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RTPI Archives

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is the only official institutional steward of the life works of Roger Tory Peterson. RTPI is the place to find his art, correspondence, film, libraries, study skins, and so much more. We are the sole authorized holder of these works.

Roger feeding birds slider

Here is more detailed information on what we have at present. We regularly receive new pieces to add to the collection.

Art
RTPI holds over 1,200 original works of art from Dr. Peterson’s field guides and books, as well as from other prominent nature artists such as Robert Bateman, Guy Coheleach, John Seerey-Lester, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Keith Shackleton and J. Fenwick Lansdowne. Over 300 limited-edition art prints and lithographs by Dr. Peterson and others supplement the original pieces. Each piece is numbered and placed in archival folders and stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

Correspondence
Over 120 cubic feet of personal papers, including personal correspondence and manuscripts spanning more than 70 years, are now being re-arranged into acid free conditions thanks to devoted volunteers. A growing collection of at least 200,000 slides, 600 reels of documentary film, over 250 pieces of photographic equipment used by Roger Tory Peterson and other naturalists are also housed.  The slides and natural history films include, as well as Dr. Peterson’s, those of Hugh Smith, Olin Sewall Pettingill, Allen Benton and Fran Hall.  Significant other books and materials have come from Mary and Tom Erlandson, Pat Dennehey and Eirik Blom.

Film
Through grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation we have digital copies of Roger Tory Peterson’s Wild America, Wild Africa and Wild Eden. RTPI also houses 384 nature documentaries in 16mm format that Roger Tory Peterson created in the 1950 & 1960’s as well as the motion film collections of Fran Hall and Olin Sewall Pettingill.

Libraries
RTPI houses a portion of the personal library of Roger Tory Peterson. In the collection are books and monographs both written and illustrated by Dr. Peterson or to which he contributed. The library also includes a representative collection of titles by other renowned naturalists and notables in the world of ornithology, including Olin Sewall Pettingill, Arthur Cleveland Bent, Guy Mountfort, Frank M. Chapman, Ludlow Griscom, Allan Cruickshank, George M. Sutton, Sir Peter Scott, James Fisher, and John James Audubon. Numerous periodicals and journals focusing on birding and the natural world subscribed to by Dr. Peterson round out a retrospective panorama of the world of nature study and ornithology.

Study skins
Hundreds of bird study skins are housed at RTPI representing a tremendous diversity of species from the across the world. The collection dates back to the 19th century. It includes still common, rare, and even several extinct species. They are actively used for research and conservation projects by local scientists.

Our archives may be available upon request for reference and research. Please contact us for more information.