-Contributed by Jason Gosnell
My name is Jason Gosnell and I am a student at Kent State University specializing in archives in the MLIS program. I am currently processing the Marian Breland Bailey and Bob Bailey papers, a collection dubbed the “I.Q. Zoo.” The collection, donated by Marian’s husband Robert Bailey, contains approximately 60 linear feet of material, much of which documents the history of Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE).
ABE, a company specializing in applying psychological principles to the training of animals, was formed by Keller and Marian Breland Bailey in 1947. Keller and Marian, both students of B. F. Skinner, applied their skills to a variety of different pursuits, including training animals for advertising purposes, for the Defense Department, as well as for various animal acts. The types of animals they trained were also quite diverse, including porpoises, birds, rabbits, dogs, raccoons, pigs, and many others.
Within the I.Q. Zoo collection are a variety of materials relevant to the Brelands’ company and to their research into training animals with psychological principles. For their company, Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc., they developed many different gadgets that could be used for a variety of animal performances or acts. The advertisement below illustrates some of the different “Performing Animal Displays” that they invented and patented.
A brochure for the I.Q. Zoo shows some of the diverse tasks that the Brelands trained animals to do, including training porpoises for a theme park and a cat for a television commercial.
Contained within the collection are a variety of materials, including photographs, negatives, original research by the Brelands, as well as a variety of other materials that document their research and their company, Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc. Below are examples from the collection, including a photograph that illustrates one of the rabbit’s acts and a flyer for Larro Feeds, which featured “Popgun Pete,” the cannon-shooting chicken.
Most of the material dates from the 1950s through the 1980s, when Animal Enterprises was in its prime. There are preservation issues that are inherent in this collection and others that date from this time period, such as acidic paper which deteriorates over time as well as mold and water damage. Processing and preserving this unique collection, however, will help to make sure it is available for years to come.
Thanks to all of Jason’s hard work, we’re happy to say that processing of the Marian Breland Bailey and Robert Bailey papers will soon be completed and this fabulous new resource will be available onsite for research!