January 1, 1914 - December 2, 1981
Assistant Curator and Director of AMNH
James A. Oliver, a herpetologist, was director of the American Museum of Natural History from 1959 to 1969. Oliver earned his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Michigan in 1942, collecting reptiles on two expeditions to Mexico in the process. He was appointed assistant curator in the AMNH Dept. of Herpetology, but left to serve in the Navy during World War II. During the war, he continued his herpetological collecting activities whenever possible, and in 1946 he returned to the AMNH. In 1951 Oliver accepted the position of curator of reptiles at the New York Zoological Park (the Bronx Zoo), becoming director seven years later. Oliver was named director of the AMNH in 1959, following Albert E. Parr. During his tenure, Oliver served on a New York State committee whose report ultimately led to legislation in 1963 providing for state aid to museums. In 1970 Oliver returned to the New York Zoological Society, as director of the New York Aquarium, where he remained until his retirement in 1976. (source: James Arthur Oliver papers, 1916-1972 (bulk 1959-1969). DR 125-125A)
Worked at the American Museum of Natural History.
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