Published posthumously, “A Sand County Almanac” by University of Wisconsin professor of wildlife management Aldo Leopold, is heralded as the holy scripture for conservationist, land ethicists and supporters of the environmental protection movement.

With more than two million copies printed, Leopold’s prolific work has had a sweeping impact in spurring the debate on land ethics and conscientious use of the world’s fragile ecosystems. With climate talks drawing to a close overseas, it isn’t hard to imagine that Aldo’s passionate environmental career hasn’t played a part in influencing world leaders’ Mother-nature minded accords.

Recently, UW digitalized Leopold’s substantially influential life works. They created a digital archive of his writings, photos, field work and personal writings such as his high school class notes. This massive collection spans 83 archive boxes, three reels of microfilm, five folios, seven diaries, 12 journals, one scrapbook and one photo album — a seemingly immeasurable treasure trove of one of UW’s most noteworthy faculty.

While much of the archive appeals to a niche audience — ornithologists, environmental historians, data collectors, botanists, etc., a quick gander through the database reveals the incredibly impactful life Leopold lived.

Here are some of the best finds from the extensive database:

A topographical map of Madison/Dane County dating from the late 1930s — note the size of the university.

The original manuscript of Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac” (originally titled “Great Possessions”).


His course work at Yale Forest School: of special note are his notes in “lumbering” (an actual course) and dendrology.


A 1928 edition of The Wisconsin Yearbook (for Wisconsin High School).


A collection of Leopold’s detailed sketches.


Leopold’s personal notebook.


An extensive ledger containing miscellaneous clippings, photographs and memorabilia.


Leopold researched, catalogued and wrote about most everything found in Wisconsin ecology, establishing himself as a noteworthy author of the environmentalist movement. Take some time to explore his records!