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Mary Jobe Akeley papers

Identifier: Mss .A342-.A344


  • 1859-1940


Restrictions on Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical sketch

Mary Jobe Akeley was an explorer and author. Joined several expeditions to Canada and Africa, and was noted for her expedition to the northern Canadian Rockies. Married Carl Akeley in 1924. Continued his work after his death in 1926, and became a special advisor at the American Museum of Natural History.

Biographical sketch

Carl Ethan Akeley was an animal sculptor and taxidermist, an inventer, naturalist and photographer. Led collecting expeditions to Africa, most notably providing specimens for the African Hall named for him at the American Museum of Natural History. Akeley's encounters with gorillas changed his outlook from hunter to conservationist. He died during his fifth African expedition and was buried in the sanctuary he had helped establish. The expedition was completed under Mary Akeley's leadership.


11.25 Linear Feet (25 boxes) : including 5 printing plates

Language of Materials



Organized into three series: A342. 1967 accession (11 boxes), unprocessed papers. A343. 1992 accession (1 box). A344. 1977 accession (13 boxes).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series A342: Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1967.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series A343: AMNH Dept. of Education. Method of acquisition--Transfer; Date of acquisition--1992.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series A344: Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1977.

Alternate Form Available

Library has also a microfilm copy of Series A344 (Archives Microfilm #76), in 5 reels.

Related Archival Materials

Note--AMNH Library Special Collections has three collections of Akeley material: [1]. Photographs, 1906-1911. Expedition photography includes: Somaliland; Kenya-Tana (Tono); Kenya-Athi Plains; African, Arabian; Uganda; Uganda, Masindi; Uganda, Kampala; British East Africa; Kenya-Nairobi; Gorilla. [2]. Akeley-Eastman-Pomeroy African Hall Expedition; Photographs, ca. 2,904. drawer 201. Miscellaneous photographs, n.d. Portrait in oversize section. PPC.A425. [3]. Photographs, Drawer 201. Photographs, 1896-193x. Includes: Belgian Congo Expedition. 32 boxes, ca. 5,725 prints. PPC.A426.

Related Archival Materials

Note--AMNH Library Special Collections, Film Collection has six videorecordings by or about Mary or Carl Akeley, or pertaining to Carl's inventions, including two videorecordings of Akeley expeditions: Carl and Mary in Africa (1926), filmed during the AMNH Eastman-Pomeroy-Akeley East African Expedition, FC no. 24; and Meandering in Africa (1921-22), filmed during the AMNH Akeley African Expedition to the Belgian Congo, FC no. 209. Simba, king of beasts (1928) includes footage of a lion hunt filmed by Carl Akeley during the 1924-1928 Martin Johnson African Expedition, FC no. 276. Two videorecordings demonstrate the method of taxidermy invented by Carl Akeley: Modern taxidermy (1926-1927), FC no. 214; Mounting buffalo (fragment, 1920?), FC no. 230. Thar she blows (1926), filmed during the Finley-Church Expedition to the Northland, contains footage of whales filmed with a camera invented by Carl Akeley, FC no. 245.

Scope and content

Papers relate to Mary Jobe Akeley and her husband Carl E. Akeley. Boxes 1-3 of the 1977 accession include biographical data, correspondence, expedition journals and notes, museum activity records, printed or draft articles and personal items, among them a great deal of material on the sculpture of a lion that Carl designed as a monument to Theodore Roosevelt. Boxes 4-7 include newspaper clippings, primarily of articles by or about the Akeleys, some dealing with gorillas, others with people, expeditions, game hunting, and animals. The 1992 accession includes one folder received in 1978 from Art Greenham of Projection. The 1967 accession consists of 11 boxes of unprocessed material.

Mary Jobe Akeley papers, 1859-1940
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017).
Edition statement
Collection description from Library catalog record written by Ann Herendeen, circa 2000.

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