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Ernest Thompson Seton collection

Identifier: amnh.arch.seton

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of unprocessed material: letters, papers, photographs and sheet music. According to biographical information, Seton's friends while working at the AMNH included ornithologist Frank M. Chapman; William T. Hornaday, the first director of the New York Zoological Park; and zoologist Elliott Coues.


  • 1879-1946

Biographical sketch

Ernest Thompson Seton was an illustrator, author, naturalist and storyteller. Seton was born in Scotland, but moved with his family to Canada in 1866, where he developed his interest in wildlife and Native American peoples. In the 1880's Seton spent time in New York City, researching animals at the American Museum of Natural History, where he did many of his wildlife drawings. Seton later moved to Connecticut where he founded the Woodcraft League, a precursor to the Boy Scouts; he was also chairman of the founding committee for the Boy Scouts of America.


7.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



Organized into two series: S41. Papers and correspondence (4 boxes). S42. Photographs and sheet music (1 box).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series S42; Transfer; Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College; 1989.

Related Archival Materials

AMNH Library Rare Book Collection has a full set of Seton's journal, 1879-1946. 38 volumes, located in RBC E-3. Includes observations on the fauna and flora of North America and part of Europe, with original pencil, pen-and-ink, and water-color sketches. Notes on life and customs of American Indians are also included.

Related Archival Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has 28 color transparencies of Seton's paintings, sketches and illustrations, some photographed from his journal. Photographic Collection no. 329.

Related Archival Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has 66 black and white photoprints of the illustrations for: The worlds of Ernest Thompson Seton, edited by John G. Samson. New York : Knopf, 1976. Photographic Collection no. 328.

Related Archival Materials

AMNH Library Special Collections has a videorecording, Camping among the Indians (1927), filmed during the AMNH-Woodcraft Indian Trip to the Southwest. Film Collection no. 22.

Ernest Thompson Seton collection, 1879-1946
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The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Minimal level collection record created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2010.

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