National Zoological Park Records for Animals Donated by President Calvin Coolidge
National Zoological Park records for animals donated by President Calvin Coolidge
What do you do when someone gives you a hippo as a present? If you’re President Calvin Coolidge, you send him to the National Zoological Park. On June 10, 1927, the Zoo received its first pygmy hippo, Billy (or William Johnson Hippopotamus, if you want to be formal about it). Billy was gifted to Coolidge by rubber magnate Harvey Samuel Firestone in 1927. Coolidge had an extensive collection of unusual animals, many of which took up residence at the Zoo. Smoky the bobcat, a gift from the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association, came to the Zoo in 1926. In 1927, the Zoo received two lions from Coolidge through the Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa. The lions would go on to have four cubs, and even rip the pants off of one intruder into their enclosure. Record Unit 386 documents the manual record keeping system used by the Zoo until 1975. Most of the records are 5" x 7" index cards that document the lives of each “accession” to the zoo: common, scientific, and sometimes personal names of the animals; information about their transfer to the Zoo; number of offspring, and their names; and the date and cause of their deaths.
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Adoption Type: Build and Access the Collection