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Herbert Spencer Zim and Sonia Bleeker papers

Identifier: Ax 558

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains manuscripts, and books in various stages of production (including galley proofs, photostats, page layouts, dummies, and the manuscripts in various stages of revision. The collection also contains correspondence.


  • Creation: 1934-1976


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Herbert Spencer Zim (July 12, 1909-December 5, 1994) was a teacher and writer of children’s books on science. He was born to Marco and Minnie (Orlo) Zim in New York City, New York. He married Sonia Bleeker on January 6, 1934. They had two sons—Aldwin H. and Roger S. and then after the death of Sonia in 1971, Zim married Grace K. Showe on June 4, 1978. Zim died in Plantation Key, Florida.

Herbert Zim was educated at City College (now City College of the City University of New York) from 1927-1929, and then attended Columbia University where he received a B.S. in 1933, a M.A. in 1934, and a Ph. D. in 1940.

His hobbies and interests included fishing, gardening and traveling. He was a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow), American Nature Study Society (director from 1968-1970), National Science Teacher’s Association, National Association for Research in Science Teaching, National Association of Biology Teachers, Union of Concerned Scientists, Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Audubon Society, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Nature Conservancy, Isaac Walton League, Western Society of Naturalists, Pacific Science Association, Everglades Natural History Association and Sierra Club.

During his career Zim was an instructor of science at Ethical Culture Schools in New York City, New York from 1932-1950, developed first elementary science laboratories from 1934-1936, and was the head of the department of science from 1937-1945. Zim was an associate professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 1950-1954 and then a professor of education (science) from 1954-1957. He was a full time writer and editor on science subjects and consultant from 1957 on. From 1934-1937 Zim was conductor of study of science interests of adolescents. At Columbia University he was and instructor for the summers of 1935 and 1936 and conductor of summer field trips through North America from 1937-1941. Following that Zim was an educational director at the Artists and Writers Press from 1957-1969. Zim was also an adjunct professor of education at the University of Miami in Miami Florida beginning in 1968. Zim was a member of the steering committee for Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, and participant in an Elementary Science Study. He was an educational consultant for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1947-1951, for the Western Publishing Company from 1967-1970 and American Friends Service Committee from 1968-1975. Zim was also an editorial consultant for Physical Science Study. Zim served as conscientious objector working on Pre-induction Training Program, U.S. War Department from 1942-1943 and also was in the Civilian Public Service from 1943-1945.

Sonia Bleeker (November 28, 1909-November 13, 1971) was born in Starchevicvih, Russia to Ivan and Yedlia Bleeker.

Bleeker received her education at Hunter College (now Hunter College of the City University of New York), where she received her B.A. in 1933. She then went to Columbia University where she did graduate study in anthropology.

Bleeker was a member of the American Anthropological Association and Delta Kappa Gamma (as an honorary member).

During her career Bleeker was an editor for Simon & Schuster, Inc. in New York City, New York from 1931-1946. Then she was a full time writer of youth books from 1950-1971.

Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.


42 linear feet (28 containers)

Language of Materials



Herbert Spencer Zim (1909-1994) was a teacher and author in the field of science. His works in this collection reflect his work in the science field. Sonia Bleeker Zim was an editor for a publishing house and a writer of youth books. Her work in this collection represents her career as a youth author.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Manuscripts in Stages of Production for Art and Editorial WorkManuscripts of Sonia BleekerManuscripts in Stages of Production for Art and Editorial WorkCorrespondence, Spencer Press-Sears Roebuck Co. (Includes Interoffice Memos, Reports, Budgets etc.)Old Speeches and Articles on Science EducationBook Dummy and Booklets both Authored by Zim and OthersMiscellaneous MaterialAddenda from 1978The Work of Sonia Bleeker Zim

Other Finding Aids note

Paper finding aid with additional information available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Carla Johnson.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Herbert Spencer Zim and Sonia Bleeker Papers
Revise Description
Finding aid prepared by Carla Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA