Physically housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Leopold was a professor, the Aldo Leopold Archives represent a wealth of information about the evolution of Leopold’s thinking. They provide a detailed look at the growth of the conservation movement from the early 1900s through Aldo's death in 1948 and beyond.
The following photos represent the most-requested images from the Leopold Archives. These images are sought after not only for their historical significance but also for their ability to capture Leopold's life, work, and the landscapes he cherished. From poignant moments in Leopold's life to the breathtaking scenes of the wilderness he advocated to protect, these photographs offer a unique, visual insight into the legacy of a conservation pioneer.
In 2007, the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives received a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to digitize Leopold’s collected papers and photographs. Today, both the in-person and digital versions of the collection are available by request to conservation enthusiasts and casual learners alike.
"We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in."
After a trip to Germany in 1935 to study European forestry methods, Leopold returned home with a Zeiss camera, which he gave to his son Carl. Acting as the family photographer, Carl quickly began documenting much of the family’s activity at the Shack in the 1930s and 1940s. The Leopold Foundation maintains Carl’s photographs in an archive that includes more than 1000 images.
Aldo was a meticulous and disciplined writer who kept extensive files of important correspondence, memoranda, reports, and related materials – all while publishing more than 500 articles, essays, and reports. This invaluable archive also contains over 500 more unpublished essays, reports, and other writings.
The collection includes Aldo's detailed journals of his Forest Service activity, travels, and hunting and field experiences, as well as observations and activities at his Sand County farm. His correspondence with his many graduate students and hundreds of leaders across a range of scholarly disciplines, professional fields, government agencies, and conservation organizations is also preserved.
The Aldo Leopold Archives, physically housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Leopold was a professor, include Leopold’s unpublished writings, correspondence, sketches, photographs, class materials, and the implements he used on the land.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation holds the rights to all materials in the archives. To use, publish, or reprint any of these materials (e.g., photographs, journals, correspondence), you must seek permission from us by filling out our permissions request form.
Please note that we are able to grant permission to publish archival material only, not to reprint excerpts from certain published works (see below).
First, browse our sample photo collection, which contains the most frequently requested photos from the archives.If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, visit the online Aldo Leopold Archives on the UW-Madison website, and click “Search the Collection.” There, you can search the entire collection by keyword, such as “Albuquerque” or “canoe.”
When you find the photo you’re looking for, either in our sample collection or the full archives, make note of the four-digit image number (e.g., 0193) in the caption information. On the UW-Madison site, please note the “local identifier” number.
This number should be entered into our permissions request form when you submit your request to use the photo.
To search the Leopold Papers, visit the online Aldo Leopold Archives, click “Search the Full Text,” and enter your search terms into the box provided. You may also click “Browse” at the top of the page to explore the written works more generally.
Once you’ve identified the document you would like to use, please fill out our permissions request form.
Yes, to recoup some of our investment in digitizing the Leopold materials and cover our staff time in processing these requests, we do typically charge for the use of archival images. Standard rates are $25 per image for non-profit use and $50 per image for commercial use.
Don’t see the answer to your question here? Please contact Steve Swenson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-355-0279, ext. 29.