University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center (AHC) has digitized and made accessible online 461 films documenting Wyoming, including a film of the Heart Mountain Japanese Relocation Center, Alaska, Chesapeake Bay, Ireland, Brittany, Portugal, and South Africa from the Murie Family papers. These films were digitized as part of a Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund Grant project to digitize film in our collections that cover different aspects of Wyoming history and culture.
The Murie Family Papers consist predominately of the professional papers of three famous conservationists, Olaus Murie, Margaret Murie, and Adolph Murie. The collection contains reports, correspondence, memoranda, field notes and journals, publications, and an extensive collection of films. The materials relate to public land management wildlife conservation in Alaska, western Wyoming, and the desert Southwest.
Olaus Murie worked for such prestigious institutions as the Carnegie Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was President of the Wilderness Society from 1950-1957 and was active in a variety of conservation societies and biologists’ professional organizations. He received numerous awards for his environmental efforts and wrote several books, including The Elk of North America and a Field Guide to Animal Tracks.
Margaret E. Thomas met Olaus in Alaska while he was working on a study of caribou. She married Olaus in 1924 and became an outspoken advocate for the environment in her own right. Soon after their marriage, the two moved to Moose, Wyoming, where they spent the rest of their lives. She helped to found the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming, and was instrumental in the designation and protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. She and her husband were also active participants in the designation of Grand Teton National Park in 1929. Along with Olaus, Margaret was credited with preparing the way for the passage of the Wilderness Act, and she was frequently called to give testimony on environmental issues before Congress. She was referred to by many as the “mother of the modern conservation movement.”
Adolph Murie, the brother of Olaus, was an award-winning author. He wrote The Wolves of Mount McKinley and the Ecology of the Coyote in Yellowstone. He was an employee of the National Park Service for most of his adult life, which enabled him to study wildlife in a variety of pristine settings. The U.S. Department of the Interior recognized him with its Distinguished Service Award. Adolph married Margaret’s sister, Louise, and the two subsequently moved to Moose as well.
Links to digitized items and additional information about the Murie Family papers can be found in the on-line finding aid at: https://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah11375.xml.
If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Jamie Greene in the AHC’s Digital Programs department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-766-3704.