3 12

Press clippings, 1933-1952 


Box Folder
Text 3 13

Swordtail skeleton, 


Box Folder
Text 3 14

Symposium paper -- "Fish genetics and fish diseases", 1954 


Box Folder
Text 3 15

Typescript drafts for manuscripts, 


Box Folder
Text 3 16

Zoo charts -- "Photographs: Attention Curator", 


Box Folder
Graphic materials 3 17

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Series 3: Travel, 1930-1954 

Scope and Content

The series consist of records pertaining to Gordon’s collecting expeditions and travel for international conferences on genetics and cancer research. The expedition files document Gordon’s trips to Mexico and Central America for wild platyfish and swordtail stock. They feature budget and financial records, correspondence, travel documents, a notebook with sketches, and several evocative travelogues, at least some of which were written for his wife Evelyn and daughter Debbie. In addition to Gordon’s family, featured correspondents include colleagues Donn Rosen and James Atz, as well as L. R. Baker (an employee of the steamship company run by Standard Fruit Company, now Dole), Alphonse C. Chable, and Dr. V. C. Dunlap (both of the tropical research department and train line run by United Fruit Company, which would become Chiquita Bananas) in Honduras.

British Honduras, 1930, 1949-1950 


Box Folder
Text 4 1

British Honduras and Guatemala, 1954 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 4 2

Ciba Foundation Europe / Turkey trip, 1950 


Box Folder
Text 4 3

Honduras, 1948-1951 


Box Folder
Text 4 4

IV International Cancer Research Congress, circa 1949-1950 


Box Folder
Text 4 5

V International Cancer Research Congress (Paris), 1949-1954 


Box Folder
Text 4 6

VI International Cancer Research Congress (Sao Paulo), 1953-1954 


Box Folder
Text 4 7

IX International Congress of Genetics (Bellagio), 1953 


Box Folder
Text 4 8

Mexican documents, 1930-1939 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 4 9

Mexico, 1952 


Box Folder
Text 4 10

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Series 4: Grants, 1942-1959 

Scope and Content

The grant files include the technical details of Gordon’s multi-generational genetic research on platyfish and swordtails, fish that are now both thought of as part of the genus Xiphophorus (at the time they were considered separate but closely-related genera). The records are composed of grant applications, reports, and correspondence with the funders, notably the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and the National Science Foundation.

Pre-1948 grant material, 1942-1947 


Box Folder
Text 4 11

C297, C297-S, C297-C, 1946-1952 (Bulk, 1947-1948)


Box Folder
Text 4 12

C297-C2, 1948-1950 


Box Folder
Text 4 13

C297-C3, 1949-1951 


Box Folder
Text 4 14

C297-C4, C297-C4-S, 1950-1952 


Box Folder
Text 4 15

C297-C5, 1952-1953 


Box Folder
Text 4 16

C297-C6, 1953-1955 


Box Folder
Text 4 17

C297-C7, 1954-1956 


Box Folder
Text 4 18

C297-C8, 1955-1956 


Box Folder
Text 4 19

C297-C9, 1956-1957 


Box Folder
Text 4 20

C297-C10, C297-C10-S1, 1957-1958 


Box Folder
Text 4 21

G2705, 1956-1958 


Box Folder
Text 4 22

G5426, 1957-1958 


Box Folder
Text 4 23

Evaluations of others' grants, 1954-1959 


Box Folder
Text 4 24

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Series 5: Melanoma conferences, 1947-1959 

Scope and Content

From the late 1940s through the late 1950s, Gordon was instrumental in organizing a series of conferences on melanomas in humans and other animals. Records include conference programs and drafts of participants’ talks for the published proceedings, but the bulk of the documents consists of correspondence between Gordon and the conferences’ speakers, hosts, attendees, publisher, and funders.

Conference I -- Correspondence, 1947-1948 


Box Folder
Text 4 25

Conferences I-II -- Anna Fuller Fund, 1948-1950 


Box Folder
Text 5 1

Conference II -- Address lists, program, proceedings, 1949 


Box Folder
Text 5 2

Conference II -- Correspondence, 1949-1950 


Box Folder
Text 5 3

Conferences II-III -- Academic Press publication of papers, 1949-1953 


Box Folder
Text 5 4

Conference III -- Anna Fuller Fund, 1950-1951 


Box Folder
Text 5 5

Conference III -- Correspondence, 1950-1951 September 


Box Folder
Text 5 6

Conference III -- Correspondence, 1951 October-December 


Box Folder
Text 5 7

Conference III -- Correspondence, 1952-1953 


Box Folder
Text 5 8

Conference III -- Damon Runyon Fund, 1951-1955 


Box Folder
Text 5 9

Conference III -- Program and forms, 1951 


Box Folder
Text 5 10

Conference IV -- Program, 1957 


Box Folder
Text 5 11

Conference IV -- Correspondence, 1953-1956 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 5 12

Conference IV -- Correspondence, 1957 January-June 


Box Folder
Text 5 13

Conference IV -- Correspondence, 1957 July-December 


Box Folder
Text 6 1

Conference IV -- Correspondence, 1958-1959 


Box Folder
Text 6 2

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Series 6: Student papers, circa 1940s-1950s (bulk 1948-1957) 

Scope and Content

This series is comprised of term papers, literature reviews, and other reports written by Gordon’s students.

Alperin, Irwin, 1953 


Box Folder
Text 6 3

Aronowitz, Olga, 1948 


Box Folder
Text 6 4

Barden, Herbert, between 1951 and 1959 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 6 5

Baslow, Morris, 1957 


Box Folder
Text 6 6

Chavin, Walter, 1948 


Box Folder
Text 6 7

Clark, Eugenie, 1948 


Box Folder
Text 6 8

Edelman, Abraham, 1953-1954 


Box Folder
Text 6 9

Harris, John J., 1953-1954 


Box Folder
Text 6 10

Guthwin, Hyman, 1951 


Box Folder
Text 6 11

Kadow, Patricia C., circa 1948 


Box Folder
Text 6 12

Krassner, Zonia, 1956 


Box Folder
Text 6 13

Pappas, Georges S., 1953 


Box Folder
Text 6 14

Piliero, S. J., 1951 


Box Folder
Text 6 15

Robinson, E. J., Jr., 1941 


Box Folder
Text 6 16

Schlein, Abraham, circa 1953-1954 (not later than 1959) 


Box Folder
Text 6 17

Silber, Diana, 1951 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 6 18

Sloboda, Adolph E., 1955 


Box Folder
Text 6 19

Tavologa, William N., 1948 


Box Folder
Text 6 20

unknown, between 1948 and 1959 


Box Folder
Text 6 21

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Series 7: Calendars and charts, 1949-1969, 1976-1978 

Scope and Content

The series contain week-long temperature gauge readout charts, 1955-1969, and daily calendars that note temperature readings (presumably for either the air temperature of the genetics laboratory or the water temperature of one or more tanks), and the number of fish births and deaths, 1949-1966, 1976-1978. The later records in the series, produced after Gordon’s death, were created under the auspices of Gordon’s successor in the Genetics Lab, Klaus Kallman.

Weston weekly temperature charts, 1955-1969 November 


Carton Folder
Graphic materials 7 1-7

Daily calendars noting temperature and fish births and deaths, 1949-1966, 1976 December 12-1978 January 2 


Carton Folder
Text 7 8-28

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