Wonderful Women Wednesday: Judith A. Block

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Judith A. Block was the founding registrar at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo between 1977 until 2003. Following her retirement, she served as registrar emeritus. 

Block was responsible for record-keeping relating to all animals—from how they were cared for to their family history. Additionally, Block arranged any shipping for Zoo residents, managed permits and licenses, and stayed up-to-date on local, federal, and international laws surrounding animal management. 

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To learn more about the specifics of Block’s role and why it was so important to the Zoo, read her Q&A with the Torch, Smithsonian’s staff newsletter, from May 1978.

Related Resources

  • National Zoological Park, Office of the Registrar Program Records, 1970–1999, Accession 02-243, Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • National Zoological Park, Office of the Registrar, American Zoo and Aquarium Association Records, 1973–1999, Accession 02-240, Smithsonian Institution Archives 
  • National Zoological Park, Office of the Registrar, Professional Activity Files, 1967–1999, Accession 02-241, Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • “Keeping Zoo Records an Art” by Mike Causey, Washington Post, May 6, 1979
  • Braverman, Irus. “Zoo Registrars: A Bewildering Bureaucracy.” Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 21 (Fall 2010): 165–206. 

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