Saturdays are lacking without a trip to the local ASPCA, until it ceases, through much pleading and cajoling by two small children when we acquire a new household companion. One afternoon in the dead of Winter (and absence of household head), Sky slips out of a big brown cardboard box onto our living room carpet, like tumbleweed propelled by a gust of wind across the Mojave. For weeks we fret over his mysterious disappearances -- slowly to discover the uncanny spots: plastic bags under the kitchen sink; top shelf of the linen closet; boy's once-tidy pajamas drawer; even inside the fridge above the vegetables -- all part of the Western front, and there is no going back. From the sky dive off the fourth floor terrace in pursuit of a sparrow, it is but the start of Western adventures, leaving eight lives to spare and a complementary home bookshelf of autographed Skippyjon Jones. Until this day, I am reminded that Siamese, blue point to boot, and being anything but silent, are a rarity for adoption... and I am still questioned some twelve years later, as to why we never his took in his equally adorable stepbrother, another eight-week old "owner surrender", black as night.
Did you know that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded by the educating philanthropist and high-ranking diplomat Henry Bergh on April 10, 1866 in New York City? Bergh was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to be secretary and acting vice-consul to the American legation in St. Petersburg, and it was during his term in Russia that he witnessed abuse of work horses. When Burgh returned to the United States in 1866 he urged the signing of the Declaration of the Rights of Animals, prompted the passage of anti-cruelty laws, created of the first ambulance for horses, lectured in schools and societies, and took many other important measures to protect the livelihood of horses, livestock, and other animals.
Bergh also served as one of the first vice presidents for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was established in 1875 as the first the first child protection agency in the world. Its founding was spurred by the experience of Mary Ellen McCormack (Wilson) who, as a young child, suffered deliberate cruelty and deprivation by her adopted parents.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- A.S.P.C.A. Asks Stamp To Honor Bergh, Founder: Report To Animal Meeting Shows Society Handled 287,825 Cases In Year. (1941, Jan 03). New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- First Aid For Horses. (1947, Aug 31). New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Weisinger, M. (1949, Jul 03). An Animal's Best Friend: The SPCA Is the Greatest Thing That's Happened To the Animal Kingdom Since Noah's Ark. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- An A.S.P.C.A. Portable Water Trough: A.S.P.C.A. Reverses Old Cliche and Leads the Water To the Horse. (1951, May 11). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Curtis, C. (1966, Jan 21). A.S.P.C.A. Celebrates Its Hundredth Year In a Victorian Setting: Gaming, Dancing and Dining Party Held At Sheraton-East. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Cruelty To Animals-- It Still Goes On. (1966, Apr 07). The Hartford Courant (1923-1994)
- A Horse and A Man Started the ASPCA. (1966, Jun 11). Afro-American (1893-1988)
- Devlin J. (1971, Dec 12). A Dogcatcher's Life Is Not a Merry Chase. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Fletcher, W.R. (1976, Sep 26). A.S.P.C.A. Is Moving to Restore Its Old Reputation. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Lesem, J. (1981, Apr 12). Extra Precautions Needed To Prevent Petnapping In Spring and Summer. The Hartford Courant (1923-1994)
- Caras, R. (1986, Aug 06). Pets and Wildlife. Newsday (1940-1991)
- Dorning,M. (1993, Apr 18). N.Y.'s Urban Jungle Is Losing Its Gamekeeper. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996)
- Check out early Annual Reports of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, via Columbia University Libraries / Internet Archive for further insight into the history of the organization.
- Or, ArchiveGrid, using "Henry Bergh" or "ASPCA" to find letters, correspondences and other historical material held at New York Historical Society, Library of Congress, and other libraries.
- Siamese Kittens, Courtesy of PxHere
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
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