Richard D. Sparks papers, 1925-1962

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Richard D. Sparks papers, 1925-1962

MS 093

Collection Summary

Creator: Richard D. Sparks
Collection Name:Richard D. Sparks gorillas papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1925-1962
Physical Description:.4 linear feet
Abstract:Chiefly correspondence between Richard Sparks and a variety of people, mainly from the 1930s, about the proper treatment of gorillas. Of particular concern is the well-being of three gorillas named Ngagi, Mbongo, and Okere. Sparks advocated for their scientific study in a zoo, instead of their becoming a circus sideshow.
Collection Number:MS 093
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Richard D. Sparks was a treasurer of Sparks Milling Company, Alton, Illinois, and an animal rights advocate for gorillas.

Scope and Content Note

Chiefly correspondence between Richard Sparks and a variety of people, mainly from the 1930s, about the proper treatment of gorillas. Of particular concern is the well-being of Ngagi, Mbongo, and Okere, captured by author Martin Johnson in the Belgian Congo, in 1931. Sparks advocates for their scientific study in a zoo rather than becoming a circus sideshow. Chief correspondents are: Mary L. Jobe Akeley, naturalist associated with the American Museum of Natural History; Belle J. Benchley, manager of the Zoological Society of San Diego; and Harold C. Bingham, psychobiologist in the study of gorilla behavior. Other correspondence, magazine articles, and black-and-white photographs are concerned with Congo, a gorilla brought from the Belgian Congo in 1925 by author Ben Burbridge, and studied by Yale University researcher Robert M. Yerkes. Miscellaneous material relates to Carl Akeley's animal sculptures, Theodore Spicer-Simson's medallic art, and other gorillas in captivity.


This collection is organized into three series





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Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Akeley, Carl Ethan, 1864-1926.
Akeley, Mary L. Jobe (Mary Lenore Jobe), 1878-1966 -- Correspondence.
Benchley, Belle Jennings, 1882- -- Correspondence.
Bingham, Harold Clyde, b. 1888 -- Correspondence.
Burbridge, Benjamin, b. 1880.
Johnson, Martin, 1884-1937.
Spicer-Simson, Theodore.
Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956.

Corporate Name(s)
American Museum of Natural History.
Zoological Society of San Diego.

Congo (Gorilla)
Gorilla -- Photographs.
Mbongo (Gorilla)
Ngagi (Gorilla)
Wild animal collecting -- Congo (Democratic Republic)

Genre Form(s)
Wild animal parks

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Richard D. Sparks papers(MS 093). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1925-1962
11 Akeley, Carl , 1925-1927
12 Akeley, Mary L. Jobe , 1931-1939
13 Benchley, Belle J. , 1931-1950
14 Bingham, Harold C. , 1931-1932
15 Burbridge, Benjamin , 1931
16 Detwiler, Samuel R. , 1931
17 Johnson, Martin , 1931
18 MacCreagh, Gordon , 1942-1945
19 Merriam, John C. , 1931-1932
110 Spicer-Simson, Theodore , 1947-1962
111 Yerkes, Robert M. , 1931-1950
112 Various , 1931-1935
Series II: Photographs,
113 Photographs of Gorillas
Series III: Magazines and reprints, 1926-1950
114 Richard D. Sparks, "Congo - A Personality." (Article in Field & Stream) , January 1956
115 Articles, reprints, and clippings about gorillas , 1926-1950