The Smithsonian Institution Libraries recently put together a collection of zoo pamphlets from days gone by, and as Live Science notes, the imagery, including pictures of elephants giving small children a ride and chimps being carted around in a baby carriage, show how humans have over the past five decades changed how zoos operate:
The vintage materials reveal how much zoos have changed from amusement-park-like attractions to more educational, conservation-minded institutions. A guide to Great Britain's Clifton Zoological Gardens from 1912, for example, shows prison-like animal enclosures encased in heavy bars... The New York Zoological Park guide, published in 1905, has photographs of orangutans sitting around a table draped with a white tablecloth, mimicking a family dinner.
"Some of the photographs of animal enclosures, restraint devices and mock theatrics, while unsettling to some, are an important part of the history of human-animal relations," wrote Alvin Hutchinson, the head of information services at Smithsonian Libraries, in an introduction to the collection.