If Ditmars (who had a boulevard named after him in Astoria, Queens)
recorded for a Talking Book of his, check with the National Library
Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, administrators of
Talking Books. The Director is Frank Curt Cylke. Get their address
from nls.gov. Somewhere is an archive of all the Talking Book
production.The American Foundation for the Blind was at 15 W 16th
Street from the time I began to record Talking Books in the early
eighties until the moved to 32nd and Seventh Avenue in the nineties.
They ceased producing Talking Books in 2009.
On 1/23/12, Dan Eatherley (Yahoo) <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear all
> I am a UK-based writer, conducting some research for a possible book idea
> about Raymond L. Ditmars, the first curator of reptiles at the Bronx Zoo in
> New York City. He lived from 1876 to 1942, wrote a number of popular books
> about his experiences with animals and pioneered educational animal movies
> as well as making sound recordings. His number one passion was snakes. I
> understand that during the 1920s and 30s appeared several times on radio
> I would love to hear some examples of these broadcasts, but realise that it
> is extremely unlikely that recordings from these broadcasts survive (or were
> even made at the time). I have already checked at the Library of Congress
> and also the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo). However, I was
> advised to place a query on this discussion forum just in case.
> I can offer the following details according to listings in historic
> . During the 1920s and 1930s, Ditmars broadcast on the radio a rattlesnake
> rattling which prompted 400 fans to write in.
> . June 16, 1925 WJY, New York: Ditmars spoke on 'Poisonous Serpents' on the
> radio station.
> . July 28, 1925 WJY, New York: Ditmars spoke for fifteen minutes on 'Annual
> Myths' on the radio station.
> . January 1928 WABC: Ditmars and M. Georges Chappelle, 'reptilian authority
> of Paris' spoke at a dinner at the Brevoort Hotel. Two rattlesnakes (Peter
> and Albertina) were also brought along and their rattling - as well as the
> speeches -
> . February 1928 WRNY: Ditmars spoke 'in the "Home Science University" hour'.
> . July 1930, New York's WNYC: Ditmars spoke on 'Snakes In and Around New
> . October 1931 New York WMCA: Ditmars' success was the subject of an
> . January 1930 WJZ network: Ditmars was 'invited to speak, topic was 'A
> Tropical Adventure'. The broadcast was part of a series opened by Vice
> Charles Curtis designed to 'bring to millions of American children messages
> designed to stimulate patriotism and promote greater honor to the American
> . January 1933 WJZ: English advertising executive and later president of NBC
> radio Lewis H. Titterton interviewed Ditmars
> . May 1934 CBS, Ditmars was invited on to the CBS radio program with a
> rattlesnake and a puff adder as 'guest artists'.
> . December 1934 WJZ: Ditmars spoke about 'Reptiles' on WJZ's 'Explorer
> Program' .
> . February 1934 WMAL: Ditmars was a 'guest of the "American Fireside"
> . April 28, 1935 Columbia broadcasting network on '93 Columbia outlets
> throughout the country' including WABC: A radio programme dramatizing the
> 'four most interesting phone calls of the past year' featured a 'call to Dr.
> Raymond L. Ditmars of the Bronx Zoo that saved the life of a youngster who
> had been bitten by a snake.' The call had been made by 'physicians at a
> Brooklyn hospital' The show marked 'the fiftieth anniversary of the
> American Telephone and Telegraph Company'. Other famous phone calls included
> 'Papa Dionne's call to a Canadian newspaper, announcing the birth of the
> quintuplets' and 'J. Edgar Hoover's call to Melvin Purvis, which resulted
> in the shooting of "Baby Face" Nelson.'
> . May 1935 WOR, Ditmars was interviewed.
> . November 1936 WJZ: Ditmars appeared as the guest on the 'Echoes of New
> York Town' slot.
> . October 1936 and November 1936 WOR: Ditmars guested talking about
> 'Moments You Never Forget'.
> . June 1939: the New York Times reported that Ditmars was among a number of
> well-known speakers and authors including Mrs. Roosevelt, William Beebe as
> usual and clergyman Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick reading 'frontispieces' to
> their Talking Books. Recordings were by the American Foundation for the
> Blind headquartered in a 'three-story building on West Sixteenth Street' and
> funded by the Library of Congress 'from an annual appropriation for this
> Any clues as to whether any recordings survive would be great.
> Best wishes and thanks in advance for your help.
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023