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Barnum Brown papers

Identifier: VPA 114

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Brown's correspondence, notes, images and maps relating to his field work, papers of his second wife, Lilian Brown, drafts of unfinished autobiography, notes and illustrations for his scientific articles, records of his work for the museum, including exhibition halls, records of his commercial work as well as reports from his consulting work for the goverment. The collection also contains papers of Peter Kaisen who was a long-term Brown's assistant.


  • 1877-1963


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 / Historical

Barnum Brown was a prominent fossil hunter who was one of the most famous paleontologists during his lifetime. Brown was initially employed by the American Museum of Natural History as an assistant at a museum's expedition to Wyoming in 1896 and he retired from the museum in 1942 as a full Curator and head of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology.

During his career Brown participated in and lead over 40 expeditions and published 94 scientific papers. During his tenure at the museum and after his retirement Brown consulted with Oil and Gas Companies and with the U.S. Goverment.


13.67 Linear Feet

Related Materials

AMNH Library has

  1. Barnum Brown photographic series of North Continental Oil and Gas Corporation PPC .B762
  2. Barnum Brown Ethiopia field photographs, undated PPC .B761
  3. Sinclair Dinosaur Expedition photographs PPC .S56


Historical call numbers 2:5, 2:6, 2:7, 5:3, 6:1. Formerly VPA 16A, VPA 16B

Barnum Brown papers, 1877-1963
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021; Maya Naunton, 2023
2022 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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This finding aid was created with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America grant, 2020.

Repository Details

Part of the Vertebrate Paleontology Archives Repository

200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024-5192