The World's First National Park: Sharing the Heritage of Yellowstone

Material Description

McCracken Research Library (MRL): Yellowstone-related materials in MRL have been purchased or received as gifts over many decades. Donors include local residents of Cody, Wyoming, as well as connoisseurs with a passion for the park. Outstanding rarities, such as William Raynolds' 1859 journal, in addition to trip diaries and published accounts, are part of a growing special collection. Unique programs like Camp Trails, that offered young men a wilderness experience; thousands of photographs in historic formats like stereoviews and cyanotypes that detail conditions throughout the park; and a complete set of Yellowstone Nature Notes that captures the observations of park naturalists from 1924 to 1958; to say nothing of a contemporary set of interviews related to bear management in recent decades—all make up this diverse collection. Yellowstone Heritage & Research Center (YHRC): One YHRC collection contains maps, architectural drawings, and engineering drawings documenting events, functions, and activities of Yellowstone National Park. Among these are the first Yellowstone surveys of the 1870s, military-era records documenting Fort Yellowstone, and maps, drawings, and reports that detail the first concessionaires, hotels, facilities, utilities, stage coach lines, roads, rail lines, trails, resource management, and maintenance activities. Fire progression maps, reports, and atlases document the 1988 fire. Park publications such as annual and monthly superintendent reports, Ranger Naturalist Handbooks, and newsletters, which were variously titled over time but generally were intended for internal park communication, will be included. The superintendent reports are probably the most used items in the collection. The films to be digitized were created by rangers and naturalists over several decades and document wildlife and ranger activities in all seasons.


The Buffalo Bill Center of the West's McCracken Research Library (MRL), in collaboration with Yellowstone National Park's Heritage and Research Center (YHRC), will digitize and make widely available a vast collection of material from their respective repositories. The collections include maps, atlases, scientific papers, pamphlets, souvenirs, photographs, journals, films, and other rich ephemera from Yellowstone National Park. This iconic region, and the perception people have of it, has served to fire imaginations all over the world. The thirty-month project will create free and open access to collections that will serve not only scholars and researchers in biology, geology, popular culture, and environmental and American history, but members of the general public, who remain enchanted by one of the last intact ecosystems in the lower forty-eight states.


Digitizing Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



Buffalo Bill Center of the West


  • Ms. Mary Robinson (Buffalo Bill Center of the West)
  • Ms. Samantha Harper
  • Ms. Anne Foster

Collaborating Institution(s)

Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center

Date Range

1830 - 2016

Geographic Scope

The geographic area described by these materials includes Yellowstone National Park in Northwest Wyoming, Southwest Montana, and Northeast Idaho. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is a 28,000 mile area, with Yellowstone Park at its core, and is one of the largest intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth.


  • 8958 Mixed Archival Collections