This is the "Collection 3054" page of the "New York Aquarium Senior Staff records, 1955-1979 (bulk 1964-1979)" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
wcsbanner wcs

New York Aquarium Senior Staff records, 1955-1979 (bulk 1964-1979)  

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2016 URL: http://ielc.libguides.com/content.php?pid=621169 Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Collection 3054 Print Page
  Search: 
 
 

Guide to the records of the New York Aquarium Senior Staff, 1955-1979 (bulk 1964-1979)

3054


3054

Collection Overview

Repository
Wildlife Conservation Society Archives
Creator
New York Aquarium.
Collection Number
3054
Title
New York Aquarium. Senior Staff records
Date
Bulk, 1964-1979
Date
1955-1979
Extent
1.45 linear feet (1 carton, 1 half-Hollinger box)
Language
English
Abstract
The collection holds correspondence, administrative and operational records, subject files, and other materials from directors, curators, and other senior staff at the New York Aquarium. After a long closure, the New York Zoological Society [NYZS] reopened the New York Aquarium [NYA] in its new location on Coney Island in 1957, with Director Christopher W. Coates at the helm. Coates’s 1964 retirement, however, heralded the start of over a decade of high turnover for the Aquarium's directors and curators. This ever-changing leadership nevertheless shepherded the Aquarium through a transitional period characterized by New York City’s changing demographics and increasing financial difficulties; from 1964 to 1979 the Aquarium added and expanded exhibits for sharks and marine mammals and continued its education, research, and collection efforts. The materials in the collection come from the files of NYA Directors Christopher W. Coates, Paul L. Montreuil, Ross F. Nigrelli, James A. Oliver, and George D. Ruggieri, as well as from several other Aquarium senior staff members, including Jewell Bungay, William S. Flynn, H. Doug Kemper, Pedro Ponciano, and Stephen Spotte. The records document the day-to-day operations of the Aquarium, in particular its animal exhibits and its finances, as well as its collecting expeditions and the construction and renovation of exhibits.

Return to Table of Contents »


Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York Aquarium.
  • New York Zoological Society.

Personal Name(s)

  • Bungay, Jewell
  • Coates, Christopher W., (Christopher William)
  • Flynn, William S.
  • Kemper, H. Doug, Jr., (Howard Doug)
  • Montreuil, Paul L.
  • Nigrelli, Ross F., (Ross Franco), 1902-1989
  • Oliver, James A., (James Arthur), 1914-1981
  • Ponciano, Pedro
  • Ruggieri, George D.
  • Spotte, Stephen

Subject(s)

  • Aquarists
  • Aquarium animals
  • Aquatic animals
  • Public aquariums
  • Public aquariums -- Design and construction

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

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.

Acquisition Information

Internal transfer, 1980 (Acc. 1980.148).

Internal transfer, 1982 (Acc. 1982.005).

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 New York Aquarium records, 1939-1956.   

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

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

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

Preferred Citation

Preferred Citation: [Item], [Date]. New York Aquarium senior staff records, 1955-1979 (bulk 1964-1979). Collection 3054. Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, New York.

Items Separated

Four files of personnel records have been set aside for H.R. review.

Return to Table of Contents »


Historical Note

After a long closure, the New York Zoological Society [NYZS] reopened the New York Aquarium [NYA] in its new location on Coney Island in 1957, with Director Christopher W. Coates at the helm. The NYA’s modernized exhibits opened to much fanfare and were hugely successful. Coates’s 1964 retirement, however, heralded the start of over a decade of high turnover in the NYA’s Director’s Office, with even more intense turmoil in the Curator’s position. From the beginning of 1964 through the end of 1979 the Aquarium was host to five Directors, four Assistant or Associate Directors, and eleven Curators, Associate Curators, and Assistant Curators. This ever-changing leadership nevertheless shepherded the Aquarium through a transitional period characterized by New York City’s changing demographics and increasing financial difficulties. The Aquarium expanded its facilities with the addition of new or expanded exhibits for sharks and marine mammals, especially cetaceans; meanwhile the Aquarium’s education, research, and collection efforts all continued and expanded. The high turnover of NYA Directors ended in 1976, when George D. Ruggieri, SJ, assumed the position. Ruggieri was a marine biologist and Jesuit priest who had risen steadily through the ranks of leadership at the Aquarium. His tenure as Director, which ended with his passing in December of 1987, marked a new period of stability and sustained growth for the institution.

[For a more thorough history of the New York Aquarium (1902-2014), including a complete list of NYA Directors, see the finding aid for Collection 3001: New York Aquarium records, circa 1900-1998 (bulk 1960-1990).]

Chronology of NYA Directors and Curators, 1955-1979
1955 Director: None.
Curator: Christopher W. Coates
1956 Director: Christopher W. Coates
Curator: None
1957-1960 Director: Christopher W. Coates.
Curator: James W. Atz (Associate Curator)
1961-1962 Director: Christopher W. Coates
Curator: James W. Atz. (Carleton Ray, Associate Curator)
1963 Director: Christopher W. Coates
Curator: Paul L. Montreuil. (Carleton Ray, Associate Curator)
1964 Directors: Christopher W. Coates, then Paul L. Montreuil
Curator: Carleton Ray
1965 Director: Paul L. Montreuil
Curator: Carleton Ray. (Joseph R. Geraci, Associate Curator)
1966 Directors: Paul L. Montreuil, then Ross F. Nigrelli
Curator: Robert A. Morris (Associate Curator)
1967 Director: Ross F. Nigrelli
Curator: Robert A. Morris
1968-1969 Director: Ross F. Nigrelli
Curator: Robert A. Morris. (Uwe Erich Friese, Assistant Curator)
1970 Directors: Ross F. Nigrelli, then James A. Oliver
Curator: John Clark
1971 Director: James A. Oliver
Curator: H. Doug Kemper (Assistant Curator, stayed on until mid 1972)
1972 Director: James A. Oliver
Curator: Stephen H. Spotte (started late 1971)
1973 Director: James A. Oliver. (George D. Ruggieri, Associate Director)
Curator: William S. Flynn
1974-1975 Director: James A. Oliver. (George D. Ruggieri, Associate Director; William S. Flynn, Assistant Director)
Curator: None
1976-1977 Director: George D. Ruggieri. (William S. Flynn, Assistant Director, stayed until November 1978)
Curators: Klaus Kallman (Fishes), Kenneth Gold (Protists), and Martin F. Stempien (Invertebrates)
1978-1979 Director: George D. Ruggieri. (Uwe Erich Friese, Deputy Director)
Curators: Klaus Kallman (Fishes), Kenneth Gold (Protists), and Paul L. Cheung (Assistant Curator, Invertebrates)

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Content

The collection includes records from several upper-level employees of the New York Aquarium [NYA]. In many cases the files appear to be of mixed provenance, but as a whole the collection is organized roughly chronologically, in five small series that each pertain to one or two staff offices. The first series, which is the most mixed, includes records from NYA Business Manager Jewell Bungay and the three NYA Directors (Christopher W. Coates, Paul L. Montreuil, and Ross F. Nigrelli) for whom she worked. The files largely pertain to the Aquarium’s financial and administrative operations. The second series, consisting of records from NYA Curator Stephen Spotte and Assistant Curator H. Doug Kemper, document the Aquarium’s exhibits, animals, and animal personnel. The third series is composed of files kept by NYA Director James A. Oliver, and—in addition to documenting the Aquarium’s exhibits, personnel, and operations—also include materials pertaining to Coney Island residents and amusements. The next series contains records that had originally come from the files of George D. Ruggieri, S.J., who held director-level positions and both NYA and the Aquarium’s Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences. The files primarily date from the time of William S. Flynn’s tenure as NYA Assistant Director, and concern the Aquarium’s 1978 Palau expedition and its Whale and Dolphin Stadium. Finally, the last series consists of files from William Flynn and Collection Manager Pedro Ponciano, and focuses on the Aquarium’s operations and collecting efforts.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series:

Series 1
 NYA Business Manager’s and Director’s Offices [Jewell Bungay, Christopher W. Coates, Paul L. Montreuil, and Ross F. Nigrelli], 1955-1969 (bulk 1964-1969)
Series 2
 NYA Curator’s Office [Stephen Spotte and Howard Doug Kemper, Jr.], 1955-1973 (bulk 1971-1973)
Series 3
 NYA Director’s Office [James A. Oliver], 1970-1976
Series 4
 OLMS Director’s Office files borrowed and amended by NYA Assistant Directors [George D. Ruggieri, William S. Flynn, and Uwe Erich Friese], 1974-1979
Series 5
 NYA Assistant Director’s Office [William S. Flynn and Pedro (Pete) Ponciano], 1966-1979 (bulk 1974-1978)

Return to Table of Contents »


Other Finding Aids

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

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Series 1: NYA Business Manager's and Director's Offices [Jewell Bungay, Christopher W. Coates, Paul L. Montreuil, and Ross F. Nigrelli], 1955-1969  (Bulk, 1964-1969)

Scope and Content

This group of files includes records from NYA Business Manager Jewell Bungay and from the three Directors who oversaw the Aquarium during her tenure. While some of the files contain documents predominantly from either Bungay or from one or more of the Directors, others are mixed. (Notably, Paul L. Montreuil’s short Directorship appears to have resulted in his records only being present in mixed or shared files.) The files document some of the Aquarium’s administrative operations and include thank you letters from the public, NYA budget, insurance, and policy documents, accident reports, and correspondence with New York Zoological Society President Fairfield Osborn.

Accidents, 1957-1969 


Carton Folder
Text 1 1

Aquarium Planning Committee, 1965-1966 


Carton Folder
Text 1 2

Bungay, Jewell -- Correspondence, 1966-1967 


Carton Folder
Text 1 3

Capital budget, 1961-1966 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 4

Insurance, 1955-1963 


Carton Folder
Text 1 5

Insurance, 1964-1968 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 6

International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens [IUDZG], 1963-1964 


Box Folder
Text 2 1

Osborn, Fairfield, 1963 


Carton Folder
Text 1 7

Osborn, Fairfield, 1964 


Carton Folder
Text 1 8

Osborn, Fairfield, 1965-1967 


Carton Folder
Text 1 9

Osborn, Fairfield -- "The Ideal Aquarium", 1965 


Carton Folder
Text 1 10

Policies, 1956-1966 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 11

Thank you letters, 1958-1960, 1965 


Carton Folder
Text 1 12

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 2: NYA Curator's Office [Stephen Spotte and Howard Doug Kemper, Jr.], 1955-1973  (Bulk, 1971-1973)

Scope and Content

The series is comprised of records from Curator Stephen Spotte; additionally most files also contain documents from Spotte’s predecessor, Assistant Curator H. Doug Kemper, Jr. The materials pertain to the everyday operation of the Aquarium’s animal exhibits, various exhibit construction and renovation projects, and the NYA’s involvement in handling whales that had beached themselves on the shores of New York City and Long Island.

Correspondence, 1971-1973 


Carton Folder
Text 1 13

Education, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 14

Job descriptions, 1955-1970 


Carton Folder
Text 1 15

Laboratory [OLMS], 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 16

Main exhibit hall renovation, 1972 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 17

Member's Day, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 18

Monthly reports, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 19

Mortality reports, 1972-1973 


Carton Folder
Text 1 20

The Open Sea, 1972-1973 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 21

Personnel policies, 1965-1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 22

Projects, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 23

Proposed exhibits -- Type A, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 24

Proposed exhibits -- Type B, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 25

Pygmy sperm whale, 1972-1973 


Carton Folder
Text 1 26

Pygmy sperm whale -- Kogia breviceps, 1972 


Box Folder
Text 2 2

Record keeping -- Blank animal records forms, 


Carton Folder
Text 1 27

Staff Duty Officers reports, 1972-1973 


Carton Folder
Text 1 28

SOP [Standard operating procedure] manual, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 29

Trustees, 1972 


Carton Folder
Text 1 30

Whale-Dolphin show, 1972-1973 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 32

Work schedules for tankmen, circa 1973 


Box Folder
Text 2 3

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 3: NYA Director's Office [James A. Oliver], 1970-1976 

Scope and Content

Director James A. Oliver’s records provide an overview of the Aquarium’s operations during his tenure. Materials document the NYA’s animals and exhbits, experiences with storms, floods, and other construction and maintenance issues, employees and volunteers, and the Coney Island community.

Aquarium Planning Committee, 1972-1976 


Carton Folder
Text 1 33

Aquarium staff meeting minutes, 1971-1974 


Carton Folder
Text 1 34

Community affairs, 1970-1976 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 35

Correspondence, 1974-1976 


Carton Folder
Text 1 36

Cultural Institutions Group -- Billing service, 1975-1976 


Carton Folder
Text 1 37

Tursiops truncatus, 1972 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 31

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 4: OLMS Director's Office files borrowed and amended by NYA Assistant Directors [George D. Ruggieri, William S. Flynn, and Uwe Erich Friese], 1974-1979 

Scope and Content

This small series includes records that had originally come from the files of George D. Ruggieri, S.J., who was the Associate Director—and later Director—of the New York Aquarium, and also the Director of the Aquarium’s Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences. The files, concerning the Aquarium’s 1978 Palau expedition and its Whale and Dolphin Stadium, primarily date from the time of William S. Flynn’s tenure as NYA Assistant Director. They include expedition documents, exhibit sketches and schematics, and correspondence between Flynn, Ruggieri, NYZS Trustee Nixon Griffis (who accompanied Flynn on the Palau expedition), and others. According to documentation in Ruggieri’s collection of NYA and OLMS records (Collection 3008. George D. Ruggieri records, circa 1906-1988 (bulk 1973-1987)), Flynn’s successor in the Assistant Director position, Uwe Erich Friese, borrowed these files from Ruggieri in 1979.

Palau Expedition, 1977-1978 


Carton Folder
Text 1 38

Whale-Dolphin Stadium, 1974, 1979 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 39

Whale-Dolphin Stadium -- Seawater, 1974 


Carton Folder
Text 1 40

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 5: NYA Assistant Director's Office [William S. Flynn and Pedro [Pete] Ponciano], 1966-1979  (Bulk, 1974-1978)

Scope and Content

The Assistant Director files primarily consist of records from William S. Flynn; some files contain documents from long-time keeper, collection manager, and superintendant Pedro [Pete] Ponciano. Notable topics in Flynn’s correspondence include efforts by Flynn and others to document cave-dwelling fish of the genus Lucifuga in the Caribbean, the Aquarium’s 1978 Palau expedition and other animal collecting efforts, and beached dolphins and whales. Other materials pertain to the Aquarium’s exhibits, finances, and experiments with summer evening hours.

Aquarium Planning Committee, 1976-1978 


Carton Folder
Text 1 41

Budget, 1975-1976 


Box Folder
Text 2 4

Budget -- NYZS, 1976 


Carton Folder
Text 1 42

Correspondence, 1976 June-October 


Carton Folder
Text 1 43

Correspondence, 1977 


Carton Folder
Text 1 44

Correspondence, 1978 January-November 


Carton Folder
Text 1 45

Correspondence, 1978 November-1979 


Carton Folder
Text 1 46

Correspondence, 1976-1978 


Carton Folder
Text 1 47

Manuscript editing, 1973-1978 


Carton Folder
Text 1 48

Night-time operations, 1966-1975 


Box Folder
Text 2 5

Oliver, James A., 1973-1976 


Carton Folder
Text 1 49

SOP [Standard operating procedure] manual, 1970s: circa 1972 and 1979 


Carton Folder
Mixed materials 1 50

Travel, 1973-1978 


Carton Folder
Text 1 51

Whale Dolphin Arena, 1974-1975 


Box Folder
Mixed materials 2 6

Return to Table of Contents »


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


Description

Loading  Loading...

Tip