Thomas Moran's Diary
Yellowstone National Park's museum and archives collections include the diary of artist Thomas Moran. Moran's diary has been transcribed on the following pages.
In 1871 the Hayden expedition set out to survey the sources of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, the area that was soon to become the nation's first national park. Thomas Moran joined as artist of the team and depicted many of Yellowstone's geologic features and landscapes. These depictions later proved essential in convincing the United States Congress to establish Yellowstone as a national park.
Thomas Moran was born in Bolton, Lancashire in England in 1837. In 1844 his family moved to Baltimore and later settled in Philadelphia. Around the age of 16, Moran began his artistic training as an apprentice in a wood engraver's shop. After two years Moran left his apprenticeship to begin a full-time painting career.
During the forty days he spent in the area, Moran documented over 30 different sites. His sketches along with William Henry Jackson's photographs captured the nation's attention and forever linked the artist with the area. In fact, his name became so synonymous with Yellowstone that he was often referred to as Thomas "Yellowstone" Moran.
In 1978, Thomas Moran's diary, autobiography, art supplies, as well as several personal effects such as eyeglasses, pistol, holster, and sketchbook were acquired by Yellowstone National Park from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial who acquired them from Yosemite National Park. Yosemite received them in 1926 from Ruth B. Moran, Thomas Moran's daughter. In addition, there are twenty-two original Moran paintings in Yellowstone's collection.
On the following pages, you may read Thomas Moran's diary as it has been transcribed. As you will notice, Moran's diary begins in the middle of a sentence on what is thought to be the second page. It is suspected that a first page exists, because it was included in an earlier transcription; however, its location remains a mystery. Open Moran's Diary...