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San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Archives

Since the Zoological Society of San Diego’s founding in 1916, zoo leaders and staff have preserved a wide variety of materials documenting the society’s history. From bookkeeping ledgers and newspaper clipping scrapbooks to zookeeper diaries and correspondence by former directors, the archives comprise a specialized collection of primary source documents that provide a unique perspective by shedding light on over one hundred years of zoo development.

General Archives Information



The archives are open for access to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance employees. Research access may be conditionally granted to outside researchers and will be assessed on an individual basis. Contact for more information.

Digitized versions of selected items may be viewed online in our Digital Archives: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library & Archives — Internet Archive.

Archives & Rare Book Room


Do you have a piece of zoo history — either decades old or from recent years — that could support our institutional memory? Consider donating it to the SDZWA Archives! We are always interested in strengthening our collection through staff and public donations. Materials of interest include (but are not limited to):

– SDZWA staff personal papers & correspondence
– Administrative records
– Reports & planning documents
– Field & research notes
– Photographs & other visual media

– Audio and video recordings
– Souvenirs & other artifacts
– Digital media
– Ephemera

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Rare Book Room

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library’s Rare Book Room includes a rich, specialized collection of 19th and 20th century publications related to various subtopics of zoology, botany, ecology, natural history, and the history of zoological gardens. Many volumes came to be in the collection through donation by zoo directors, curators, scientists, and other supporters interested in developing the zoo’s research sources. As a whole, the collection attests to the development of biological disciplines and their application over time in the zoo environment.

Archives & Rare Book Room


Rare Book Room materials are restricted to the Library, where they may be viewed by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance employees. Access requests from outside researchers will be assessed on an individual basis.


Most items in the SDZWA Library’s Rare Book Collection are listed in our online catalog (use the All Words search option and add the phrase “Rare Book Room” to your search terms). For more guidance, see our Library “How To” Guide.

Archives & Rare Book Room