ASPCA teams up with NC State University libraries to digitize animal welfare archival material


The archive recounts the organization's 156-year history serving as a trailblazer in promoting animal welfare.

A dog in New York City reunited with his family, thanks to the ASPCA. From the 1946 ASPCA Annual Report. (Photo courtesy of the ASPCA).

A dog in New York City reunited with his family, thanks to the ASPCA. From the 1946 ASPCA Annual Report. (Photo courtesy of the ASPCA).

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the North Carolina State University (NC State) Libraries have fulfilled a 3-year, grant-funded project to digitize the ASPCA Historical Archive. This project is a curated portfolio of over 150,000 pages of archival material (ie, annual reports, journals, scrapbooks, photos, and publications) that offer a timeline of the work and impact of the ASPCA since its initiation on April 10, 1866.

"Since the ASPCA's inception 156 years ago, education has been one of the primary means of fulfilling our mission to prevent cruelty towards animals, and we are pleased to provide unprecedented access to our archives to shed light on the development of the modern animal protection and humane movements in the United States," said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO, in an organizational release.1

"The ASPCA Historical Archive highlights groundbreaking achievements to save and improve the lives of animals across the country and we hope it will be an invaluable resource for animal welfare rescuers, advocates, and scholars. We thank the NC State University Libraries for their partnership on this exciting project, which offers a comprehensive look at the history of progress and innovation in the fight against animal cruelty,” he added.

According to the release,1 the ASPCA currently strives to help animals in need with direct medical care, on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the development of the sheltering and veterinary community. These areas are connected directly to the ASPCA’s extensive history and mission displayed in the archive, which showcases the continual need of the organization’s evolution and strategies to help animals in need during the challenges of each documented time period.

"Thanks to the support and collaboration from the ASPCA, the Special Collections team at NC State University Libraries has successfully digitized and described a sizable portion of the ASPCA's historical archives," said Gwynn Thayer, the interim department head of the special collections research center, in the release.1

"We are thrilled to host these digitized assets on the website; these historical materials will be enormously beneficial to scholars of animal studies and animal protection around the world,” she continued.


ASPCA collaborates with the NC State University Libraries to digitize over 150,000 pages of historical animal welfare archival material. News release. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. April 4, 2022. Accessed April 5, 2022.

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