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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9579

Rand, A. Stanley (Austin Stanley), 1932-2005, interviewee

A. Stanley Rand Interviews, 1986, 1989-1990

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at
Creator: Rand, A. Stanley (Austin Stanley), 1932-2005, interviewee
Title: A. Stanley Rand Interviews
Dates: 1986, 1989-1990
Quantity: 4 audiotapes (Reference copy).
Collection: Record Unit 9579
Language of Materials: English

These interviews of Rand by University of Maryland student Daryl Jones, Joel B. Hagen, Smithsonian postdoctoral fellow, and Pamela M. Henson, Smithsonian Institution Archives, cover his youth, education, career in Brazil and at STRI, his research on reptiles and amphibians, life for families stationed on Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in the 1960s and 1970s, his observations of changes at the BCI research station of STRI, and reminiscences of colleagues, including Martin Humphrey Moynihan, Neal G. Smith, and Dagmar Werner.

Historical Note

Austin Stanley Rand (1932-2005), was a herpetologist and Senior Biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). He was born on September 29, 1932, in Seneca Falls, New York. He received his B.A. in zoology from DePauw University in 1955, served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957, and received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1961. In 1961 he married Patricia Rand, and they had three children, Hugh, Margaret and Katherine.

Rand began his scientific career in 1950, when he worked three summers as an Assistant in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. In 1957, he worked as an Assistant in the Division of Mammals at the Field Museum. Upon completing his Ph.D., Rand served as a Research Assistant in Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University from 1961-1962, and as a Zoologist for the Secretary of Agriculture in Sa Paulo, Brazil from 1962-1964. Rand first arrived at STRI in 1964 as a herpetologist. From 1973-1979, Rand also served as Coordinator of the Tropical Program of the Smithsonian's Environmental Sciences Program, coordinating research projects on marine and terrestrial monitoring. In 1974, Rand was appointed STRI's Assistant Director, with special responsibilities for the operation of the Barro Colorado Island field station, as well as budget and planning for STRI. In 1979, he was appointed Senior Biologist, a position which he held until his death. In 1988, he also became responsible for coordinating scientific activities at STRI's facilities in Gamboa, Panama. At STRI, Rand supervised graduate student and postdoctoral research, and consulted for the Panamanian government as requested.

Rand's research interests were primarily in studies of the behavior and ecology of tropical reptiles and amphibians, particularly social behavior and vocal communication in lizards (Iguana iguana and Anolis limifrons) and Tungara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus). His major field work included a month or more in Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Santo Domingo, and Venezuela, as well as shorter visits elsewhere. He was a prolific producer of articles, both alone and as co-author, and both organized and participated in various symposia.

Rand was a member of various professional societies, including the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Association for Tropical Biology, Herpetologist's League, and Animal Behavior Society.

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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.

Austin Stanley Rand was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his distinguished scientific career, and long tenure at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute as both researcher and administrator. Additional interviews of Rand can be found in Record Unit 9580, Barro Colorado Island Group Oral History Interview, and Record Unit 9553, Conservation of Endangered Species Videohistory Interviews. Additional information about Rand can be found in the Records of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the A. Stanley Rand Papers which are also housed in Smithsonian Institution Archives.

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Descriptive Entry

The Austin Stanley Rand Interviews were conducted during three sessions from December 1986 through June 1990. The first interview was in December 1986 by Daryl Jones, a student at the University of Maryland; the second, in April 1989 by Smithsonian Institution Archives historian, Pamela M. Henson, and Joel B. Hagen, a Smithsonian postdoctoral fellow; and the third, in June 1990 by Pamela Henson. They consist of 3.5 hours of audiotape and audio cassette which has been remastered into 7 digital audio .wav and .mp3 files, with 81 pages of transcript, and occupy 0.13 linear meters of shelf space.

The Austin Stanley Rand Interviews discuss his background, education and early interest in zoology; career at STRI; recollections of colleagues and life on Barro Colorado Island (BCI); discussions of his and his colleagues' major research interests; STRI's regional role; and changes at STRI over the years. Box 1 contains transcripts of the interviews and cassette and digital copies of the original reel-to-reel recordings, which are in security storage.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9579, A. Stanley Rand Interviews

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Container List

Box 1

Transcript of Interviews

Interview 1: 18 December 1986

Box 1 of 1
Covers his arrival at STRI, STRI's scientific research programs, especially his own, and STRI's regional activities, c. 1964-1975, including:
education and training;
reasons for working at STRI;
STRI role in sea-level canal proposal discussions;
STRI activity in conservation, public education, and advisory role to Panamanian government;
STRI's support for and training of students;
STRI's place in regional politics;
establishment of Soberania National Park;
iguana research and management for human use;
paca research and breeding management;
Alternatives to Destruction Project with grant from W. Alton Jones Foundation;
concerns for deforestation in Latin America;
staff increases at STRI;
studies of frog vocalization in Physalaemus pustulosus);
increased role of graduate students at STRI;
early interest in reptiles and amphibians;
STRI acquisition of marine launch ship;
STRI studies of oil spill impact on reefs;
STRI meteorological studies;
STRI studies of Lesser Antilles lizards;
working style of STRI staff and students.
Transcript, pp. 1 - 21, of audiotape recording, 1.0 hour.

Interview 2: 21 April 1989

Box 1 of 1
Covers his early research interests, early career, reminiscences of STRI, and studies of frogs and iguanas, c. 1932-1989, including:
biographical background;
early interest and education in biology;
discussion of colleagues' interests and work, especially Ernest E. Williams at the Museum of Comparative Zoology;
influence of Robert H. MacArthur;
focus on research in the tropics;
interest in behavioral work and systematics;
MCZ behavioral and evolutionary discussions;
year as postdoctoral student in Jamaica;
work as a zoologist in Sa Paulo, Brazil;
introduction to STRI;
descriptions and impressions of BCI;
group interaction of Martin H. Moynihan, Ira and Roberta W. Rubinoff, Michael H. Robinson, and Nicholas D. and Janis Smythe at STRI;
increasing role of graduate students at STRI;
teaching stint at University of Pennsylvania;
study of frog calling and communication in Physalaemus pustolosus;
funding concerns;
study of nesting behavior of iguanas;
variety of interests and funding needs.
Transcript, pp. 22-46, of audiotape recording, 1.0 hour.

Interview 3: 5 June 1990

Box 1 of 1
Continues discussion of his years at STRI and research activities, c. 1964-1990, including:
BCI administration and personnel;
recruitment of researchers and students;
communication and transportation between BCI and the mainland;
sources of funding;
comparison of STRI and Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS) approaches;
Rand's administrative role at STRI;
staff increases at STRI;
recollections of colleagues and personnel;
expansion of STRI territory;
treaty negotiations;
Environmental Sciences and Monitoring Programs (ESP and EMP);
automating STRI and organizing data at STRI;
collaboration with Gordon M. Burghardt on Iguanas of the World and iguana workshops;
collaboration and co-authoring at STRI;
long-term studies with Robin M. Andrews;
Tungara frog research;
funding research and the SI Scholarly Studies Program;
other colleagues and research interests;
STRI library move from BCI to Ancon;
changes at STRI over the years.
Transcript, pp. 47-81, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Audio Recordings of Interviews

Interview 1: 18 December 1986

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1:06:00 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Remasters: 2 digital audio .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotape and 2 digital audio .mp3 files

Interview 2: 21 April 1989

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1:00:00 hour
Original Masters: 1 cassette audiotape
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes and 2 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotape and 2 digital audio .mp3 files

Interview 3: 5 June 1990

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1:13:00 hours
Original Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Remasters: 3 digital audio .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes and 3 digital audio .mp3 files