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Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Endowed Collection Special Collections Materials

Identifier: MSS.003

Scope and Contents

These materials are divided into series based on source. Shoshani traveled the world, researching the biology and treatment of elephants in a variety of contexts.

Series 1 – Circus Memorabilia, 1968-2001 Series 1 contains memorabilia and promotion materials relating to circuses. The bulk of this series is made up of souvenir programs from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, published between 1968 and 2001. This series is described at the item level. The souvenir programs from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus are placed first in chronological order. Miscellaneous materials are stored after these.

Series 2 – Zoo Guides and Memorabilia, 1968-2001 Series 2 contains publicity materials relating to zoos. This includes zoo guides, maps, and brochures. Some of these items were annotated by Shoshani. The notes generally related to the elephants housed at the zoos. Most of these materials were collected by Shoshani as he travelled in the 1980s and 1990s, but there are a few earlier zoo guides he was either given or purchased. This series is described at the folder level. These materials are organized by region, beginning with local zoos, then other American zoos, and finally international zoos. The bulk of the materials are from American zoos, but there are some materials from Canada, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Many of the items in this series are undated.

Series 3 – Museum Guides and Memorabilia, 1930-1996 Series 3 contains promotional materials from museums. Most of these materials relate to the Field Museum in Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History in in New York, and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Some of these items contain annotations, chiefly about elephant skeletons. Of particular note in this series is historical promotional material relating to the American Museum of Natural History, dating back to 1930. This collection is described at the folder level. The series begins with local museums, followed by several museums for which there is a variety of material. Then there is material from miscellaneous American museums, and finally materials from international museums. Many of the items in this series are undated.

Series 4 – CITES Printed Materials, Notes, and Conference Proceedings, 1992-2004 Series 4 contains information from Shoshani’s involvement with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. CITES is an agreement between governments that works to ensure that trade in plants, animals, and derivative products does not threaten the survival of the species. Shoshani, with the Elephant Research Foundation, participated in the conferences in 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, and 2004. This series contains conference proceedings, printed materials, and Shoshani's notes from the conferences. Shoshani’s focus in this organization was on the ivory trade and the endangered species status of elephants. Much of the material he gathered related to these topics. This series also contains material produced on behalf of the Elephant Research Foundation. This series is divided into seven sub-series. The first five sub-series contain Shoshani's notes and the material he gathered for the conferences in 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, and 2004. Shoshani’s personal materials, including notes and personal papers, are filed before the printed materials. The sixth sub-series contains some or all of the conference proceedings from the 1994, 1997, and 2004 conferences. Finally, the seventh subseries contains the CITES bags Shoshani recieved at the 1992, 1994, 1997, and 2004 conferences.


  • Majority of material found within Bulk, 1965-2004
  • 1930-2004


Collection is open for research

Restrictions on Use

Patrons should be aware that some items may still be under copyright from the creator. Permission will have to be obtained for some uses.

History of Person/Collection

The Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Endowed Collection (formerly known as the Elephant Research Foundation Library, or ERFL) is a diverse collection of about elephants and their relatives both past and present. It contains a variety of materials, including print works, handwritten notes, and realia. This finding aid describes some of the more “non-traditional” materials in the collection that Shoshani created and gathered during his career. Shoshani became interested in elephants after reading "Burma Boy" by Willis Lindquist. His primary research was the evolutionary biology of elephants, their anatomy and physiology and how to apply this knowledge to our understanding of elephant behavior and ecology. He taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan USA, for approximately 25 years. In 1977 he established the Elephant Research Foundation (an international nonprofit organization) and was the editor of its publication, Elephant. Hezy published about 200 scientific and some popular articles and was the editor of two books on elephants and their relatives: a popular book, "Elephants: Majestic Creatures of the Wild" (2000, Checkmark Books, New York) and a technical volume (with Pascal Tassy), "The Proboscidea: Evolution and Palaeoecology of Elephants and Their Relatives" (1996, Oxford University Press, England). In 2007, he relocated to Ethiopia, continuing to teach biology at Addis Abab University and to study the same population of elephants (since they cross the border from Eritrea seasonally). Hezy was the prime mover in creating the Elephant Research Foundation Library and in the decision in 2002 to move that collection to the Wayne State University Libraries. Sadly, Hezy died on May 21, 2008, as a result of terrorist bombing of a public minibus in Addis Ababa. His work in Ethiopia on the northern elephants is being carried on by his colleagues, and the Elephant Research Foundation continues to manage the move of the collection to WSULS. The board of Directors of the ERF decided to rename the library as a tribute to the lifelong efforts of Hezy Shoshani.


4.0 Linear Feet




This collection is arranged in four series stored in eight boxes.

Series 1 - Box 1 Series 2 - Box 2-3 Series 3 - Box 3 Series 4 Sub-Series 1 - Box 4 Sub-Series 2 - Box 5 Sub-Series 3 - Box 6 Sub-Series 4 - Box 6 Sub-Series 5 - Box 6 Sub-Series 6 - Box 7-8 Sub-Series 7 - Box 8
Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Endowed Collection Special Collections Materials MSS.003
Finding aid prepared by Amelia Mowry
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Repository Details

Part of the Wayne State University Library System Special Collections Repository


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