18.75 linear ft.
This collection consists of professional correspondence related to Mark Rosenthal's position as Curator of Mammals at the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo. The collection also includes publications produced by or for the Zoo. Rosenthal's correspondence concerns the operational, financial, and organizational activities of the Zoo in the form of memos, handwritten notes, and other notices. Some selected topics include exhibit information, personnel procedures, work schedules, and yearly reports, but this is not comprehensive. As Curator of Mammals, Rosenthal was also copied on various types of memos regarding animal behavior, annual reports, exhibits, personnel instructions and procedures, special programs, and significant zoo visitors. Rosenthal's external correspondence contains communication with members of the zoological community concerning topics such as the exchange or acquisition of animals and zoo keeping products as well as queries from the public. The collection includes correspondence and publications from 1969 to 2003.Correspondence arrived in reverse chronological order by folder and was divided into internal and external correspondence.Wherever possible, the order imposed by the creator and donor has been maintained. In some cases, individual records were relocated to align with the existing chronology.
In 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo was founded upon the gift of a pair of swans from New York's Central Park. Its first director was Cyrus DeVry (1888-1919) who oversaw the building of several animal houses and visitor refreshment buildings. The Zoo continued to expand under a series of directors, Alfred E. Park (1919-1930), Floyd S. Young (1931-1944) Marlin Perkins (1944-1962), and Lester E. Fisher (1962-1992), and current director Kevin J. Bell. Domestic animals were the focus of the Zoo's early history, however, major acquisitions included Bushman the gorilla in 1931 and Judy the elephant in 1943. In 1934, the Zoo officially became part of the Chicago Park District. In 1959, the Zoo opened the first year-round Children's Zoo in the country. During the same year, the Lincoln Park Zoological Society was organized by local citizens to support and to improve the Zoo. In 1961, the Board of Directors formed, and the Women's Board, responsible for fundraising activities, organized in 1973.Lester E. Fisher's term as director saw a large expansion in animal and visitor facilities and educational outreach including the Regenstein Large Mammal House in 1982. In the early 1990s, political and financial issues caused the Zoo to reorganize its management. Although still owned by the Chicago Park District, the Zoo managed itself independently, from 1995 onwards. The Zoo now comprises 35 acres of land in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and remains free to the public. While the Zoo originally served as a tourist attraction, its mission has developed to include conservation, scientific study, and education. The collection creator, Mark Rosenthal, served as assistant/associate curator from 1969-1975, and as Abra Prentice Wilkin Mammal Curator from 1975 to his retirement in 2003. As curator, Rosenthal was responsible for operational and education functions relating to the mammal collection. Also, he responded to inquiries from the public and other zoo workers and curators. He maintained correspondence with several international zoological societies, including those from London, Israel, and Brazil. He was an active member of the zoological community, and he produced several articles and lectures. Prior to retiring, Rosenthal published the book The Ark in the Park: The Story of Lincoln Park Zoo in 2003, and this provides a detailed and an illustrated history of the Zoo.
Mark Rosenthal Lincoln Park Zoo papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Finding aid available.