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Theodore Roosevelt correspondence

Identifier: Mss .R6673-.R6675

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of three boxes of correspondence (typed carbon copies, photocopies and originals) between Roosevelt and various individuals. The majority of the letters are between Roosevelt and Frank M. Chapman (AMNH ornithologist) or Henry Fairfield Osborn (geologist, paleontologist, and AMNH President) whom Roosevelt was particularly friendly. The correspondence generally covers topics related to the men’s shared interests in the different fields of natural history, as well as the planning of expeditions (Roosevelt to the Amazon to collect specimens for the museum), discussions of articles, books and essays (both their own and those of others), and invitations to meet and interact socially. Other topics include their discussions of the ‘Nature Fakers’ literary controversy of the early twentieth century, Roosevelt’s interest in species coloration patterns, and more generally, the American Museum of Natural History. This collection also features a number of letters written by Roosevelt during his Amazonian expedition of 1913-1914.


  • 1871-1937


Access Conditions and Restrictions Note

Requests to use the collection should be made in advance to the Senior Special Collections Librarian, who may be contacted at 212-769-5420 or at [email protected]

Biographical Note

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), the 26th President of the U.S. (1901-1909), was a passionate conservationist and supporter of the American Museum of Natural History. Not only was his father was a founding member of the museum, but Roosevelt himself undertook numerous collecting expeditions on its behalf. Despite being born in the heart of New York City, he was an ardent naturalist who enjoyed hunting, taxidermy and the study of biology from a young age. These interests fueled his friendships with notable museum employees Frank M. Chapman and Henry Fairfield Osborn, and were his motivation for the creation of the National Parks system during his presidency as well. The New York State Roosevelt Memorial Hall, including a permanent exhibition on his life, opened at the museum in 1936.


1 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Source of Aquisition Note

The letters from Roosevelt to Arthur von Brissen were found in 1950 under a floor board in an old house slated for demolition in Brooklyn Heights. They were given to the AMNH by Jacob Kaufman and his son, Alan, 231-11 129th Avenue, Laurelton NY, 11414. In transmitting the letters, Mr. Kaufman said he believed that von Brissen was associated with the construction of the Panama Canal. The date on which he gave the letters to the museum is not known

Condition Note

Some documents, such as the original correspondence are extremely fragile, however they have been sleeved. A majority of the documents are in good condition

Related Archival Materials Note

Copies of correspondence from this collection can be found in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Exhibitions, circa 1899-1984. Call number MSS .R6671

Physical Description Note

Collection consists of original documents, including those that are handwritten and/or signed by Roosevelt and others. Also included are photocopied documents, typed carbon copies, and cards

Theodore Roosevelt correspondence, 1871-1937
Multilevel Complete
Schuyler Volz
November, 2011-January, 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Finding aid created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2012.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420