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Edward Drinker Cope correspondence facsimiles

Identifier: VPA 17

Scope and Contents

26 binders comprising photocopied materials. They consist of letters to family; correspondence between Edward Drinker Cope and Henry Fairfield Osborn; field diaries; correspondence between E.D. Cope and his field collectors, R.S. Hill and Frank Hazard. Original materials from which these copies were made have been deposited in the AMNH Rare Book Room.

Department of Vertebrate Paleontology facsimile collection binders contain the following:

* Cope Letters, 9 binders (1846-1897)

* Cope and Osborn Letters, 2 binders (1884-1897)

* Letters to Cope, 1 binder (1860-1897)

* E. D. Cope Field Diary, 7 binders (1872-1893)

* E. D. Cope Paris Journal, 1 binder (n.d.)

* Cope Collectors, 1 binder (Frank Hazard, 1880-1881) and (R. S. Hill, 1877-1879)

Includes copies of field notes.


  • 1846-1897


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed in the Division of Paleontology. Please contact the collection manager for access; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical note

Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) was an early and well-known paleontologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the American Museum of Natural History, who discovered around one thousand species of extinct vertebrates in the United States and is credited, along with his rival Othniel Charles Marsh, with discovering the first complete remains of large dinosaurs. They were both the foremost paleontologists of their day, sending back many rare fossils to institutions in New Haven and Philadelphia, and set the groundwork for modern methods and techniques of vertebrate paleontology. Cope was born in Philadelphia in 1840, the son of a Quaker philanthropist. As a child, he was already making detailed notes about the ichthyosaur on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He traveled to Europe in the 1860s and became a professor at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, but he was more of an independent worker and traveler, and spent much of his life traveling the world as a paleontologist, becoming an authority in the study of fishes, the study of amphibians and reptiles, and the study of fossil vertebrates. In 1889, an early dinosaur from New Mexico was named Coelophysis by Cope, describing the animal from various parts that had been collected by his field man David Baldwin. In 1894, Cope sold his fossil collection to AMNH, and the institution currently has his diaries, notebooks, and pencil drawings of dinosaurs. In 1897, Henry Fairfield Osborn introduced Charles Robert Knight to Cope, whose discoveries inspired Knight’s work depicting dinosaurs as they might have been in life. Notable among these was the Dryptosaurus, in a work titled Leaping Laelaps, painted in 1897. Towards the end of his life, Cope served as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He died in 1897.


4 Linear Feet (26 notebooks and 1 package)



Location of Original Material

Original materials from which these copies were made were deposited to the Rare Book and Manuscript Room in the Library of the AMNH on October 9, 1975.


Historic Call Number: 2:7 and 2:8

Edward Drinker Cope correspondence facsimiles, 1846-1897
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021
2021 August
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Minimal level collection record created with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America grant, 2020.

Repository Details

Part of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology Archives Repository

200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024-5192