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Amy R. Samuels papers

 Record Group
Identifier: MC-83

Scope and Content Note

The Amy R. Samuels papers date from 1979 to 2007 with a focus on the social behaviors of dolphins with other dolphins, and with humans. The papers contain research results and observations, protocols, correspondence, articles, transcripts, presentations, audiotapes, videotapes, and digital information. Research on other cetaceans and her work with primates in the 1980s is also included.


  • 1980-2007

Language of Materials

The records are in English.


Open: materials are available for research.


Copyright: Permission to publish material from the collection must be authorized by the Institution Archivist.

Biographical Information

Amy R. Samuels was a noted researcher in the field of animal behavior and conservation biology and a Visiting Investigator at WHOI.

She was one of four children born to the late Peggy and Harold Samuels, noted historians and collectors of western American art. In 1979, Amy received her BS in biological anthropology and her MS in 1982 in biological ecology from the University of California, Davis. In 1996, she received her PhD in biological oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, based upon her ground-breaking research thesis entitled “A systematic approach to measuring the social behavior in bottlenose dolphins.”

During the 1970s, Amy served as the principal trainer and research facility manager for research on language and cognition in chimpanzees at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pennsylvania, Honey Brook. During this time, she also conducted research on the social relations and reproductive behavior of captive bonnet macaques at the California Primate Research Center at UC, Davis.

From 1982-1987, her field research took her to Kenya where life-long friendships were established with the Maasai. While in Kenya, her work focused on the behavioral ecology of wild immature savannah baboons in the Amboseli National Park. From 1986 to 2004 Amy was behavioral biologist in the Department of Conservation Biology, Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL.

Amy was appointed Visiting Investigator in the Department of Biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she was documenting the effects of tourism on free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in Key West, FL. She found her second home in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where she became closely associated with the Monkey Mia Dolphin Research Foundation.

She was the author of numerous scientific publications and a children’s book, “Follow That Fin: Studying Dolphin Behavior.”

Amy Samuels died on December 9, 2008 at her home in West Falmouth. She was 57.

[Taken from Amy Ruth Samuels' WHOI obituary.]


23 Linear Feet (20 boxes)


The Amy R. Samuels papers consist of research on dolphins and how they interact with other dolphins and humans. Content includes writings, proposals, plans, data, and correspondence. One box of the collection contains research on capuchins and baboons in Kenya.


Each series contains material centered around a research topic or a location where research was performed.

A List of Series includes:

  1. Seven Seas - Brookfield Zoo
  2. Sarasota - New England Aquarium - Key West
  3. Swim With The Dolphins
  4. Tourism and Cetaceans - Swim With The Dolphins
  5. Marine Mammals and Sonar
  6. Monkey Mia, Shark Bay, Australia
  7. Sperm Whale Acoustics - Signature Whistle Study
  8. Articles - Talks - Presentations
  9. Media
  10. Collected Articles (mostly by other authors)
  11. Capuchins - Baboons

Custodial History

The papers were stored in Amy Samuels' home prior to donation to the WHOI Data Library and Archives.

Acquisitions Information

The papers were donated by Karen P. Rauss, Trustee for Amy Samuels' estate, in May 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Ralph Montilio from September 2015 to June 2016.

A Guide to the Amy R. Samuels papers
Finding aid prepared by Ralph Montilio.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish

Repository Details

Part of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Data Library and Archives Repository