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Edward Drinker Cope papers

Identifier: VPA 118

Scope and Contents

The Edward Drinker Cope Papers collection is comprised of 9 boxes of documents and materials related to well-known paleontologist and naturalist Edward Drinker Cope. The collection includes letters and correspondence between E.D. Cope and his family and colleagues (a mixture of Xerox copies, typewritten copies, photocopies, and originals), as well as specimen lists, photographs, illustrations, a scrapbook, and Xerox copies of his field diaries.

Boxes 1 to 3 contain Xerox copies of letters related to Cope from 1846 – 1903, including correspondence between Cope and H.F. Osborn, as well as some letters written after his death in 1897. Original materials from which these copies were made were deposited in the AMNH Main Library (Rare Books) on October 14, 1975 by Bobb Schaeffer (a curator in DVP at the time).

Boxes 4 to 5 contain Xerox copies of his field diaries from 1872 to 1893, photocopied at the request of G.G. Simpson by the American Philosophical Society Philadelphia, as well as a photocopy of Paris Journal and copies of notes by Frank Hazard, one of Cope’s collectors. Cope’s original field diaries were deposited in the AMNH Main Library on January 22, 1975 by Bobb Schaeffer.

Boxes 6 to 9 contain correspondence and letters (a mixture of typewritten copies, photocopies, and originals), specimen lists, photos, and illustrations, from 1847 to 1924. Of note: in Box 7 are rare photographs of E.D. Cope’s childhood, which were mailed to H.F. Osborn in 1924 by Cope’s sister Elizabeth W. Garrett; in Box 6 there is a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings of the Cope-Marsh “Bone Wars” dispute.

Box Contents

Box 1
Correspondence: Xerox copies of Cope letters, 1846 – 1875
Box 2
Correspondence: Xerox copies of Cope letters, 1876 – 1888
Box 3
Correspondence: Xerox copies of Cope letters, 1882 – 1903
Box 4
Field Diaries: Xerox copies, 1872 – 1975
Box 5
Field Diaries; Paris Journal; Frank Hazard notes: Xerox copies (1883 – 1891)
Box 6
Correspondence (mix of typewritten copies and originals), 1872 – 1908
Box 7
Correspondence (mix of typewritten copies, photocopies, and originals) & specimen lists, 1874 – 1924
Box 8
Specimen lists, correspondence, sketches, 1877 – 1909
Box 9
Specimen Lists & correspondence (typescript copies), 1847 – 1897


  • 1846-1924


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.


3.75 Linear Feet

Edward Drinker Cope papers, 1846-1924
Melissa Silvestri, Allyson Mellone, Alana Gishlick, 2021; Maya Naunton, 2022; Amanda Raquel Dorval, 2023
2022 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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 Vertebrate Paleontology Archives Repository

200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024-5192