The Leopold Archives

The Leopold Archives represent a wealth of information about the evolution of Leopold’s thinking and the dawning and growth of the conservation movement from the early 1900s through Leopold’s death in 1948 and beyond.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation is the primary steward of Leopold’s writings, unpublished manuscripts, journals, correspondence, sketches, photographs, and implements he used on the land.

The Leopold ArchivesThe Leopold Papers

Leopold was a meticulous and disciplined generator and retainer of important correspondence, memorandum, reports, and related materials. He published more than 500 articles, essays and reports and his papers contain at least 500 more unpublished essays, reports, and memorandum of significance. He also kept detailed diaries and journals of his Forest Service activity, his travels, hunting and field experience, and observations and activities at his Sand County farm. He maintained active correspondence (both outgoing and incoming) with more than a hundred professional and conservation organizations, with his many graduate students, and with hundreds of leaders in a range of scholarly disciplines, professional fields, government agencies, and conservation organizations. His papers reflect the most advanced thinking and most innovative practice across virtually the entire spectrum of natural resource conservation, policy and management in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives received a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to begin digitizing the entire collection in 2007. The Leopold Archives is now publicly available free of charge for viewing. To publish material from the Archives, please see our permissions policy.

The digitization of the Leopold Archives will serve scholars, policy leaders and the general public who look to Aldo Leopold for insight and inspiration on how to deal with complex conservation challenges facing society in the 21st Century.

The Photographic Collection

In 1935, Aldo Leopold traveled to Germany to study European forestry methods. When he returned home, he brought with him a Zeiss camera which he gave to his son Carl. Carl quickly became the self-designated family photographer, documenting much of the family's activity at the Shack in the 1930s and '40s. The Aldo Leopold Foundation maintains all of Carl's photographs in a photographic archive that includes over 1000 images from Leopold's lifetime.

See a sample of the photo collection.


Permission to Publish Archival Material

The Aldo Leopold Foundation holds the rights for all material in the Aldo Leopold Archives, including photographs, journals, correspondence, and artifacts. To publish or reprint any of these materials, you must seek permisssion from the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Use this form to request permission to use materials.To find the catalog number for photographs, please review the photo slideshow. If you have not heard back from us one week after submitting your form, please give us a call or send us an email.

While the Aldo Leopold Foundation does serve as the executor of Leopold's literary estate, we cannot grant republishing rights for Leopold's published works. Permissions requests related to writing from A Sand County Almanac are handled by Oxford University press. You can submit a permissions request via their website:

Further questions about use of archival materials should be directed to Maria Kopecky at or 608.355.0279 ext. 38.

Interactive Resources

The History of the Shack Construction

Using the archival materials available to us, we have been able to closely trace some of the changes the Leopold family made to the Shack and Farm. By using a combination of family journal entries, photographs, and existing physical artifacts in the Shack, we have been able to bring alive different aspects of the construction.

Read Luna Leopold's Saga of the Fireplace, with photographs by Carl Leopold.

Read Carl Leopold's Trip to the Elums, with pictures of the constuction of the Shack's bunkhouse.


Searching for Leopold's Voice

While he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Aldo Leopold gave a number of lectures that were broadcast over the university’s radio station. Many of those broadcasts from 1935-45 were recorded on acetate-coated glass “transcription disks,” early recording media which resemble heavy 16” phonograph records. As that technology was replaced by more modern recording methods, the university eventually dispersed many of those disks to an unknown number of individuals who agreed to store them. Many of the hundreds of fragile disks were undoubtedly broken and discarded over the years, and only a few dozen ever found their way into the University Archives. None of the known surviving disks contain recordings of Leopold’s talks. There is a slim chance that some additional disks may still survive in attics or basements of either those private individuals who initially ware-housed them or their heirs. We are anxious to explore all possible leads that might result in the recovery of any missing disks. The remote possibility, of course, is that one or more of those disks might have the only recordings ever made of Aldo Leopold’s voice. If you know anything (even hearsay) about the whereabouts of any glass transcription disks from the University of Wisconsin’s radio station, please contact Stanley Temple.