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About us

The Bartlett Society

The Bartlett Society was founded by C. H. Keeling on 27th October 1984 and is devoted to studying yesterday's methods of keeping wild animals.

The Bartlett Society is named in honour of Abraham Dee Bartlett the great nineteenth-century superintendent of the Zoological Society of London's gardens at Regent's Park - a post which he held from 1859 until his death in 1897 at the age of eighty-four. He had great wizardry with animals, and was always to be seen around the Gardens in his "working uniform" of top hat and frock coat - even when performing such a task as sawing off a deformed horn which was causing distress to a Rhinoceros.


We have joined together in order to collect, study, preserve and record as much as possible of the history of wild-animal keeping in zoological gardens, private collections and elsewhere and feel that there is no time to lose in the preservation of early press-cuttings, films, lantern slides, photographs, postcards, guidebooks, and other such ephemera before these items are lost for ever.

Most of us are interested in the historical aspects of the whole subject and the fascinating lessons which can be learned from the methods, successes and failures of times past whilst some of our members specialise in a particular area of the subject. Examples are the record of one species in captivity, the history of one particular zoological garden or the travelling menageries.

Contact Centre

The Bartlett Society acts as a contact centre for people sharing a similar interest. Many members have impressive collections of zoological ephemera of different kinds, and within the society there is a great deal of expertise in various aspects of the subject.