The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Reed was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his distinguished veterinary and management career, contributions as a Smithsonian administrator, and long
tenure as director of the National Zoological Park. Additional information about Reed can be found in the Records of the National Zoological Park which are also housed in
These interviews of Reed by Pamela M. Henson discuss his youth; education; veterinary practice; experiences at the Portland Zoo; and career at the NZP, including his
tenure as Veterinarian and achievements as Director, especially renovation and modernization of facilities, development of the Cap-Chur Gun, acquisition of such animals as
the Giant Pandas, Komodo dragon, and white tigers, development of research and educational programs, creation of an endangered species program and the CRC, participation in
the Species Survival Program, his role in the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums and the International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens; and reminiscences
of such colleagues as William Mann, John Perry, and Leonard Carmichael. An additional interview of Reed by Pamela M. Henson, Historian, Smithsonian Institution Archives, and
Caroline Winslow, Graphics Department, National Zoological Department was conducted in 1992. Reed was interviewed about the 1958 Safety Brochure that was created by the Zoo
in response to the death a little girl by a lion at NZP. The collection consists of 13 interviews totaling 31.5 hours of audio recordings and 790 pages of transcript.
Theodore H. Reed (1922- ), veterinarian and zoo administrator, received the D.V.M. in 1945 from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State College. From 1946 to
1955, he practiced as a veterinarian in Oregon and Idaho. He gained experience with exotic animals while serving as a veterinarian to the Portland Zoological Park from 1951
to 1955. In 1955, Reed was appointed Veterinarian at the National Zoological Park (NZP). In 1956, he was named Acting Director after the retirement of William M. Mann, and
in 1958, he advanced to Director. During his tenure, Reed oversaw a capital renovation of the NZP; development of the Conservation and Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal,
Virginia, in 1974; a transition from display of exotic specimens to breeding of endangered species; and many advances in exotic animal care and medicine. Reed retired from
administration in 1983 and from the NZP in 1984.
Continues discussion of his early years at the NZP, including: His role as acting director of NZP; role as liaison with community and founding of Friends of the National Zoo; lion tragedy; Reed's appointment as director; plans for improvement, especial...