Web access to the archival collections: department records, personal papers and image collections at the American Museum of Natural History Library


The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the pre-eminent natural history institutions in the world, a leader in scientific research and a pioneer in museum exhibition and education in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, geology, paleontology and zoology. The text and image archives in the Library document the professional work of distinguished scientists like Franz Boas, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Margaret Mead and Ernst Mayr, naturalists like Theodore Roosevelt and John Burroughs, and extraordinary, yet still not widely known, artists like Carl Akeley and Charles Knight. They tell stories of field and lab work to develop collections, exhibitions and educational programs as exploration led to the study of new places, other peoples and countless animal species. Created from the mid 19th to the early 21st centuries, the content of the collections begins in geological time and continues to the present. Scholars and writers research the archival collections for publication in theses, dissertations, scholarly journals, magazines, trade and children’s books; filmmakers gather material for documentaries and TV productions; and artists, in growing numbers, reference it as a resource and inspiration for their work. The number of archival researchers has tripled over the past ten years reflecting the growing importance and relevance of natural science research and exploration and their fascinating history.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



  • Barbara Mathé

Collection Size

4500 boxes, 3300 cubic feet

Date Range

1846 - 2005

Geographic Scope

The geographic scope is the planet Earth.