Pic of the Week (#130) - "Group of Educated Orang Utans", the Bronx Zoo, and the Parks Family (Postcard, 1905)

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

Here is a quirky postcard from 1905. It shows a “Group of Educated Orang Utans” gathered around a table sharing a meal. The postcard also has the caption of “New York Zoological Park” (presently know as the Bronx Zoo) on the bottom.


Perhaps most interesting are some of the handwritten comments on the front. I can decipher most of them but they don’t make complete sense to me. Here is what I see:

”An Ideal Day. The Bronx Public Park.”

”New York - Mar 11/05”

The primates seemed to be labeled, from left to right, as: “Irvine”, “Parks”, “Mama”, and “Mabel”.

”12 Miles from Brooklyn for us(?)”

”Loved ones at Home. Just to remember you of your ancient ancestors and me, a descendant of this monkey in New York. Irvine”

Here is the address side of the postcard:


It was sent from Brooklyn, New York to Fort Wayne, Indiana in March of 1905. It was addressed to:

Mrs. E. W. Parks

Fort Wayne, Ind.

#522 Madison St.

Surely there is some humorously intended play on words between the “Parks” family and the Zoological “Park”?

I did find a Mabel Parks who lived at 522 Madison, Fort Wayne, IN. Here is the listing in the 1905 Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directory.

There are several other Parks listed on the same page, some at the same address.

I found several newspaper mentions of “E.W. Parks” and “522 Madison” in Fort Wayne. Here are just a few:

If you are interested in a good genealogy puzzle this family would make an excellent one. My brief search suggests there is much more information that could be obtained from these few clues.

I would love to find a living descendant of someone mentioned on this postcard!


  • Who were the Parks and what are their stories?

  • Was this postcard (and the comments on it) more humorous in 1905 than it appears to be (at least to me) today?

  • What was the New York Zoological Park like in 1905?

  • What to you think, feel, and wonder about as you view the postcard and consider the stories it contains?

Are there family stories you are hoping to find and tell? Let us help you!

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