Archive

Start Over

Animal Language

  • Kind of Object:
    Sound Book
  • Name:
    Animal Language

    Word Count: 2

  • Creator (Person):
    Julian HuxleyLudwig (Karl) KochYlla
  • Year Start:
    1938
  • Year End:
    1938
  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Country Life, 2–10 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, WC2 London.

  • Language:
    English
  • City:
    London (GB)
  • Introduction:

    In 1938, the London publisher Country Life published the Animal Language sound book which featured text by Julian Huxley, audio records produced by Ludwig Koch and photographs by Ylla.

    Word Count: 28

  • Content:

    In 1938, the London publisher Country Life published the Animal Language sound book which featured text by Julian Huxley (1887–1975), a pair of audio records produced by Ludwig (Karl) Koch (1881–1974) and photographs by Ylla (1911–1955). The book was dedicated to the different sounds made by the animals at London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, including camels, wolves and seals. Ludwig Koch provided the impetus for the book: “Mr. Koch, to whom the idea of this book is due, is a real enthusiast in this branch of work.” (Huxley/Koch 1938, 1) Before his emigration, Koch had invented the “Tönende Buch” together with Lutz Heck, the director of the Berlin Zoological Garden: Schrei der Steppe was published by Knorr & Hirth in 1933, followed by Der Wald erschallt in 1934. For both books, Ludwig Koch provided sound recordings made with a phonograph, a selection of which were saved on records and included with the books (Fischer/Willkomm 2018). The concept of soundbooks then emigrated with Koch to London.

    In the biologist and zoo director Julian Huxley, Koch found an open-minded partner who was always looking for new ways to disseminate knowledge among a wide audience. Huxley’s communication concepts as Secretary of the Zoological Society of London included the establishment of a children’s zoo and artists’ studios within the zoo’s grounds, participation in a BBC radio series, and the publication of several books (Huxley 1974; Kevles 1992). The third originator was the Viennese-born photographer Ylla (actually Camilla Henriette Koffler), who had been running a studio specialising in animal photography in Paris since 1933. In 1937, Ylla published two books with Methuen, the London publishing house: Ylla’s Dog Fancies and Ylla’s Animals. These were followed in 1938 by Big and Little, published by Country Life in London. In the same year, her work appeared in Animal and Zoo Magazine, edited by Julian Huxley. Ylla was therefore a well-known animal photographer in London when the collaboration for Animal Language came about.
    Ylla’s photographs in Animal Language show the animals in moments of communication, when they appear to be “speaking”. In individual portraits or sequences of images, she follows their facial expressions and gestures as they produce the animal sounds. Her close-up portraits portray the range of accompanying postures and physical expressions, translating acoustics into a language where sounds become visible.

    The book reflects the challenges of phonetic recording, as some animals hardly communicated at all and others communicated only at rare moments and with specific intent: “Not only does one species often produce a great range of different sounds at different times, but many animals seem very chary of letting us hear some of the sounds of which they are capable, or even their most characteristic utterances. […] As with animal photography, however, technique alone is not sufficient: the greatest patience, skill, and determination are needed to make the technique effective.” (Huxley/Koch 1938, 1)
    Patience, perseverance and empathy are the necessary basics for both the bio-acoustician and the animal photographer to record animal sounds and photograph animals in their moments of articulation. Ylla's images show a close and immediate encounter with the animals, their expressions and attitudes captured and photographed with the same care the photographer would extend to human models.
    Ylla emigrated from Paris to New York in 1940, where she continued her career as an animal photographer. In the USA, she produced books such as They All Saw It (1944), Dogs (1945) and Two Little Bears (1954) among many others. All three volumes were initially published by Harper & Brothers, N.Y., but many of Ylla’s books from the 1940s and 1950s were also translated into several other languages at the same time as they appeared in the USA – an expression of the photographer’s transnational visual language and her international recognition as an animal photographer and children’s book author. In 1950, she collaborated again with Julian Huxley on the children’s book Animals, (Hastings House, N.Y.), for which the biologist provided the text.

    Word Count: 653

  • Signature Image:
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, cover (METROMOD Archive). Two records of animal voices were included with this sound book.
  • Media:
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, p. xi: Ludwig Koch plays recordings of their own voices to the zoo animals (METROMOD Archive).
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, p. 13: Bactrian Camel (METROMOD Archive).
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, p. 15: Mandrill (METROMOD Archive).
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, p. 52: Zebra (METROMOD Archive).
    Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, two records included with the book (METROMOD Archive).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Fischer, Andreas, and Judith Willkomm. “Der Wald erschallt nicht wie der Schrei der Steppe. Tierlaute im NS-ideologischen Kontext in Lutz Hecks tönenden Büchern.” Zwitschern, Bellen, Röhren. Tierlaute in der Wissens-, Medientechnik- und Musikgeschichte, edited by Marianne Sommer and Denise Reimann, neofelis, 2018, pp. 73–111.

    Heck, Lutz, and Ludwig Koch. Schrei der Steppe. Tönende Bilder aus dem ostafrikanischen Busch. Knorr & Hirth, 1933.

    Heck, Lutz, and Ludwig Koch. Der Wald erschallt! Das tönende Buch von Frühling und Herbst des deutschen Waldes. Knorr & Hirth, 1934.

    Huxley, Julian. Ein Leben für die Zukunft. Erinnerungen. Translated by Wilhelm Höck, Paul List Verlag, 1974.

    Huxley, Julian, and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla, Country Life, 1938.

    Kevles, Daniel J. “Huxley and the Popularization of Science.” Julian Huxley. Biologist and Statesman of Science, edited by C. Kenneth Waters and Albert Van Helden. Rice University Press, 1992, pp. 238–251.

    Sommer, Marianne. “Animal Sounds against the Noise of Modernity and War: Julian Huxley (1887–1975) and the Preservation of the Sonic World Heritage.” 19 January 2017, Journal of Sonic Studies, vol. 13, no. 13, 2017, https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/325229/325230. Accessed 3 November 2020.

    Sommer, Marianne. “Tierstimmen gegen den Lärm von Krieg und Moderne. Julian Huxley und das akustische Erbe in Soundbook, Film und Comic.” Zwitschern, Bellen, Röhren. Tierlaute in der Wissens-, Medientechnik- und Musikgeschichte, edited by Marianne Sommer and Denise Reimann, neofelis, 2018, pp. 113–143.

    Vienna’s Shooting Girls – Jüdische Fotografinnen aus Wien, edited by Iris Meder and Andrea Winklbauer, exh. cat. Jüdisches Museum Wien, Vienna, 2012.

    Ylla. Ylla’s Animals. Methuen Publishers, 1937.

    Ylla. Ylla’s Dog Fancies. Methuen Publishers, 1937.

    Ylla. Big and Little. Country Life, 1938.

    Ylla. They All Saw it. Harper & Brothers, 1944.

    Ylla. Dogs. Harper & Brothers, 1945.

    Ylla. Animals. Intro by Julian Huxley, Hastings House, 1950.

    Ylla. Two Little Bears. Hamish Hamilton, 1954.

    Ylla, exh. cat. Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, 1983.

    Word Count: 301

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Metropolis:
    London
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Animal Language." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/1470/object/5140-11259860, last modified: 09-05-2021.
  • Julian Huxley
    ZoologistPhilosopherWriter

    Julian Huxley was the director of London Zoo from 1935 to 1942 and worked closely with emigrant photographers, artists and architects, including Berthold Lubetkin, Erna Pinner and Wolf Suschitzky.

    Word Count: 27

    Editorial by Julian Huxley in the first issue of Animal and Zoo Magazine, no. 1, 1936, p. 6 (METROMOD Archive).
    Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 77: Reading Julian and Aldous Huxley’s hands (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. “The Form and Dermatoglyphs of the Hands and Feet of certain Anthropoid Apes”. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Series A, 1937, Part 3, 347 + Plate (Library of the Zoological Institute, University of Hamburg). At the zoo’s behest, Charlotte Wolff applied chirology to the primates at London Zoo.“Young Artists in the Zoo” reads the headline to this photo essay on the Animal Art Studio at London Zoo, published in the Animal and Zoo Magazine, vol. 2, no. 11, 1938, p. 18–19 (METROMOD Archive).Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, cover (METROMOD Archive). Two records of animal voices were included with this sound book.Erna Pinner. “Map of geographical distribution.” Julian S. Huxley. Zoo. Official Guide to the Gardens and Aquarium of the Zoological Society of London, 1937, pp. 102–103 (ZSL Library, London, Original © Erna Pinner).Julian Huxley and Wolf Suschitzky. Kingdom of the Beasts. Thames & Hudson, 1956, pp. 157–158 (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky)László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937: List of Toasts naming Julian Huxley as chairman of the event (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, @ László Moholy-Nagy).
    London
    Studies in Hand-Reading
    Book

    In 1936, Charlotte Wolff’s Studies in Hand-Reading was published with analysis of the palms of Horst P. Horst, Aldous and Julian Huxley, Man Ray and Virginia Woolf, among others.

    Word Count: 29

    Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 77: Julian Huxley (A Comparative Study): the hands of Aldous and Julian Huxley (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).
    Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, bastard title (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 81: Julien Green (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 117: Herman Schryver (Interior Decorator) (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, n.p.: hand of Herman Schryver (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 119: Man Ray (Photographer) (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, n.p.: hand of Man Ray (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 121: Horst [P. Horst] (Photographer) (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, n.p.: hand of Horst [P. Horst] (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. “The Form and Dermatoglyphs of the Hands and Feet of certain Anthropoid Apes”. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Series A, 1937, Part 3, 347 + Plate (Library of the Zoological Institute, University of Hamburg). At the zoo’s behest, Charlotte Wolff applied chirology to the primates at London Zoo.
    London
    Ylla
    Photographer

    Ylla was an Austrian-born photographer who emigrated to New York in 1941. Specialising in animal photography, she produced not only studio photographs, but also shot outside on urban locations in the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    "Speaking of Pictures … this is the work of the Bachrach of Dog Photography.”, images by Ylla and published in Life, 17 November 1947, pp. 18–19. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Babytime at the Zoo”, images by Ylla, Life,14 May 1944, p. 43. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Ylla’s cameras tells. A tale of two kittens ... .” Popular Photography, Dezember 1951, pp. 50–51 (Photo: Helene Roth).Profile photo of terrier by Ylla (Camilla Koffler), ca. 1938, published on the cover of U.S. Camera, October 1940 ( © Waverley123 (Pryor Dodge) at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons).Advertisement in The New Yorker (November 14, 1953, p. 184) for Ylla’s book Animal’s in Africa (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photograph by Ylla Back to Methusala, Regent's Park London for U.S. Camera. Annual 1943, edited by Tom Malloney, Radom House, 1943, p. 90.Fritz Neugass. “The saga of the S.S. Winnipeg.” Modern Photography, July 1951, pp. 72–73 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York