American Zoos During the Depression

A New Deal for Animals


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About the Book

American zoos flourished during the Great Depression, thanks to federal programs that enabled local governments to build new zoological parks, complete finished ones, and remodel outdated facilities. This historical text examines community leaders’ successful advocacy for zoo construction in the context of poverty and widespread suffering, arguing that they provided employment, stimulated tourism, and democratized leisure. Of particular interest is the rise of the zoo professional, which paved the way for science and conservation agendas. The text explores the New Deal’s profound impact on zoos and animal welfare and the legacy of its programs in zoos today.

About the Author(s)

Jesse C. Donahue is a professor of political science at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.
Erik K. Trump is a professor in the political science department at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. This is their third book together on the politics and history of zoos in the United States.

Bibliographic Details

Jesse C. Donahue and Erik K. Trump
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4963-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6186-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. Building the New Deal Zoo      7

2. Who Ran the Zoo?      36

3. Why Zoos?      68

4. Why Snakes? The Spectacle and Science of Snakes      105

5. A New Deal for Animal Welfare      138

6. The Decline, Resurrection, and Legacy of New Deal Zoos      175

Chapter Notes      195

Bibliography      221

Index      225